January 2013

Orioles announce early promotion schedule

The Orioles announced their 2013 Early Bird Promotions Schedule (additional promotions will be added during the season) with the list below.

The club’s annual Fan Appreciation Weekend has been extended to a full week and is scheduled for the final homestand of the season, September 24-29 against the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.

Every Tuesday is Ollie’s Bargain Night, presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, featuring $9 Upper Reserve tickets when purchased in advance. Every Friday is Student Night presented by AT&T, featuring $6 LF Upper Reserve tickets with valid Student ID.

04/05- 2013 Schedule & Car Magnet- All fans.
04/17- MLB Drawstring Bag- 1st 10,000 Fans
04/21- Little League Day #1
05/15 – Field Trip Day
05/19 – Little League Day #2
05/29 – Orioles T-Shirt  1st 10,000 Fans 15 & Over
06/16- Travel Kit –  1st 10,000 Men 21 & Over
06/27    Beach Towel  -1st 10,000 Fans 15 & Over
07/09 -Orioles T-Shirt- 1st 10,000 Fans 15 & Over
07/12 -1983 World Champs Floppy Hat-1st 20,000 Fans 21 & Over, Fireworks
07/13- Adam Jones Replica Away Jersey- 1st 15,000 Fans 15 & Over
07/14 -Orioles BP Cap- 1st 20,000 Fans 15 & Over, Kids run the bases
08/04- Kids Run the Bases (post-game)   All Kids 14 & Under
08/23-Fireworks-All fans
08/25-Ear Buds- 1st 5,000 Fans 14 & Under
09/26 – Fan Appreciation T-Shirt -1st 10,000 Fans 15 & Over
09/27 – Fireworks
09/29- Fans’ Choice Bobblehead-1st 20,000 Fans 15 & Over

O’s emphasis mainly on pitching, Duquette on the slow winter

While teams around baseball have been filling out their rosters with free-agent signings and trades, the Orioles have been exceptionally quiet.

The club’s biggest move this offseason has been the re-signing of outfielder Nate McLouth to a one-year deal, with smaller trades for infielder Yamaico Navarro and outfielder Trayvon Robinson — along with several waiver claims and Minor League signings — doing little to generate much buzz around the 2013 team.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Thursday he is still exploring potential additions before Spring Training starts next month, with the emphasis shifted more toward pitching, and he remains intent on holding on to the team’s young nucleus and is unmoved by public perception.

“We looked around the industry for that middle-of-the-order bat,” Duquette said. “There was one free agent that was a significant player. There have been some other players available in a trade that I’m not sure they were better than what we had, and the cost of the acquisition has been a little pricey for us.”

Cost is another word the Orioles’ fanbase has bemoaned, with the team’s payroll set to stay in the same range as last season. Baltimore has a host of arbitration-eligible players, leaving little wiggle room to add impact players in free agency. While rival clubs in the American League East, most notably Toronto and Boston, have made winter headlines, the Orioles, who have been involved in a fair amount of trade rumors, haven’t been willing to pull the trigger and deal away what opposing teams covet most: their young pitching.

Read the rest of the story here.

Orioles announce three-day caravan

The Orioles and OriolesREACH have announced plans for a three-day, four-city caravan around Maryland next week that will include appearances by several players as well as executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.

On Wednesday Orioles pitchers Brian Matusz and Kevin Gausman and will appear at the William Talley Recreation Center (121 North Bentz Street in Frederick, Md.) home of the Class-A Frederick Keys, to meet with children from the Police Athletic League and the Frederick Boys and Girls Club. They will sign autographs and play games with the children from 4:00-5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

On Thursday pitchers Zach Britton and Chris Tillman will be at the Westfield Annapolis Mall (2002 Jennifer Road) from 6:00-8:00 p.m. to sign autographs, pose for photos with children and take part in question and answer sessions with fans in the JC Penney Concourse. A raffle to benefit the Bowie Health Center will take place as part of the event.

Showalter will serve as the keynote speaker at the Aberdeen Ironbirds’ Hot Stove Dinner at Ripken Stadium Thursday night from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Closer Jim Johnson will join Showalter at the event. Tickets for the dinner are $40 and are available through the Ironbirds’ website http://www.ironbirdsbaseball.com.

On Saturday, January 26, Duquette will serve as the keynote speaker for the 12th Annual Delmarva Shorebirds Hot Stove Dinner at the Delmar VFW at 200 West State Street in Delmar from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are $33 and are available through the Shorebirds’ website http://www.theshorebirds.com. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Delmarva Shorebirds Community Fund and the United Way of the Eastern Shore.

Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones will join the Y of Central Maryland for “A Monument to Greatness” tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Friday, January 18 at the Weinberg Family Center Y at 900 East 33rd Street in Baltimore. Jones and MLK Foundation President and CEO Harry E. Johnson will speak at the breakfast which will run from 9:00-10:30 a.m. Tickets to the event are available at http://www.ymaryland.org and proceeds from the event will benefit Y programs for vulnerable youths in Baltimore.

Is the Orioles inactivity the best of several bad options?

If you have been to MLB.com’s main website recently you probably noticed the Sports on Earth columns that have been featured in a new venture that started earlier this winter.

One of those long form columns on Tuesday focused on the Orioles and made an interesting argument that the team’s lack of activity was the best of several bad options.

The author argues that Baltimore’s best move has been to do nothing since its working with limited funds and there isn’t a single player out there that would immediately make the team better. Wait, hang on to the young players the Orioles have, and hope they’re in a better spot to spend next winter.

It’s certainly a different spin on things and, while I don’t necessarily agree with all the points, it was a good, thought-provoking read.  Here’s an excerpt..

