Friday, April 30, 2010

A Picture from Spring Training

Somehow, I failed to show this picture of Brian Roberts and me that my dad took during Orioles Spring Training in Sarasota. Brian's dad was selling a book about base-stealing that he wrote and if you bought the book, Brian would sign it and something else for no additional charge. Since B-Rob was hurt, he was able to do this while the game was going on. It was a pretty cool experience and I might try to now get him to sign this picture for me. If you look very closely, you can see that I am holding this card in my hand.

Brian seemed like a very cool guy and it was very nice to be able to meet him. Things like this is why I love Spring Training. You would never be able to do that during the regular season. I always look forward to my trips down there and hope to be able to do it again next year.

Autographs from Orioles-Rays series

As I continue to play catch up, here are some more autographs I got at the O's-Rays series in mid-April.

Cesar is one Oriole who has been playing pretty well and I feel he should bat lead-off until someone else can step it up.

Berky has been pitching pretty well too, but for some reason Trembley doesn't bring him in very much. This card was really made to be signed, wasn't it? Look at all that empty space.

Mark Hendrickson has done alright too but I feel like he lets too many inherited runners score.

Our sometime closer JJ, now he hasn't been very good. Can someone please find the 2008 version of him and bring him back to Baltimore? Please?

The Rays were pretty good about signing. I saw Longoria sign for a few people and I could've gotten Carlos Pena's autograph again if I had remembered to put another one of his cards in my Rays team set after he signed for me in Spring Training. I really feel like I should do better with those things by now.

2009 breakout star, Ben Zobrist signed. I've gotten his autograph before so if anyone is interested (ahem Troll) just let me know.

I figured that a good use of my team card would be to get the Rays' President/GM, Andrew Friedman to sign. And this was before I knew that Carlos Pena was going to sign; that would've been a better use of this card but eh. Oh well.

Frederick Keys Autographs

In my constant attempt to remain on top of the autographs I get at games, here are the autographs I got at a Frederick Keys game...almost two weeks ago. Hey, I did say attempt.

Former big-leauger Denny Hocking is the Key's new hitting coach. I wasn't sure how he would sign but he was very cool and signed up to seven cards for a few people. That's more than I like to get at one time, but he signed these two for me.

Pitching coach Blaine Beatty also had a cup of coffee in the Majors. I found it interesting that he inscribed the same Bible verse on each card. Sometimes guys will switch it up. But I guess he really likes Phillipians 4:13 which states "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

I don't have my Baseball America Prospect Handbook with me, but I know that these guys all ranked somewhere between 11-30.

I don't know if Brandon had seen this card yet but wasn't happy with the way his pinkie finger was sticking out.

I'm pretty sure that Billy is #30. The former #1 draft pick's stock is definitely slipping.

Now onto the unranked prospects...

Luis spent most of this past Spring Training in the Big League camp so it was nice to get his autograph. He's since been demoted to Delmarva.

Jose Duran was one of the O's selections in the Minor League portion of the 2010 Rule V draft. He had been in the Houston Astros organization but I couldn't find any of his cards.

I really enjoy saying Greg's last name even though I'm not sure if it's My-clat or Me-clat. Either way, it's fun to say.

These are the first two cards I have signed from the 2009 Ironbirds set that I picked up at Orioles Fanfest. The grass background is interesting.

Mariotti and Gleason spent some time with Bowie last year so it's not a good sign that they are back in Frederick.

Wally and Brett are back in Frederick for another season. I don't really have anything else to say about them.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Congrats Chris!

In case you hadn't heard, Chris Tillman threw a no-hitter for the AAA Norfolk Tides last night. He almost completely shut down the Gwinnett Braves and allowed just two base-runners; one was a walk and the other reached on an error by Michael Aubrey.

Awesome work Chris! Now come on up to Baltimore and do that against the Yankees or Red Sox. I would be in debt to you forever!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Simon Says-Who's the Orioles Clawser?

