Friday, May 29, 2009

WIETERS WIETERS WIETERS! Happy Wieters Day!!! & Hernandez's great success

So even though I will get to David Hernandez's successful debut shortly, I have to start by talking about how today is the day baseball's #1 prospect premieres for the Orioles.

I can honestly say that this is the most hyped Orioles prospect premiere of all time. The crowd expected tonight is at least 10-20,000 more than normal and I think the scene will be amazing. Every Orioles fan I know in Baltimore has or is trying to get tickets to this game. It will be the largest crowd at an Orioles game in recent years, not counting Opening Day, or Skankees/Red Sux games. This is all my speculative opinion but I would venture a guess to say that tonight's attendance will exceed the total for the past 3 games (not too tough since it will only need to be about 35,000).

Matt was Baseball America's top prospect of 2008 and he has absolutely torn up the minor leagues for the last year and a half. Kalina and I have been lucky enough to see him play about 15 times, mostly in Frederick and Bowie last season along with our one game in Norfolk this season. Most of the pitchers in the minors were afraid to pitch to him and he seemed to walk every other at-bat.

My Matt Wieters collection includes two different bobbleheads, a signed picture of him & me, 2 signed cards, about 20 different unsigned cards, and countless pictures.

Here is one of the cards

Now about last night's game,

Nolan homered for the third consecutive game

Luke Scott hit 2 HRs, had 4 RBI, and 8 total bases-and earned himself a curtain call!

But the biggest story was David Hernandez's largely successful debut. He pitched 5 2/3 innings (Trembley pulled him mid-inning to get the standing ovation) and only gave up one run while striking out 3. His fastball was hitting 95-96 all night and he also used a curveball, slider and changeup.

I got this card signed last year at a Baysox game but remember David not signing too often

His first Major League strike

David's Win earned him a post-game shaving cream pie from Adam Jones

It was also an Alumni autograph day so I added Calvin Maduro to my collection and got autos from Joe Orsulak & Ken Dixon as well. Since I have had Orsulak on here recently, I won't add more scans from him.

I also added Cesar Izturis to my collection.

Nolan signed for fans

And I got Adam Everett on the Tigers side, but missed out on
Justin Verlander, Bobby Seay, Brandon Lyon & Fernando Rodney

One additional note: the O's have had 4 pitchers win their Major League debut this season, Koji Uehara, Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken and now Hernandez. I think that has to be some sort of record and I was luckily at 3 of the 4, only missing Koji's debut W.

Happy Wieters Day everyone! My prediction for tonight-Wieters goes 5-4 with 8 HRs.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Road trip detailed: 5/23 Orioles @ Nationals, 5/24 Tides vs Red Wings, 5/25 & 5/26 Orioles vs Blue Jays

This is going to be a long post full of pictures and card scans and I am going to keep it as coherent and brief as possible. I hope everyone enjoys my baseball oriented Memorial Day weekend!

Saturday 5/23-Orioles @ Nationals-Nationals Park-Washington, DC

Adam Jones once again signed for a bunch of fans

As did Luke Scott

This was our first time seeing Nolan Reimold play as an Oriole

And as an American League fan, it was funny to see Koji bat
I wonder if this had anything to do with his dehydration/hamstring injury?

Rich Hill signed again, and luckily this time I had his card!

Adam Jones really signs a lot for a superstar

Luckily I got Chad's autograph before he is sent packing tomorrow...he seemed really nice

Jamie Walker signed for a few of us who got to him while he was leaning against the outfield wall
Interesting CAT inscription between his first and last names...

I called LOOUU over, good timing too since he is now out 6-8 weeks for finger surgery

The other players who signed but I missed out on were Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora, and Cesar Izturis.

Sunday 5/24-Tides vs Red Wings-Harbor Park-Norfolk, VA

"The Future" Matt Wieters was as fan-friendly as he had been in Bowie & Frederick

I think Matt dedicated this single to me for making the long trip to see him!

Radhames Liz was tracking pitches in the stands and smiled for Kalina
Chris Tillman signed for fans in the concourse before the game but insisted on taking a picture with me along the first base line

I was really happy to get autographs from some of the guys on the '09 Tides who played for the O's either this season or last year.


Bob McCrory (08-09)

Kam Mickolio (08)

Jim Miller (08)

And Oscar Salazar (08)

Joey Gathright also signed but hasn't yet played in Baltimore, at least not for the Orioles

Ross Wolf, Carlos Rojas and Melvin Dorta also signed but I either didn't have cards of theirs or already had my cards signed.

Monday 5/25 & Tuesday 5/26-Orioles vs Blue Jays-OPACY-Baltimore, MD


It was another O's Alumni Autograph day and the signees were:

Paul Blair, Bill Swaggerty & Joe Durham
It was my first Durham auto

And first time getting Swaggerty in person

We found B-Rob signing once we made it down to the first base line

MASN broadcaster Buck Martinez also signed for fans

After a few beers and fun with Kalina and Chris:
the Orioles were good enough to win the game for us!


Along with the Kevin Millar auto Kalina got for me, John McDonald also signed

This is Jason Berken's first major league pitch; a called strike.

