Monday, April 29, 2013

Oriole #946- Josh Stinson

Wow, has it really been over a week since my last post? My bad! But better late than never right?

Anyway, the most recent player to make his O's debut is a rather unexpected one. Right-handed starting pitcher Josh Stinson was called up to make a spot start against the Blue Jays, last Wednesday afternoon, April 24th. Things didn't exactly go well, although he did last 5.2 innings, he gave up 5 runs, and became the first pitcher to give up four homers in their first start for the Orioles. He was sent back to AAA Norfolk immediately after the game.

While Wednesday's start was Josh's debut for the Orioles, he has had some Major League experience over the past few seasons. He pitched in fourteen games for the 2011 Mets, and another six for the Brewers last season. Especially since he is already on the O's 40-man roster, I wouldn't be surprised if we see him again at some point this year.

Josh has the distinct honor of being the first player to debut for the Orioles this year whose autograph I did not already have, and his debut marks the first time I've needed an autograph to re-complete my collection in  six months. So thanks a million, Josh. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I know that Josh won't be the last player whose autograph I need to track down this season, but it's always mildly discouraging to add names to my need list.

And it sounds like that list might get twice as long after the Orioles traded for catcher Chris Snyder earlier today too. C'est la vie!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The 2013 Orioles Walk-Up Song Project

Since I've enjoyed doing this the past two years (2012, 2011), I am once again going to try to keep track of the songs that the Orioles players use as their walk-up/warm-up music. I really stayed on top of the songs in 2011, and updated the list six times throughout the year. Last year, I only wrote the one, original post, but the funny thing is that I continued to take notes on the songs used throughout the season, and then just never got around to writing posts about the updates.

Since this list is something that changes any time a player is added to the roster, or they want to change things around, the list is fluid, but here is what I have at this point in the season. The Orioles website also has a list up, but some of the players shown are at AAA Norfolk, so I can't say how accurate it might be right now. I know that at least the song the O's list for Adam Jones seems to be incorrect at this point, so I'm only going with my in-person observations.

I will make a note if a returning player is using the same song they had at the end of 2012.  And if anyone has any information to add or update from what's listed below, please let me know!

Note-some links might contain explicit lyrics, if you're offended by that sort of thing.

Jake Arrieta- 
Luis Ayala- 
Alexi Casilla- stock music
Wei-Yin Chen"Just A Dream" Nelly (2012)
Chris Dickerson- 
Ryan Flaherty"Wild Rover" Dropkick Murphys (O's/S)
Chris Davis- "The Moment We Come Alive" Red
Ryan Flaherty"Wild Rover" Dropkick Murphys (2012)
Miguel Gonzalez- 
J.J. Hardy- "Flower" Moby (2012)
Jason Hammel"Panic Switch" Silversun Pickups (2012)
Tommy Hunter- "That's All She Wrote" T.I. ft. Eminem
Jim Johnson"The Pretender"  Foo Fighters (2012)
Manny Machado- 
Nick Markakis"Deliverance" Bubba Sparxx (2012, & 2011 I think)
Brian Matusz- 
T.J. McFarland- 
Nate McLouth- "Kyrie" Mr. Mister (2012)
Darren O'Day- "Thickfreakness" The Black Keys (2012)
Adam Jones- "Bugatti" Ace Hood ft. Future & Rick Ross
Troy Patton-"Glitter" Ghostland Observatory (2012)
Steve Pearce- 
Nolan Reimold- "Wolfpack Theme Music" NWO (seems to be a wrestling thing) (2012)
Brian Roberts- 
Pedro Strop"Ponte Tu Chaleco" Secreto El Biberon (2012)
Taylor Teagarden- 

Chris Tillman"Kick It In the Sticks" Brantley Gilbert (2012 & 2011)

Matt Wieters"Barefoot Blue Jean Night"  Jake Owen (2012)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring Training Personalized Upgrades

While I've continued to hope that my posting here will get back to the 5-6 days a week level it was once at, it's becoming more and more evident that 1-3 days a week is going to be the norm. I've just had less free time, mainly due to different hours at work, so it is what it is. I have no plans to completely shut things down, so I'll continue to limp along for the time being. But don't worry, I'll still be giving you your occasional Orioles autograph fix!

Up today are a number of the personalized autographs that I was able to get on my Spring Training trip. Many of these guys are current or recent Orioles, but a few of the coaches played for the team many years back. I'm currently on a push to "upgrade" as many of the autographs in my collection as possible to include personalized inscriptions. I've always enjoyed the added touch and since I'm luckily still sitting at 100% for my collection, I have a little bit of freedom to work within the collection for the time being.

