a guy and a bee

a collection of random thoughts and ideas from me, her, and sometimes us

Tag Archives: baseball

opening day!

opening dayas you probably know, i am a big orioles and baseball fan and with the 20th anniversary of camden yards coming up, my wife got us opening day tickets for christmas (or was it my birthday…). anyway, i’ve been to opening several times as a kid and my buddy dan and i went last year. this year, it was bee, myself, my dad, and dan and his dad. well, needless to say, we had a great time.

with all the new renovations to the stadium, we got down to the stadium early around 1230/1245 to take in the events. first we talked around the stadium on the outside to see the brooks robinson statue since we hadn’t been down that way since it was installed. with all the crazy people at pickles we stayed on the other side and took it in from afar. as we got into the eutaw street gate, we saw the new gino’s stand and the patio area above centerfield. we made our way from there to right field and watched some batting practice and then went over to left field and took in some more BP. i just missed a ball by a split second. guess i should have had my glove on instead of keeping it in our bag. haha.

our seats were in section 13, which is different than our partial ticket plan but still under cover. and boy was it windy under there. there was probably at 10 degree difference from the sun to the shade because of the winds that were whipping through the stadium friday. many of the renovations to the stadium looked nice and well done. can’t decide yet if i am fan of the new lower wall in right field. it’s kind of like when they moved home plate so they could add more seats to the stadium. guess we’ll see how it plays as t he year goes on. as the festivities went along and all the players got introduced, it was great to see markakis and wieters be presented with their well deserved gold glove awards. nick should probably have 2 or 3 by now, but you can’t argue giving him one for having an error-less season and playing more than 150 games in RF. the new rules in voting for gold gloves as probably helped make this possible finally.

the game turned out to be a great one too and arrieta pitched a gem. i knew the orioles would win. they have one of the top 3 win/loss records on opening day in all of major league baseball. i’m pretty sure the only boo’ing on the day was when kevin gregg was introduced. poor guy. then again, they might have boo’d troy patton too for letting up a 2 RBI home run in the 9th in. no one boo’d the caped crusader, er, field trespasser though as the baltimore police laid a nice tackle on him. we also missed it because we were in the concourse at the time when a police officer came running by us and down the tunnel.

all in all, it was a great time at the yard and a fun way to spend the day with some family, friends, and new comers to opening day in baltimore, aka a statewide holiday!

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don’t change the game

coach harbaugh never likes the refs call

it seems like in every major sport these days, there is a large mistake by the officials on a regular basis. granted referreeing isn’t a perfect science and there is only a split second for you to make the decision, but it seems like the obvious calls are being missed and therefore games are being changed because of it. take the syracuse vs. unc asheville game the other night in the second round of the ncaa tournament. an inbound pass goes in and doesn’t even hit a player on unc-a and the ref gives the ball back to syracuse. now granted, this might not have changed the final outcome, but it changed the game at that moment and with such little time on the clock left, there was no way the team could recover. maybe they should have called a foul on unc-a as both players went after the loose ball. as well, in the same game, there was also a shot clock violation that didn’t get called. i didn’t see if that got overturned by replay, but the officials have replay on the court so why not use it when the play is crucial to the game.

The NCAA Coordinator of Officials, John Adams said,

“I’m not going to alibi for the gentlemen in the game. They work their butts off. When you see this call, it’s either a foul or you give it to the other team that didn’t knock the ball out of bounds.”

“He didn’t get it right.”

having umpired baseball for parts of 13 plus years, i know that you can’t be right all the time but a play that like needs to be overruled by the officials. when there is more than 1 official on the floor, you need to get together and make the right call. just now at halftime of the murray st/marquette game, there was a clear walk as the player scored at the buzzer and it counted. unbelievable. it’s not just now and it’s not just basketball. i’m sure every major sport this year had has their fair share of screw ups and i’ve even screwed up before, but it appears to be happening more and more on the national stage, which isn’t good. you never want to put yourself in the game and make a call that can change a game like that.

