October 2010

ALCS showdown

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Hey all,
I’m at the ALCS covering the Rangers-Yankees showdown as part of MLB.com’s coverage team. Of course, all your Orioles news will still be covered, I just wanted to let you know why my Tweets will be about these guys.

Any story or noteworthy item that I think Orioles fans will be interested in I’ll pass along here on the blog. 

Jones in NY vidoes

Here are the two videos from Adam Jones’ day in New York yesterday… (You can read about it here.)

This is Jones at MLB Network.
And this is Jones discussing the state of the Orioles.

Roberts CT scan normal

Brian Roberts’ CT scan came back normal, which is good news, obviously. Roberts has been dealing with concussion-like symptoms and even though on Sunday he told the media it was getting better, the Orioles wanted to rule everything out.

As for the Orioles coaches, there’s no news to report on that front. Some of you have asked about manager Buck Showalter’s time table or my guesses as to who goes and who stays, and I’d prefer to not speculate in fairness to those involved. Showalter has met with each of the six-man staff and has maintained a “the sooner, the better” approach.

Also, here’s a note on MASN’s television ratings, per a release….

Despite a disappointing start to the season, the Orioles grew their television audience in Baltimore and held steady in Washington. 

Year over year, the team earned a 3.3 HH rating in Baltimore, a ten percent increase over the 3.0 HH rating in 2009.  And in Washington the team held a 0.7 HH rating, unchanged from 2009.

Ratings soared when new manager Buck Showalter took over in early August.  During the first two weeks of Showalter’s tenure, the Orioles earned a 4.7 HH rating in Baltimore (51,000 households) and frequently beat the broadcast networks’ prime-time lineups. 

Injecting new life into the Orioles, Showalter led the team to a 34-23 record in the final two months of the season.  As Roch Kubatko pointed out on his blog, had the season started August 3rd with the arrival of Showalter, the Orioles would have won the AL East.

Across MASN’s 7 state / 14 DMA television footprint, the number of homes tuning in to watch the Orioles increased six percent to 78,000 households per night from 73,500 households in 2009.

Jones goes to New York

Thought I’d pass this along..

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By Thomas Boorstein / MLB.com
NEW YORK —
Thanks to night games, a typical day for a Major League baseball player rarely involves many morning activities. But for Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, Tuesday began unusually early.

Two days after Baltimore’s regular season ended, Jones embarked on a day-long tour of interviews and appearances that took him from the WFAN-AM studios in Manhattan’s West Village to the MLB Network studios in Seacaucus, N.J. — and several more stops in between.

“In New York, usually, I just hang out,” Jones, 25, said of his typical routine before a 7 p.m. game. “Definitely go out to lunch. I just walk around, kill some time. I usually wake up around 11, so that helps move the day along. Definitely don’t do as much as I’m doing right now, but it’s fun.”

This year’s playoff teams include several young players in critical roles — Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, Buster Posey and Jason Heyward to name a few. Jones, a 2009 All-Star and Gold Glove winner, helped lead an Orioles club that played 57 of its 162 games against these playoff clubs. That includes 18 apiece against Rays and the Yankees, Baltimore’s foes in the American League East. If any player is qualified to discuss the eight remaining teams and their postseason chances, Jones is.

So Jones, a San Diego native who still returns to Southern California during the offseason, spent one day of his week-long stay in New York talking about the 2010 playoffs with several media outlets.

Jones capped his day on MLB Network’s “Path to the Pennant” in the field-mimicking Studio 42. There he talked to Greg Amsinger and Mitch Williams about the reasons — “accountability and credibility” — for the Orioles’ 34-23 finish under new manager Buck Showalter. With Texas’ Cliff Lee and Tampa Bay’s David Price set to square off in Game 1 of the AL Division Series on Wednesday, Jones discussed with Al Leiter his approach against the dominant lefties. Then he showed Billy Ripken how his positioning in center field compares with Upton’s.

Eight hours earlier, at 9:20 a.m., Jones had started his day with a trip to the WFAN studios for an appearance with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. He unveiled his World Series prediction — Rays against the Phillies — and listened as Esiason and Carton jokingly offered to represent the outfielder as he entered his first year of salary arbitration.

