Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Autographs from 6-23 Aberdeen Ironbirds game

Here are the autographs I got at the Ironbirds game 2 weeks ago. If you missed my post on the trip, you can read about it here.

As the I-Birds are the short season A club in the O's farm system, I'm not familiar with many of the players there. So I also don't have many cards or much information about most of the players. I was fortunate to go to a game that had two guys, Blake Davis & Brandon Erbe, rehabbing from AAA Norfolk. I saw them both play at AA Bowie last year and saw Erbe at Bowie again earlier this season. Erbe was hiding out at this game and I didn't see him anywhere. However, I was lucky enough to get Blake's autograph after the trainer had stretched him out.

Blake was having a nice spring training this year for the O's when he unfortunately broke his foot. It was really bad timing since he had the inside track to break camp with the O's as their backup SS, partially due to the fact that he didn't have much competition. After he went down, the O's made the Hayden Penn for Robert Andino trade that has worked out pretty well for the Birds.
I got to ask Blake how his foot felt and he said it was fine but he hadn't ran in such a long time that his hamstrings were getting very tight during games. The Ironbirds trainer spent 5-10 minutes trying to get Blake properly stretched but must have done a good job as Blake is now back with Norfolk and hopefully back on track to make it to Baltimore sometime soon. He is a good guy so I am rooting for him to make it!

Cesar Devarez 1995-96

Cesar is the field coach for the Ironbirds and he signed for me by the dugout. He was the O's backup catcher for 16 games over the course of the '95-96 seasons. I found out on the Ironbirds coaches page that he played in the Minor Leagues for 15 years. Way to keep at your dream, Cesar!

Gary Kendall is the I-Birds manager and seemed to be the best autograph signing manager I have seen. I theorize that is because he was never a big time player, as Dave Trembley is also a great signer and also never played in the big leagues.

I saw Mick Mattaliano in Hi-A Frederick towards the end of last season and he was the closer at Lo-A Delmarva for most of 2008 so I don't know exactly why he was in Aberdeen in 2009. It seems like he is moving down the prospect ladder. But this is a cool looking card; he must be a submarine style pitcher, but I have never seen him in action so am not sure.

Tom Edwards was drafted out of Rutgers (that's a reference for you, Mark) in the 28th round of the 2008 draft. He's playing his second season at Aberdeen.

After starting the '07 season with the GCL Orioles, Jake has been playing for the Ironbirds for about 2 seasons now. He was drafted by the O's in the 45th round of the 2007 draft, so he might have reached his ceiling. I hope Jake proves me wrong!

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