remember the perfect game that armando galarraga (who is now in orioles camp) had a couple years ago when jim joyce blew the call at first? he later apologized for screwing up the call, but it doesn’t go back and fix the wrong and change history. how many perfect games have there been, ever? 20, in over 100 years.

if you are going to let the players play, let them play. ultimately, you need to be consistent, whether it’s good or bad. be consistent and don’t put yourself out there to make a critical call in correctly. it’s a shame things have been so bad lately, but hopefully it changes so it stops affecting the game adversely. literally, for the love of the game, they need to be better.

you can see the play in syracuse/unc asheville game on youtube.

i don’t get the baseball hall of fame selection committee

every player and sports fan even wants to be in their respective hall of fame. lately it seems like some of the hall of fames are under issues. for example, in the NFL HOF, there is always questions about art modell not getting selected as a great contributor or cris carter selected at WR. anyway, in the baseball hall of fame, my gripe is that it always seems like people get in after years of trying. how does this happen when the players stats don’t change after they’ve retired. the main issue here is the baseball writers association of america. the BBWAA is lame. many of these people vote on unwritten rules or made up issues about how they don’t like a guy or that they can’t vote on a first time balloter. a guy like cal ripken jr. doesn’t get a unanimous vote because one or two guys don’t vote for a first ballot guy. the guy that saved baseball and will have a streak that will never be broken. the guy that revolutionized the shortstop position and paved the wave for guys like jeter and a-rod. granted he also grounded into the most double plays in baseball history but if you played 2,632 straight games, you might have a bad stat or two.

anyway, my point is that these guys are voting in players and most of them probably haven’t played a game since rec league if at all. and my main point here is that players who are on the ballot year after year go up and down and might eventually get into the hall because all the sudden these writers think it’s a good time that player to get in. for example, this year, barry larkin was selected as the lone member of the class of 2012. he received 86.4% of the vote, but just last year, he only received 62.1%. the year before that 51.6%. so how does a guy that wasn’t deserving two years ago and only half the writers voted for all the sudden garner a 80%+ vote by the same guys that said two years ago he shouldn’t be in? don’t get me wrong, larkin helped the reds win the world series in 1990 and has some nice stats. he was an all star, gold glover, silver slugger and NL MVP so why of all the sudden does someone completely change their mind and decide to put him in? it’s not like they had a stacked ballot last year for the election with roberto alomar and bret blyleven getting in. you can make this case for many of the people who have gone in over the years. this year as well the late ron santo was elected by the veterans committee. in 1980, santo received 15% of the vote. now with each voter only getting 10 votes and players like willie mays, al kaline, brooks robinson, and others getting elected in the late ’70s/early ’80s, i can see santo not getting in at the time but now he gets elected by the hall of fame veterans committee after not getting much support decades ago.

anyway, at what point do we get a selection committee that puts people in based on merit and ability and not by a group of writers who make a decision on who knows what. it is prestigious and an honor to get into the hall of fame and i hope they would all vote that way. on a side note, according to wikipedia, the sports writers at the baltimore sun aren’t permitted to be in the group by their employers.

i won’t say that the BBWAA is a joke, i just think there has to be a better way to select future HOF members. and who knows, maybe one day roger maris will get inducted. or jack morris.

orioles, what’s next?

new 2012 logo!

with the ravens season over, it’s time to focus on baseball season. being born and raised in the baltimore area, i was raised as an orioles fan. growing up with the oriole way was great but not being old enough to remember the ’83 world series and not seeing one since has been a tough way to be a fan. as we all  know, the last 14 years have been tough for any orioles fan; however, i can’t give up on them now.