After his WFAN appearance, Jones traveled back to Midtown for a satellite interview with Jay Crawford of ESPN’s First Take. With Minnesota set to face CC Sabathia in Wednesday’s Game 1 of the ALDS, Crawford asked Jones for the reasons behind a 9-for-27 (.333) career mark against Sabathia.

“I just look at him as a pitcher who gets ahead,” Jones said. “He pitches me in a certain way. I try to get to him before he gets to me. When he gets two strikes, he is one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball.”

Jones and Crawford talked of the outfielder’s plans to help Orioles teammate Rick VandenHurk in a series of clinics in VandenHurk’s native Netherlands in November. The host listed Dutch delicacies and asked Jones what he would be willing to sample. Paling, an oily freshwater eel, was dismissed — “Not eating that,” Jones said — but hagelslag, chocolate sprinkles added to bread, did get the seal of approval.

Jones followed his ESPN interview with two phone interviews — one with Kyle Stack of amNewYork and another with Jorge Ortiz of USA Today. Then he went to Sports Illustrated’s offices, where he met with reporter Richard Deitsch and answered questions from the magazine’s baseball writers and editors before doing a video interview for SI.com. After a live telephone interview on ESPN Radio’s The Scott Van Pelt Show, Jones headed across the Hudson River to the MLB Network’s studios.

Jones maintains an active Twitter account (The_Adam_Jones) and provided updates of his day. “Got the belt I so desperately needed,” he posted in the late morning. After visiting MLB Network, he posted a picture with the caption: “I got to sign the Wall of Fame. Such an honor.”

“I’ve been trying to keep up with it,” Jones said of Twitter. “Sometimes it gets me in trouble, sometimes it gets annoying. But that’s the fun part about it, you get to hear people’s true opinions, and that’s all a part of it.”

One of those opinions came from Deitsch himself on Twitter. Soon after Jones stopped by, Deitsch posted, “Intelligent & thoughtful guy. Honest answers to Q’s. I was impressed.”

At 25, Jones has some time to think about his post-career plans, but his early taste has him considering building on Tuesday’s appearances.

“It’s a long way off, but it’s something that’s a personality thing,” Jones said. “Not everybody can be on TV, not everybody can sound educated. So it’s pretty cool to be able to use my personality.”

A note of Thanks

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Yesterday officially marked the start of the offseason, and I want to thank you all for reading my stories, blogs and Tweets all year. I got a slew of appreciative comments both on Twitter and in emails, and wanted you to know I’m humbled by all the support in my rookie season on the Orioles beat. It wasn’t always pretty to watch on the field but you stuck around, gave your input and voiced your opinion and it made Orioles.com and this blog a better place. (For the site’s official thank you video, click here.)

So, what now? In case you missed it, I did a pair of stories for the site: one looks ahead while one goes back and details 2010. As I blogged earlier, the O’s have some free agents and will continue to evaluate what needs to be done in a critical offseason. For more on president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail’s thoughts you can check out my story here, or read some of the highlights in his interview with MLB.com in a blog post.

As one Orioles pitcher told me before leaving, no one had an 0.00 ERA.
There’s always room for improvement, so let me know what you think.

Finally, some answers to a few questions I’ve gotten regarding my role with Orioles.com. Yes, I’m returning for 2011 and spearheading offseason coverage. Winter Meetings, trade rumors and all Hot Stove stuff will be covered appropriately. Yes, the nonstop Tweets will continue. You can’t get rid of me that easy. I’ll also be doing features on the Orioles playing in the Arizona Fall League and Dominican Winter League and be catching up with some of the guys at home for the winter. 

Got a question about what the Orioles front office is looking to do this offseason? Or how a particular player factors into their future? Shoot me an email or a message on Twitter with your name and hometown. I’ll post the best ones with answers in an offseason inbox.

One more thing: I’ll be helping out with ALCS coverage for MLB.com, so my byline and blogs will have some non-Orioles coverage during that time. My guess is it will be Yankees-Rays, but the Twins wouldn’t surprise me either… 

More free agents

Scott Moore, Cla Meredith, Alberto Castillo and Michael Aubrey have elected free agency.
 