Since these two guys have each earned their first career save in the past two Orioles games (two game winning streak baby!!!), does that mean that either of them are the closer right now? My guess is that Dave Trembley sticks with Alfredo Simon and his 97mph heater for now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TTM Sort of Success-Mark Huismann

TTM Collectors...Has this ever happened to you?

Back in December, I sent Mark his Orioles Crown card to be signed. It's his one and only Orioles card, and I know he is a good TTM signer (92%), so I shipped my card off.

Last week, I found a TTM envelope waiting for me in the mailbox. JACKPOT! That's always my favorite mail to receive, with a close second being trade/goodwill packages from my fellow bloggers or readers.

I excitedly opened the envelope...and found this...

OK, don't get me wrong, I think it's awesome that Mark still takes the time to sign his fan mail. So many players do not, so good on him for signing at all. But this is certainly not the Crown card that I sent him. It's a nice Mariners card, but I suppose this means that someone else might have received my Crown card instead of their '87 Topps wood-grain awesomeness. If that happens to be you, please let me know. I'm happy to add Mark's autograph to my collection, and suppose that I will try to send another Crown card to him.

To be continued...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Signs of Life-Courtesy of Rhyne HUUUUUGHES

I know that I briefly turned my attention away from the current state of the Orioles; I continued to watch and/or follow the games, but I had taken a break from writing about the mostly-depressing goings on. But suddenly, I have something positive to talk about, and his name is Rhyne Hughes!

He was called up prior to Saturday's game and played 1B both Saturday and Sunday. Oh, and he has only gone 4-9 with a double, 1 run scored and 2 RBI. Not a bad way to make his Major League debut if you ask me. And since Garrett Atkins wasn't exactly tearing it up at the plate, is it possible that Hughes is the full-time first baseman? I say that anything can happen considering how the season has gone so far!

Now, if you have been following this blog over the past few months, this is far from the first time you have heard Rhyne's name. I did a post dedicated to him in February when I was profiling all of the Minor League Members of the Orioles 40-man roster. At that point, I did not have his autograph, but was lucky enough to catch up with him in Spring Training, so you might have seen the card at the top of the post then. Rhyne announced his arrival to the organization in the O's first Spring Training game on March 4th, when he went deep twice against the Rays.

Rhyne had been feasting on AAA pitching so far this year (he was hitting .353, with 3 HRs, 11 RBI and an 1.088 OPS before getting called up) so his success at the plate isn't much of a surprise. But it is nice to see a player succeed immediately during his first action at the Major League level. The main negative about him is that he strikes out about 25% of his ABs, but if he can hit the other 75% of the time, I won't have anything bad to say about him.

Let's Go O's!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Post About Beene

Fred Beene, that is. 1968-70

Fred personalized and returned my TTM request in only 8 days last fall. That's a pretty amazing turnaround from Texas to Maryland. Thanks Fred!

He began his MLB career with the O's in 1968 and pitched 7 games for them over his three seasons in the organization. He didn't factor into any wins or losses and had a 4.66 ERA in 9.2 total innings. After his time in Baltimore, he pitched 5 more years in the Bigs for the Yankees and Indians. Someone else has already written extensively about Fred Beene; I suggest checking out the link. The guy who runs the site was friends with Fred's kids in the '70s and really did a bang up job writing about Fred.

Fred has a very clean autograph and it defintely reads "Fred Beene". I think he could teach current players a thing or two about signing their names on a small piece of cardboard. Says the guys with a horrible signature...

Friday, April 23, 2010

TTM Success: Chico Fernandez

Recently, I have moved away from showcasing the autograph successes I've received from my TTM requests. Why? Well, my excitement and energy was focused on the 2010 Orioles. Since that has now dissipated, at least to an extent, I am going to return my focus to showing off my TTM conquests.

Chico Fernandez 1968

Chico has an interesting signature to say the least. It almost looks like he signed on a flat edge, like a ruler, and then let it fly at the end with his Z. It's a kind of cramped but very legible autograph, and it was his first recorded success on SCN. Aaron, who is a good friend of the blog, gave me the heads up to send to Chico, and Chico personalized my card and got it back to me in only 10 days.

