Monday, April 11, 2011

Roar from 34 is moving

I'll be working as a guest blogger on from Monday, April 11 to Friday, April 15. Visit MASN this week for my latest thoughts on the Birds.

Also, I'm excited to announce that Roar from 34 is moving to a new home at Update your links accordingly, and stop by to check out the new site. Just be sure to pick up a moving box on your way out the door.


Friday, April 08, 2011

Flashback Friday: The Orioles' youngest Opening Day starter was part of the Kiddie Corps

For the second consecutive year, the Orioles started a pitcher in their home opener age 25 or younger. Brad Bergesen got the call at age 24 last year while Jake Arrieta, 25, did the honors on Monday. Both pitchers had a good three years or more on the Orioles' youngest Opening Day starter.

Jerry Walker was 21 years and 67 days old on April 19, 1960, when he took the Memorial Stadium mound to kick-off the Birds' season against the Washington Senators. Walker was part of the Orioles' original Kiddie Corps along with Steve Barber, 22, Chuck Estrada, 22, Jack Fisher, 21, and Milt Pappas, 21.

Together with veteran pitchers Hoyt Wilhelm, 37, and Hal "Skinny" Brown, 35, the Kiddie Corps posted a league-best 48 complete games (Arnie Portocarrero, 28, had one of those 48 complete games). The O's overall pitching staff tied the Yankees for lowest ERA at 3.52

Catcher Gus Triandos described what made the staff effective in John Eisenberg's, "From 33rd Street to Camden Yards: An Oral History of the Baltimore Orioles."

"The young guys didn't spot pitches; they just wound up and threw good stuff," said Triandos. "They didn't work on things. They just called a fastball and zinged it. You knew they'd be somewhere around the plate. They had good stuff, had good control. And then when Wilhelm relieved with the knuckler, it was tough on hitters."

Earlier this year, O's broadcaster Fred Manfra identified the Kiddie Corps' "kicking ass in big league baseball" among his childhood baseball memories.

The 1960 Orioles posted the franchise's first winning record, 89-65, since moving to Baltimore from St. Louis (the 1957 Orioles finished an even 76-76). They did so on the arms of a young pitching staff. They'll need a similar effort from their current Kiddie Corps in 2011 to post the franchises' first winning season in 14 years.

[Note: Jerry Walker is currently vice president and special assistant to the GM for the Cincinnati Reds.]


Game Recap (April 7, 2001): Orioles 9 - Tigers 5; Another series win

Vlad had his first home run as an Oriole. Shortstop J.J. Hardy's consecutive games streak as an Oriole ended at five enabling Cesar Izturis to deliver his first RBI of the season. Adam Jones's bat came alive while Mark Reynolds's bat stayed hot.

Orioles 9 - Tigers 5

The Hometown Take

Orioles rally in big way in 9-5 victory over Tigers (The Sun)
"Jones' offense helped carry the Orioles to their fifth victory in six games this year, putting them back in sole possession of first place in the American League East. It also marked their second consecutive series victory; they didn't win two in 2010 until May11-13, their 11th series of the year.

'It's better than last year, but we've still got a lot of games to go,' Jones said. 'You've seen a lot of people start out well, and you never hear anything about them. We've got to maintain our game, do what we need to do and not worry about other teams.'"
The View from the Motor City

Tigers' relief pitching fades with lead  (Detroit Free Press)
"The Tigers are heading home, and just in time.

After six weeks of spring training and two losing series on the road, the Tigers make their Comerica Park debut today against the Kansas City Royals.

The Tigers lost their fourth in six games Thursday night, 9-5, to the Baltimore Orioles, but manager Jim Leyland remains upbeat.

'We were hoping to get home .500, and we had a shot at that tonight and let it get away,' Leyland said. 'But we play tomorrow — it’s that simple. We’ve played six games and we’re 2-4, and that’s what we deserve to be, so tomorrow you try to make it 3-4, and if we pitch well, we’ll have a shot.'"
 Other A.L. East Scores

Yankees win; Red Sox, Rays, and Blue Jays all lose. 