“What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”

having grown up as a baseball fan and playing and umpiring baseball for the vast majority of my life, i always watch the game with a critical eye. i sometimes joke that i’ve forgotten more about the rules of baseball them some people know. we all know this year is going to be a another rough year. there was promise when andy mcphail came in and things went okay and now that he is gone, dan duquette is attempting to put his stamp on this organizations. he’s stirred up things in the front office, but has he done enough? we’ve had a problem developing talent for years now and some of those people that were in charge for the last several years are still around. as far as the talent on the field, i haven’t been blown away. seems like more of the same but on a bigger scale. he’s brought in a lot of decent talent and some older talent as well as a mix of foreign born players. many of these guys are expected to strengthen the organization overall but how many of them will make a splash with the big league club? on the surface, i like some of the deals that they have made.

new oriole, tsuyoshi wada

i would have hoped they showed up and made a splash with a #1 pitcher, especially now that Guthrie has been traded, but there’s two sides to everything and one of those guys would have to want to come here as well. now we have a chance with the guys like wada, ayala, hammel, eveland, and a cast of others who we have signed to bolster up a rotation with guys who hopefully have bright futures like britton, matusz, arrieta, and tillman.

they’ve also worked to bolster up the other position players. when i say worked, we don’t know if they will work or if anyone of the trades/signings are any good. right now, none of them remind me of the hardy trade last year but hopefully they will turn into a nugget as showalter would say. i’ll leave all the advance stats and sabremetrics up to the experts like camden crazies and camden depot, but on my gut feel, and i know many of the others feel the same way, it’s going to be a tough season. last year, i had great hope for the team. at the start of the season , i had them at .500 or better, but this year, i think its going to a struggle to even get there.

this year as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of oriole park at camden yards, i am going to continue to enjoy the team and the stadium. for the second year, bee has gotten us a partial game plan for my birthday. it’s been different the last couple years enjoying the game through the eyes of someone who is new to the game. when we get to the stadium, i enjoy watching the game through her eyes and explaining many of the different aspects of the game to her. having been to at least 150 games, from memorial stadium to camden yards, it’s neat to see someone who is new to the sport. i’ve seen great games, terrible games, games in final week of the streak, the orioles vs. cuba game, fireworks games, and many more. this year, again, we will cheer on her favorite player, nick markakis and many others, and give it the old college try. just like the orioles.

what’s next? who knows what will happen. maybe, for a lost generation of orioles fans who haven’t seen a winning team, we will see a billy beane like season and make a run to better than .500 and make a run at the postseason.

see you at the yard! i’ve met lots of great people there over the years so stop by!

oriole park, photo courtesy of me on flickr

My Year in Sports

21 Orioles Games
1 Shorebirds Game
1 Ironbirds Game
2 Baysox Games
2 Nationals Games
1 Nebraska Football Game
2 Ravens Games
2 Elon BBall Games (at MD and at Navy)
1 Baltimore Grand Prix

From starting about this time last year, it’s been a fun year of attending sporting events. As a big baseball fan, I’ve always enjoyed going to numerous games a year at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but the variety increased this year. Last October, I attended my first professional football game. Sat on the 50 yard line about 30 rows from the field. Fantastic time and nothing like corporate seats. Shortly after that, we made our way to Nebraska to see my wife’s dad. There we had the opportunity to attend the Nebraska vs. Missouri game, a great rivalry and exciting game. It was their 306th or 309th consecutive sell out. I have a separate blog post on here all about our trip if you are interested.

As the fall turned into winter, Elon’s basketball team travelled for the season to play teams locally and we saw them at Maryland and Navy around the holidays. We had a great alumni attendance at both games and certainly gave Maryland a run for their money. (Should I mention we also went to 1 or 2 Elon football games? They play 1-AA in football in the SoCon.)

At the end of the year, I found out for my birthday, Bee got me/us a partial game season ticket plan for the Orioles. Section 15 if you want to see us out there next year! Between FanFest and the season starting, I laid low with getting some autographs and collectibles. As spring started, I made it to my first opening day, with my buddy Dan, since I was in high school. We had a blast and were ready for what we thought would be a great season. Between season tickets, random Friday or Saturday games, giveaway nights or alumni games, I made it to at least 21 games. In between, we went to the Shorebirds and Baysox games for bobblehead giveaways. I also finally made it out to the Ironbirds stadium after 10 years for a work night at the the game. Hadn’t been to a minor league game in years. I also finally made it to Nationals stadium, once to see the Orioles and once with Bee’s family when they were in town. Nice place but I still enjoy OPaCY! Even wrangled in a batting practice ball at a Orioles game and a foul ball at a Baysox game. The ball hawks weren’t around at the time. Haha.