I don't think many people have sent requests to Chico because they either didn't think he signed TTM, or they overlooked him. His MLB career lasted only 24 games for the '68 Birds, and he appeared at both 2B and SS during his time in Baltimore.

There is another, more well known Chico Fernandez who played for the Dodgers, Phillies, Tigers and Mets over a ten year MLB career.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

First Alumni Autographs of the Year

These guys were the first Orioles Alumni Series Signers of the year and appeared at the MASN tent on Eutaw Street on Monday April 12. I've already shown off the Rick Krivda orange uni autograph I got, so I won't re-post that one.

It's always nice to see Paul Blair, he is such a nice guy. He also had some sort of health scare over the winter, so it was great to see him at the Yard again.

Tippy made his second or third appearance.

And Boog made an appearance to advertise his BBQ stand, a little further down Eutaw Street. He didn't sit down but signed for those of us near the booth while he was there.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

4/10 Baysox Game Autographs

I have shown off a few of the autographs that I got at this Baysox game but here are the rest of them.

This is my first autographed card of Eddie, who blew through the O's Minor League system last year. He started the season with lo-A Delmarva, was promoted to hi-A Frederick midway through the year and ended up in AA Bowie by the end of the season. The amazing part is that his ERA went DOWN with each promotion, from 1.86, to 0.55 to 0.00. I didn't have this Shorebirds team set until the end of the year and didn't see the Baysox play again after I bought it, so this was my first shot to get Eddie to sign it. Eddie was very personable and seems like a good signer.

Pat followed a similar, if slightly less successful, path as Eddie's last year. He also played for Delmarva, Frederick and Bowie. And he is extremely tall; listed at 6'8". I think the O's like tall pitchers IE Mickolio, Hendrickson, Egan...

Miggy signed his 09 Baysox team set card. I've said it before and will say it again, I really dig the orange border on these cards.

Now, the 09 Keys team set, I don't like so much. Never have the players wear black uniforms on picture day and then shoot close-ups of them! They have to squeeze in their signature or sign over the black!

Bascom's last name stretched into his face to avoid the black.

The Carolina League Top Prospects set also used the Keys' team set pictures.

You see what I mean about these signatures fading into the black. They look even worse in person; the scanner actually brightens them up a bit. There's barely any light space on the cards.

Whereas the Keys' giveaway team set utilized white uniforms and action shots. Major upgrade! That's how a Minor League team set should look, or at least more-so like this.

Tyler was nice enough to also sign his 07 Ironbirds card for me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hawaii Winter League Autographs

Here are all of the cards that I have signed from the Hawaii Winter League/Honolulu Sharks team set. My boy Matt Wieters is also in the set, and was part of the reason that I bought it, but I don't know if I will get that one signed or not.

This is Ryohei's only card that I am aware of, and his inclusion was the other reason why I bought the set. Teams in the Hawaiian Winter League are mainly made up of American and Asian players, and Tanaka was a member of the Sharks on behalf of the Chiba Lotte Marines, his team in Japan's Pacific League. He just happened to be placed on the team with the Orioles prospects, with no way of knowing that they would be his future teammates. Pretty cool stuff.

It looks like Ouellette also had the "honor" to wear the lei and the accompanying unsure look on his face for picture day.

I like Chad Thall's card because it features the Shark's purple uniform. It's something different, and I guess that's why I like it. I'm not really sure.

Miggy Abreu's card isn't a different color, I just edited it incorrectly. He got a little wild with his autograph, as his M leapt off the bottom edge of the card. I like to think that he was just excited to see this card and couldn't contain his autograph excitement. I'm probably wrong.

Brett Bordes is the only member of the O's organization in this set that is still with hi-A Frederick. Everyone else is in Bowie, Norfolk, or Baltimore.

I've shown this B-Snyd card before, back when I was previewing the Minor League member's of the O's 40-man roster, but here it is again. He signed this for me in Spring Training.

And I just posted this card last week, but I promised to display all my autographs from this set, so here it is again. Phillip Britton was VERY excited to see this card and talked to me about it for a few minutes.