Sentence I thought I'd never write this season: The first-place Orioles are five games up on the Red Sox and Rays.

Same Day in Orioles History

April 7, 1979: Mike Flanagan earns his first win of the season as the O's defeat the White Sox 6-3 at Memorial Stadium. Rick Dempsey leads the way from the ninth spot with a 2-for-4 day that includes a double and two RBI.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Game 5 Recap (April 6, 2011): Tigers 7 - Orioles 3; Less than perfect

Brad Bergesen is successful when he induces ground balls. He did not do so on Wednesday. Therefore, the Orioles will not go 162-0.

Box Score

The Hometown Take

O's far from perfect in falling 7-3 to Tigers for 1st loss of season (The Sun)
"The Orioles were jolted back to reality tonight when a defensive miscue led to two early runs, the pitching couldn't keep the ball in the yard and the offense was handled by Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

The sight of legions of empty seats at Camden Yards added to the home opener hangover.

Alex Avila had three hits and drove in five runs, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez hit back-to-back homers in the fifth, and Verlander was in control throughout as the Orioles were beaten, 7-3, before an announced 12,451."
The View from the Motor City

Alex Avila drives in five in Tigers' victory
(Detroit Free Press)
"Alex Avila had three hits and drove in five runs as the Tigers beat the Orioles, 7-3, tonight in Baltimore. 
Justin Verlander went eight innings and gave up three earned runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out nine, including the side -- Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds -- in the seventh. 
Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth and induced a groundout by Derrek Lee, a pop out in foul territory by Vladimir Guerrero and a groundout by Wieters"
Other A.L. East Scores

Twins - Yankees (postponed)
Angels 5 - Rays 1
Indians 8 - Red Sox 4
Blue Jays 5 - A's 3

Some Light O's Reading

Orioles not shocked by fast start, even if most of baseball is (Jon Heyman, SI)

Today in Orioles History

April 6, 1989: The "Why Not?" Orioles complete a two-game mini-sweep of the Boston Red Sox to open the season. Jose Bautista goes eight innings and picks up the win for the Birds. Former Oriole Mike Boddicker, traded from Baltimore to Boston the previous summer for Curt Schilling and Brady Anderson, sticks around for only 2.1 innings at Memorial Stadium but ends up with a no-decision.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Life lessons for a baseball fan

Orioles baseball has been a conversation between generations in my family, one that now includes my newborn son. We watched the Orioles home opener on television together on Monday. While he and I couldn't discuss the game, his first Opening Day provided me an opportunity to consider some life lessons I might teach him as a baseball fan. This is what I came up with:
The newest Orioles fan

-I want you to be an independent thinker, so be a fan of any team you want. Just know that you'll make it much harder on your daddy if you cheer for the Yankees. And I'm the one who pays the bills.

-You're going to hear about ballpark fights and fans acting like fools. Keep in mind that there are good people at the ballpark, too. Hopefully you'll come across some of them - the guy who gives a kid a foul ball he caught, offers up his extra tickets, or buys you a soda at the game simply because you're sitting next to him. Better yet, be one of them.

-Your team is going to lose, maybe even a lot. (Daddy should know.) That's okay. You'll learn to support people even when they let you down.

-It doesn't matter whether you're a player or an umpire's attendant, your role is important. Do your job well enough for long enough, and maybe someone will notice. Either way, be sure to be a person who notices.

-Sometimes you're going to get booed regardless of whether you deserve it.

-Baseball can be boring. When it is, be grateful for the opportunity to sit still.

-On occasion, other people will try to frustrate you, even in your home ballpark. Focus on who you came with and who'll be with you after you leave. Enjoy your time with them.

-The guys you're watching now aren't the first ones to play the game. Learn the names of the ones who came before them.

-You're inevitably going to endure some tough times, so be sure to enjoy the good moments while they last. Go O's.


Monday, April 04, 2011

Game Recap (April 4, 2011): Orioles 5 - Tigers 1; Drunk on success

The Orioles' rotation is looking like the Phillies' four aces and Brian Roberts is on pace for 81 home runs. In other words, this team isn't going to play this well all season. But it sure is fun while it lasts.