They’ll be added to a group of potential losses that includes Koji Uehara, Kevin Millwood, Ty Wigginton, Cesar Izturis, Julio Lugo, Mark Hendrickson and Corey Patterson.  (Hendrickson has a club option that’s not expected to be picked up, which would make him a FA.)

Roberts to get cat scan

Following Sunday’s 3-2 season-finale loss,
Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts clarified on the concussion-like symptoms
that sidelined him for the team’s final six games.

I just have some lack of balance and some headaches, and just
stuff that hasn’t been a whole lot of fun,” said Roberts, who is scheduled to
get a cat scan on Monday.

“I don’t know 100 percent sure [what caused
the headaches], but it was Monday night. In frustration, I whacked myself on
the head with my bat in the ninth. I had my helmet on. It’s something I’ve done
a million times, but I still can’t tell you for sure if that was it. But that’s
the only thing that I can point to because that night and the next morning, I
just didn’t feel good.”

Roberts was a late-scratch from Tuesday’s
game against Tampa Bay and played in just 59 games this season after missing
three-and-a-half months with a herniated disc in his lower back. He said that
he didn’t anticipate this issue hampering his readyiness for next spring and
acknowledged that it has been one of the most trying seasons of his career.

“It’s been one for the
memory banks, but not for the best memory bank I guess,” Roberts said.  “But there’s been some good things and just
because things don’t go exactly the way you want them to, it doesn’t mean that
it’s all been a negative, a wash, because certainly since [manager Buck
Showalter has] gotten here, we’ve done some great things. And I’ll be ready to
go February 2011. It just hasn’t been the best 2010.”

Orioles/Tigers end of 2010

*Sunday’s season finale is third base umpire Jerry Crawford final regular-season game, as he is retiring after the season. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he will give Crawford the lineup card and they’ll honor him briefly pregame. Crawford is expected to be on staff for the postseason.

*Brian Roberts will be addressing the media after today’s game, hopefully to clarify on what’s been going on with his headaches.

*Showalter will meet with the O’s current coaches on Monday to discuss their fate.

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Robert Andino 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Luke Scott DH
Ty Wigginton 1B
Felix Pie LF
Matt Wieters C
Josh Bell 3B
Cesar Izturis SS

Brad Bergesen RHP

TIGERS LINEUP

Austin Jackson CF
Will Rhymes 2B
Johnny Damon DH
Ryan Raburn LF
Don Kelly 1B
Jhonny Peralta SS
Brennan Boesch RF
Brandon Inge 3B
Alex Avila C

LHP Phil Coke

More MacPhail

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail addressed the Baltimore media contingent today, and most of the topics–free agents, offseason needs, etc. — I’ve already covered previously with today’s story and blog. But he did have one interesting quote about manager Buck Showalter being more involved in the offseason process than former manager Dave Trembley.

“I think he’s more interested,” MacPhail said of Showalter.
 
“He’s got a background in the whole evaluation from putting the expansion draft together for Arizona. So by that measure I think he’ll be more involved. Plus I think rightfully so, has a good reputation for, as managers go, for being a good evaluator. So I would expect that he would be more involved.”

Orioles/Tigers lineups- Roberts done for the yr

*Brian Roberts is done for the year, and will addresss the media following Sunday’s game. He has been dealing with headaches and was a last-minute scratch on Tuesday against Tampa Bay, although manager Buck Showalter has indicated there is more to B-Rob’s condition than a typical migraine.
*Luke Scott was voted the Most Valuable Oriole and will be honored pregame.
*The Tigers will use their bullpen for Sunday’s start, although it hasn’t been announced which reliever will open the season finale.

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Corey Patterson LF
Nick Markakis RF
Jake Fox DH
Luke Scott 1B
Felix Pie CF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Matt Wieters C
Robert Andino 2B
Cesar Izturis SS

Brian Matusz LHP

TIGERS LINEUP:
Austin Jackson CF
Ramon Santiago 2B
Ryan Raborn LF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Casper Wells RF
Brandon Inge 3B
Don Kelly 1B
Scott Sizemore DH
Max St. Pierre C

Armando Galarraga RHP

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