A drizzly night but the O's pulled off another win!

And I need to briefly mention the awesome walk-off HR that Nolan Reimold hit yesterday. It was the Orioles first sweep of the Blue Jays since 1994, their first 3 game win streak since last August, and their time coming back to win after trailing after the 7th inning. Way to go Nolan and the rest of the O's!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Berken's debut, Wieter's impending callup and Millah!

So as I said this has been a big weekend/start of the week for me and the O's. I hope to get in a few posts detailing my trip soon, but it's main purpose was to see Wieters play in Norfolk (Kalina's excellent idea) since we had seen him in Frederick and Bowie. The timing couldn't have been better since Andy McPhail announced during last night's Orioles game that Wieters will be called up and make his O's debut this Friday.
At Sunday's Tides game, Wieters signed for every fan (I would guess it was at least 50) who was lined up by the home dugout. It will be interesting to see if he will continue to accommodate the autograph hounds at the Major League level but I do know that he won't have time to sign for everyone or his hand will fall off.

This is the 2nd Wieters card I got signed (first one was in Frederick)

Jason Berken made his successful major league debut last night, pitching 5 innings to earn the W in his first career start. He started a little rough, allowing 2 doubles and an earned run in the first but settled down after that. His offense picked him up too, scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead from the Jays and ensuring that Berky was in the position to get the win. His debut marks the second winning debut for an 08 Bowie starting pitcher, following Brad Bergesen's successful premier back in April, and it looks likely that David Hernandez will be called up from Norfolk for tomorrow's start. That means that 3 of the 5 starting pitchers from Bowie last season will now be in Baltimore's rotation. This also plays right into my autograph project as it's much easier to get these guys to sign at the minor league level.

Interesting note: Berken was signing for fans before his start last night;
this is the first time I have seen a starting pitcher do this. You think he was a little excited?!?

Kalina worked her magic to get Millah to sign at last night's Blue Jays game
It's pretty hilarious to compare the signature on the card to his autograph
I have a hat signed by him too and i don't think he ever does much more than the KM

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Baseball road trip

Just wanted to put a quick post on here explaining why I haven't blogged since Friday. Kalina and I took a quick baseball road trip. We started Saturday in DC to see the O's play the Nats in the "Battle of the Beltways" and then went down to Norfolk on Sunday to see the Tides play. This was our first time seeing a game in Norfolk and decided that we might have to make it a yearly event. We then caught the O's-Blue Jays game in Baltimore yesterday so had a busy Memorial Day weekend filled with baseball. The Orioles went 2-0 in the games we saw but the Tides couldn't complete our road trip sweep and lost 6-2.

Pictures and scans are coming either tonight or tomorrow but I got a bunch of autos. Joe Durham, Kam Mickolio, Jim Miller, Oscar Salazar Jamie Walker, and Chad Moeller are all guys who play/played for the O's that I didn't have autographs of yet so I was able to cross them all off of my list! It was a big weekend for my project.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thank you Paul and goodbye Eaton...

Paul of Paul's Random Stuff is awesome and got my Ryan Bukvich card signed recently at a Newark Bears game. It's this type of kind, random acts that makes me so happy to interact and trade with all of you fellow bloggers. It is a long shot that I will be able to see the Bears play in York this summer so Paul made my life easier (and if Paul's scouting reports are accurate, Bukvich probably will be signed by an affiliated club by the time the team comes to York).

Bukvich pitched (rather ineffectively) in 4 games for the O's during the '08 season, posting a 6.75 ERA allowing 9 hits, 2 HRs and 6 BBs in 5.1 innings. He doesn't have a card in an O's uniform so this is the closest thing I have to an Orioles card.

Thanks again Paul!

Also, Adam Eaton was released by the Orioles tonight and was replaced on the 25 man roster by Matt Albers, who is on his third stint with the O's this season.

Goodbye, Adam

Welcome back, Matt!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cards from my dad and another TTM returned

This is something I have had on the back burner for a few weeks but my dad was cool enough to get me a few O's autographs two weeks ago. I don't know exactly when or where he got these cards but I've been meaning to thank him and show them off via my blog.

I thought I already had a Garrett Olson signed card but did not. This is a pretty cool Bowman Sterling for a player who just never put it together for us at the Major League level and was traded to the Cubs for Felix Pie this past offseason. I'm not really sold on "Pyay" (that's how I say it, not Pee-a) either, so eh.
The Cubs have since traded Garrett to the Mariners and I know he was called up to bigs for them at one point this season. I can't say that I care enough to see if he has pitched at all...

Dan Morgiello is also new to my collection. He briefly pitched for the O's during the 83 season which is why my dad was collecting him. He ended up with an extra auto and that in turn benefited me!

My dad also hooked me up with this Cory Doyne auto. This is the Topps certified edition of the card that Cory had signed my TTM of last month. This might be his only O's card.

Hal Brown returned my TTM request and was nice enough to personalize it for me too. He signed this card on the perfect spot so as to not write on his face or on the writing on the card. I would say he signed this like a pro!