The O's rode another strong pitching performance, this time from Jake Arrieta, along with a wind-assisted three-run homer from Roberts to win the home opener 5-1. It's the Birds' first 4-0 start since the 1997 Wire-to-Wire run, and their last playoff appearance. It's telling how things are going that the six hits Arrieta allowed in six innings of work equal the hits allowed by the Orioles' first three starters combined.

Box Score

The Hometown Take

Roberts' three-run homer lifts Orioles to first 4-0 start since 1997 (The Sun)
"A sellout crowd of 46,593, which enjoyed a game-time temperature of 76 degrees, watched Jake Arrieta continue the early roll of the Orioles' rotation, Roberts continue his RBI binge with his tie-breaking three-run homer in the fifth inning and the home team continue its winning ways.

The Orioles' 4-0 beginning equals their best start since 1997, and they are one win shy of tying the 1970 club, which won its first five games.

'I don't think anybody's ever had a bad 4-0 start. It's been awesome,' said Roberts."
The View from the Motor City

Offense missing as Tigers fall to1-3 (Detroit Free Press)
"Brian Roberts homered in a four-run fifth inning, and Jake Arrieta outdueled Rick Porcello as the Orioles stayed perfect. Baltimore (4-0) is baseball’s biggest surprise through four games. Last year, the Orioles didn’t get their fourth win until April 27, in Game No. 20."
Thumbs Up

Thumbs up  to ... the Orioles for the Ernie Tyler tribute as well as the 10th man award (an 18-year tradition) that allowed an 11-year-old to race down the orange carpet during pre-game ceremonies ... the ball girl on the first-base side who made a move for Matt Wieters' double before realizing it was a fair ball and thinking better of it ... the police officer on the third-base side who grabbed his stool and made a break for it as Mark Reynolds chased down a foul ball late in the game.

Thumbs Down

Thumbs down to ... the Orioles' music man for choosing Beck's "Loser" as the background music as the Tigers were introduced prior to the game.

This Day in Orioles History

April 4, 1997 - Mike Bordick's double-play ball in the top of the seventh inning scores Jeff Reboulet with what turns out to be the winning run in a 5-4 Orioles victory at Texas. Scott Erickson picks up the win, the Birds' third in three tries, and Armando Benitez, who will break fans' hearts come playoff time, earns the save with an overpowering five strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work.

And finally, here's your drunk fan video of the day from the opener. Gary Thorne is not pleased.


Undefeated Orioles return home

In the final season of "The Wire," Baltimore Sun journalist Scott Templeton makes up a story about an orphaned child in a wheelchair who struggles to find tickets to Opening Day at Camden Yards after skipping school to be there.

Plenty of Orioles fans have good Opening Day stories that are actually true. Perhaps you'll find one today willing to share his or her own. Or you may even happen upon a Tigers fan among the orange and black faithful. If so, you'll have plenty in common to discuss, including:

Losing streaks -Tigers fans endured 12 straight losing seasons from 1994 through 2005 including back-to-back 100-loss seasons in 2002 and 2003. The 2003 Tigers lost 119 games, 12 more than the franchise-worst record of the 1988 Orioles.

World Series droughts - The Tigers last won the World Series in 1984, one season after the Orioles' most recent title.


Mickey Tettleton - An Oriole from 1988 to 1990, Tettleton played for the Tigers from 1991 though 1994. He was an All-Star for each team ('88 and '94) and became the first player to hit a Eutaw Street home run on April 20, 1992.

There's nothing quite like a home opener in Baltimore. And that's the God's honest truth.


Sunday, April 03, 2011

Game 3 Recap (April 3, 2011): Orioles 5 - Rays 1; Yeah you, swept me away

For the first time in club history, Tampa Bay has started the season with three consecutive losses thanks to the Baltimore Orioles.

Rookie lefty Zach Britton pitched six strong innings (3 H, 1 ER, 6 SO, 3 BB) to help the Orioles to a season-opening sweep of the Rays. The O's last three-game sweep at Tampa came at the close of the 2005 season: Sept.30, Oct. 1, and Oct. 2.