“This offseason, though, there hasn’t even been a Wei-Yin Chen signing for the Orioles. They’ve re-signed reclamation project outfielder Nate McLouth for a couple million dollars, made some minor league moves and that’s just about it. From time to time they’ve been linked to this or that free agent or trade candidate by the national writers, likely often as a stalking horse for one side or the other in ongoing negotiations as a legitimate, interested party, but nothing serious has materialized. Nor should it: the Orioles, the new CBA and the current market have intersected at such a unique angle that Baltimore’s current inactivity is the best of many bad options.

The first thing to recognize is that in any sane world the 2013 Orioles are not a playoff team, nor are they a few pieces away from being a playoff team. This comes with the weighty caveat that we live in a decidedly insane world: The same one that gave us the 2012 Orioles. Still, that particular bolt of lightning is unlikely to strike again. Baltimore’s run to the divisional series last year was miraculous, yes, but in baseball “miraculous” is just another word for “unsustainable.” On paper right now, they’re a team that should be fighting for fourth place, with the qualifier that the difference between the haves and the have-nots in the 2013 AL East should be the smallest in recent memory.

However, there is a certain amount of help on the way.”

You can read the full story here.

Getting ready for 2013

Thanks to all of you and your loyal readership, this blog has once again made it on the MLB.com Top 100 Blogs.

You can view the complete listing of all the blogs that made it by reading this post, with Britt’s Bird Watch coming it at No. 9 for the Pro Bloggers (which are the beat reporters who cover the team).

Last year, my blog was No. 10 in that category so we’re making progress. Again, thanks for reading/commenting/correcting and supporting all the stuff here on the blog and Orioles.com this year. I’ve got a few ideas to roll out in terms of content for Spring Training and there will be daily updates and recaps full of pictures from Sarasota, Fla. There will also be daily video on Orioles.com.

It was a fun ride in 2012. Here’s to making this year even better!


Around the Horn: Second Base

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Sarasota, Fla., in a little more than a month, it’s not too early to start dissecting the Orioles’ 2013 roster. The Around the Horn series will take a position-by-position look at the club’s projected starters and other options heading into Spring Training.

This week, I took a look at the team’s options at second base and you can read the rest of that story here.

Who do you think will end up being the Opening Day second baseman? Who will get the bulk of this year’s playing time?


Showalter contract update

While there is every expectation that a deal will get done to extend Orioles manager Buck Showalter’s contract, the process is coming along slowly and there’s no exact timetable on when a formal announcement will be made.

Showalter, who was set to fly back to Dallas on Tuesday night, has been traveling back and forth to Baltimore to meet with owner Peter Angelos to hammer out extension details as well as attend normal offseason meetings with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette.

Read the rest of the story here.

Os claim Martinez

The Orioles announced Friday that they have claimed catcher Luis Martinez off waivers from the Texas Rangers.

Martinez, 27, is a career .272/.362/.364 hitter in six Minor League seasons in the San Diego Padres (2007-11) and Rangers (2012) systems. Last year for Triple-A Round Rock, Martinez batted .270/.350/.386 in 65 games and appeared in 10 big league games, going 2-for-18. He was originally drafted by the Padres in the 12th round of the 2007 First Year Player Draft.

The move puts the Orioles 40-man roster at capacity and gives the organization four catchers: Matt Wieters, Taylor Teagarden, Luis Exposito and Martinez. Martinez, along with all members of the 40-man roster, will be in big league camp.

Orioles FanFest autograph vouchers on sale Saturday

Per a team release…

Vouchers for autograph sessions at the Orioles’ 2013 FanFest will go on sale this Saturday, January 5, at 10:00 a.m. The list of autograph session times and participants will be posted online for preview at www.orioles.com/fanfest by 9:00 p.m. this Friday, January 4. Orioles FanFest will be held on Saturday, January 19 at the Baltimore Convention Center from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with early entry for Orioles Season Plan Holders to begin at 10:00 a.m.

At this year’s FanFest, the Orioles will continue an autograph policy designed to support youth charitable endeavors through OriolesREACH and reduce fan disappointment by shortening wait times. Children ages 4-14 will have a specially designated Kids Only player autograph station presented by ESSKAY that is free of charge and will operate continuously throughout the day. All other ESSKAY autograph stations at FanFest will require the advance purchase of autograph vouchers exclusively at www.orioles.com/fanfest for $15 each, with all of the proceeds to benefit children’s charities through OriolesREACH. Since instituting the autograph policy in 2011, FanFest has raised over $185,000 for the Orioles Charitable Foundation.

There will be 250 vouchers available for each ESSKAY autograph session, guaranteeing that each fan purchasing a voucher for a particular session will receive an autograph from each of the players at the station. Fans will be able to print their vouchers at home and must present them to the attendant at the appropriate autograph session, shortening the amount of wait time in autograph lines. Fans must be in line for their autograph session no later than 30 minutes after the session begins.

If vouchers are still available on the day of the event, they will be available for purchase at the Oriole Park Box Office or at the Ticket Sales location at FanFest. Autograph seekers are encouraged to purchase vouchers in advance. There is a limit of two autograph vouchers per person, per session time, and fans redeeming autograph vouchers must be three years of age or older.

The complimentary Kids Only area at FanFest will operate throughout the day in a free-flowing system. Players signing in this area will not be announced in advance. Youth ages 4-14 may go through this line as many times as they would like as players rotate through the station.

Season Plan Holders can access FanFest beginning at 10:00 a.m., and the first 250 in attendance will receive a voucher to participate in a complimentary autograph session beginning at 10:00 a.m.