Once the season wound down, we got to the much anticipated Grand Prix. I made my way down to practice and had a good time. Lots going on and lots of energy. Neat experience but couldn’t go the rest of the weekend since we were going to the beach for the holiday.

And as we end up in October again, I got to go to another Ravens game for the weekend. Another corporate section and hospitality tent event. What a way to tailgate! This time it was Bee’s first professional football game and we won to boot. Talk about a loud, rowdy environment at M&T Bank these days.

I’m not really a fan of professional basketball and only a semi casual fan of hockey so who knows if I attend something like that soon but we shall see what the next year of sports brings. I know it will include lots of Orioles games though!

Length of Ballgames

I don’t know about you guys, but a 4 plus hour game is out of control. And the game went into extra innings around, if not after, the 4 hour mark. The major league umpires have let this thing get out of control and although there aren’t any official timing rules, they need to do something.

Having seen Garcia pitch against the Orioles last week, you know that he took 10-15 seconds between pitches at least. Throws a pitch, gets the ball back, circles the mound, composes himself and then gets the next sign. What a load of junk. I am sure Beckett did the same thing and don’t get me started on Papelbon, who probably took a leisurely trip around the stadium before he came in.

The fact that the umpires continue to let these players and especially these two teams to continuously do this is a real shame.

Things like this are reasons why people are leaving the game, especially kids, and going to other sports. A soccer match is over in 90 minutes, maybe 2 hours without an extra half or period. Same with hockey, non stop action.

It’s time for MLB to start limiting time between innings with pitches, time between pitches, and paying more attention to time spent on visits to the mound. In a game that had a final score of 3-2, there is no way the game should have taken 4 hours and 15 minutes. The Orioles had an hour and 15 minute rain delay and then played a 6-2 game (and they won!) that only lasted just over 2 hours IN THE RAIN for half of the game.

Get it together, MLB!

summer time

not sure about you guys, but summer time is one of my favorite times of the year. it combines two things i really enjoy, the beach and baseball. and although you can enjoy baseball all year around, there is nothing like sitting in the stands of the stadium.

the beach is a place i’ve enjoyed since being a kid and still enjoy as an adult. i just got back from being there over the 4th of july week. as i spent time at the outer banks, i continue enjoy it as a place that keeps me calm and serene. the sun, the surf, the sand, the salt air, i enjoy it all. and who doesn’t love a good tan?

as many others, when i think of america’s pastime, baseball immediately comes to mine. if there was one sport that is my number one, it is definitely baseball. as some might remember, my wife got us a partial game plan for the orioles this year and although the team hasn’t won in awhile, it’s something we enjoy doing together. and it is something i can teach her all i know. having played and umpired since being a young kid, i can say, i know a lot and have seen a lot. from the days of going to memorial stadium as a young kid and seeing stars of the late ’80s and ’90s to being at camden yards for 10-15 games a summer from being a kid to being an adult. this year i have also made it to nationals park for the first time and experienced my first non-baltimore stadium. nice little stadium they have down there in dc, but it’s no oriole park at camden yards. #justsaying. as well, my buddy and i are making our rounds to some of the minor league affiliates. on july 1st, we rode down and caught the shorebirds game and also got our manny machado bobbleheads. we even met @2131andBeyond finally. later this summer, we are going to make it to a game or two at bowie and next week, my wife and i are going to head to aberdeen to see the ironbirds and ripken stadium. we got tickets through my job so they were easy to get a hold of.  i’ve wanted to see it since it was built and have driven around it several times, but this will be my first visit inside the stadium. we even went to an outer banks daredevils game as well. they are a summer wood bat league for college kids and are part of the coastal plain league. it’s really a neat experience and as one friend it’s probably like summer catch with freddie prince jr. haha, that’s almost true!

so any way, that’s what i’ve been up to this summer so far. i have some pretty good pictures from the fireworks on the beach the other day and will share those a few from my first visit to the shorebirds stadium once i get them downloaded. i really intend to blog more so look out!

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