Mark Reynolds (2-4, 2 RBI ), J.J. Hardy (1-4, 2 RBI), and Matt Wieters (2-4, RBI) accounted for the O's runs.

Box Score

The Hometown Take

Britton, Orioles sweep away Rays 5-1 (The Sun)
"The Tampa Bay Rays didn't know what hit them.
The 2010 American League East champions hoisted their white title banner Friday night at Tropicana Field and then apparently mistook it for a flag of surrender.

Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman and emergency starter Zach Britton dazzled the Rays with three dominating performances that allowed the Orioles to get off to a 3-0 start for the first time since the 1997 wire-to-wire team won its first four games."
The View from St. Pete

Britton shines in debut as Orioles beat Rays 5-1 (St. Petersburg Times - AP Story)
"Zach Britton pitched six sharp innings in his major league debut, J.J. Hardy hit a two-run double and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 on Sunday to complete a season-opening three-game sweep.

Britton (1-0) allowed one run and three hits, struck out six and walked three. Recalled before the game from Triple-A Norfolk, Britton had around 30 family members and friends in attendance."
Other A.L. East Scores

Twins 4 - Blue Jays 3

Tigers 10 - Yankees 7

Rangers 5 - Red Sox 3

This Day in Orioles History

April 3, 1991 - The Orioles open Camden Yards with a 5-3 exhibition victory over Eddie Murray and the New York Mets. Mike Flanagan picks up the exhibition win at Camden Yards after getting the last out at Memorial Stadium several months earlier.


Saturday, April 02, 2011

Game Recap (April 2, 2011): Orioles 3 - Rays 1; Markakis picks up the save

It took the Orioles eight games against Tampa Bay last year before they picked up their second win over the Rays on July 20, 2010. This year they've done it in two games. It took the Orioles eight series last year before they picked up their first series win with a sweep of the Red Sox from April 30 to May 2. This year they've done it in their first series of the season.

The final from the Trop: Orioles 3 - Rays 1 (Box Score).

If you haven't seen Nick Markakis' game-ending catch, be sure to check out ESPN's  "Web Gems." The catch made Markakis a nationwide trending topic on Twitter within 10 minutes of the game's conclusion.

The Hometown Take

Tillman strong, Roberts homers to lead Orioles to 3-1 win over Rays (The Sun)
"In a scoreless game in the eighth inning, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon removed a dominant James Shields and replaced him with left-hander Jake McGee. Brian Roberts sent his third pitch deep into the left-field seats, the three-run shot, coupled by Nick Markakis' game-saving and game-ending catch, giving the Orioles a 3-1 victory over the Rays in front of an announced 22,164 at Tropicana Field."
The View from St. Pete

Tampa Bay Rays avoid no-hitter but lose 3-1 to Baltimore Orioles to fall to 0-2 (St. Petersburg Times)
"By comparison, Friday's opening night loss was a relative festival.

Saturday, the Rays were no-hit into the seventh inning. They lost star third baseman Evan Longoria with what was described as a sore left oblique. They wasted a tremendous start by James Shields. They were done in by one of their inexperienced relievers. Their ninth-inning rally was cut short by a spectacular leaping catch by rightfielder Nick Markakis at the wall.

And, naturally, they lost again, this time 3-1 to the Orioles."
Other A.L. East Scores:

Toronto 6 - Minnesota 1

Yankees 10 - Tigers 6

Rangers 12 - Red Sox 3 (7th inning - in progress when this was posted)

This day in Orioles history:

April 2, 2001 -A walk-off single by Brady Anderson in the 11th inning scores Jerry Hairston from second based and gives the Orioles a 2-1 Opening Day victory over the rival Red Sox. Pat Hentgen gives the Orioles 8.2 strong innings to neutralize Red Sox starter Pedro Martinez.


Friday, April 01, 2011

Game Recap: Orioles 4 - Rays 1; One down, 81 to go

One down, 81 to go. The Orioles' pursuit of their first winning season since 1997 began with a 4-1 Opening Day victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field behind a strong pitching performance by Jeremy Guthrie (8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 6 SO, 1 BB). David Price (7 IP, 5H, 4 ER, 7 SO, 1 BB) took the loss for the Rays. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts led the way for the O's with two RBI a piece.

Box score

Hometown Take: Guthrie pitches gem as Orioles open 2011 season with 4-1 win over Rays (The Sun)
At long last, the 2011 Orioles debuted their beefed-up lineup against one of baseball's best. But David Price wasn't the best pitcher as the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays opened their 2011 seasons at Tropicana Field, nor was the Orioles' offense the biggest story.

Jeremy Guthrie was both by a wide margin as he took command of Game 1 and relinquished it only after his team had a reasonably comfortable lead. Guthrie threw eight scoreless innings, and Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts each drove in two runs as the Orioles exacted revenge for last year's brutal season-opening loss here to beat the Rays, 4-1, before an announced sellout crowd of 34,078.
The View from St. Pete: Roberts, Markakis lead Orioles past Rays (AP Story on
Taking up where they left off during a nice two-month stretch to end last season under manager Buck Showalter, the Orioles ruined a festive evening in which the defending AL East champions hoisted their latest division title banner at Tropicana Field.

And, they did it with Guthrie outdoing last year's AL Cy Young Award runner-up.

"It's one day, but I sure like being on this end of it," Showalter said. "It's a tough place to play on opening day."
Star of the Game: The lady in the silver sequined shirt behind home plate at the Trop. What a treat for MASN viewers.

Other A.L. East Scores:
Rangers 9 - Red Sox 5
Blue Jays 13 - Twins 3

How They Stack Up: The Orioles' most recent winning season came in 1997 when the team went wire-to-wire and finished 98-64. Throughout the season, Roar from 34 will check the Birds' current results against those past results.

1997 Opener
April 2, 1997 at Camden Yards
Orioles 4 - Royals 2


Opening Day Roundup - Good things do happen during road openers

The Orioles open their 2011 campaign in Tampa on Friday night looking to avenge their 4-3 come-from-ahead loss against the Rays in last year's road opener. The Rays accounted for five of the Orioles' eight losses in their first nine games last season. The O's posted a season-worst record for any month in 2010 by starting 5-18 (.217 winning percentage) in April.

Road openers are never as much fun as home openers, especially when your newly acquired free-agent closer posts a blown save and takes the loss (though, to be fair, he did so during the home opener as well). However, the away games can be memorable for positive reasons as well.

The Orioles earned their first-ever Opening Day victory on the road when they defeated the Washington Senators 7-6 at Griffith Stadium on April 15, 1957 (Read the news story from the following day). The O's had lost each of their openers since moving to Baltimore from St. Louis in 1954.

Two years later in Washington, on April 9, 1959, the Orioles turned an unprecedented Opening Day triple play during a 9-2 loss to the Senators.  (Here's that news story.)

Roar from 34 favorite Sam Horn knows something about memorable moments on the road. He clocked two home runs and established a club record with six Opening Day RBI in Kansas City in 1990.

Speaking of Opening Day long balls, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson's eight home runs are tied with Ken Griffey Jr. for the most on the season's first day. Robinson homered during his first Opening Day with the Orioles on April 12, 1966, as part of a 5-4 victory in 13 innings at Fenway Park.

On the defensive side, Hall of Famer Jim Palmer's five Opening Day wins are the most in club history. Palmer started six openers for the Birds. Only Mike Mussina (three Opening Day wins) pitched the first game of the season for the O's as often as Palmer.

Among Palmer's victories was an April 9, 1976, gem (okay, it was at home) against Boston - 8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 K, 2 BB. Palmer picked up the victory against fellow Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins 1-0. The pitchers won a combined 552 career games.

And as long as I've allowed home openers to sneak into this post, Wee Willie Keeler started his 44-game hitting streak for the International League Orioles in Baltimore on Opening Day 1897. Keeler's record streak began with that April 22 game and extended until June 18. Joe DiMaggio broke Keeler's record with his 56-game hitting streak in 1941.

Happy Opening Day, O's fans.

Related Reading:

Opening Day on the road can still prove memorable (Roar from 34)

Season Previews: Baltimore Orioles (Babes Love Baseball)