My favorite cards that I got signed on my trip were the "Old Man Cards", the cards that my dad custom made for me of many of the Orioles players who have never and/or will never receive O's cards in a major release.  You'll see a number of his cards below. Thanks again dad!

For what it's worth, both Exposito and Teagarden are surprisingly hard autographs to get (maybe it's a catcher thing?!?), while Ryan Flaherty was the best signer I saw amongst the current Major League guys.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Oriole #945- Chris Dickerson

Well, the O's most recent roster move certainly took me by surprise. As I mentioned in my post from the other day, I had infielder Yamaico Navarro pegged as the next player to be called up to the O's to make his Baltimore debut. He had three things going for him as he was already on the 40 man roster, had been on the 25-man roster for a day between B-Rob's injury and Chris Tillman's activation from the DL, and was also the taxi squad player who traveled with the team to Boston on Sunday in case Nolan Reimold needed to be sent to the DL.

But then, almost literally, out of left field, the Orioles called up OF Chris Dickerson to take the roster spot of relief pitcher, Luis Ayala, who was traded to the Braves on Wednesday. It makes sense that the O's wanted to go back to a four man bench, but I still don't entirely understand adding another outfield-only player to essentially take the spot of 2B Brian Roberts. Before Dickerson was called up, the O's already had four outfielders on the roster (Jones, Markakis, Reimold, & McLouth), in addition to at least three other players who can play the outfield as needed (Davis, Flaherty, & Pearce). Don't get me wrong, I think that Dickerson pretty much immediately becomes at least the fourth best OF on the team; fielding wise, I'd say that he's in the ballpark of Jones, Markakis, & McLouth. And from what I understand, his speed is a commodity as well.

Chris made his Orioles debut in the 9th inning of Wednesday's game against the Red Sox, coming into the game as a pinch-runner for Nolan Reimold, who is typically quite fast himself, but was recently battling some hamstring issues. Dickerson ended up scoring a run on Manny Machado's decisive three run HR to give the Orioles the lead, and ultimately, the win.

Chris signed a few cards for me on my Spring Training trip, and this personalized old man card will immediately jump into my collection. I happened to be the only guy around when Chris was signing and he seemed like a nice guy. I attended a ST game the day before he signed for me and he had made a long run to catch a ball near the outfield wall. It looked like a nice play and I brought it up to him. He quickly responded with "Oh, you mean the one I lost for a minute?" I guess that maybe it was more of a lucky than a good catch, but it still looked like he made a nice play from the stands!

He made his first Orioles start Thursday night in right field, and I imagine that he will generally know become the 4th OF on the team, with Reimold shifting to the DH role. But who really knows? I was way off on my last attempt at predicting what this team will do. As long as they keep on winning!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Bob Turley & Grady Hatton

Sadly, two more former Orioles players have passed away since my last unpossible autograph post just two weeks ago. And both of the two that passed away had very kindly signed my TTM autograph requests in recent years. 

"Bullet" Bob Turley was the 1958 AL Cy Young award winner, three-time All-Star, and two-time World Series champion (he was even the '58 World Series MVP). All of those accomplishments occurred with the Yankees, but I'll look past it since it was so many years ago, and he was so nice to sign my card for me. He passed away on March 30, at 82 years old, from complications from liver cancer. 

Grady Hatton, whom I wrote about in depth here, just passed away yesterday from effects of old age. He was 90 years old, so at the very least, it's comforting to know that both of these guys lived long lives, although I don't know how comfortable Bob might have been in recent years.

I'm very appreciative that both of these men took the time to sign TTM requests. And in what has become somewhat of a theme on my blog, I will echo my statements that signatures always mean more to me when they are personalized. It just adds that little extra touch of acknowledgment for me I guess.

After my last unpossible autograph post from a few weeks back, I have finally ramped my TTM requests back up after a long hiatus. I enjoy writing the requests and putting everything together while I watch Orioles games, so they kind of go hand in hand.

I hope that both of these nice men rest in peace. Thank you both for having taken the time for your fans!

To briefly explain the misspelled/made up title of these weekly posts: Every Friday, I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is not very smart, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible." 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Oriole #944- T.J. McFarland

Left-handed relief pitcher T.J. McFarland became the second player to make his debut with the Orioles this season, when he pitched 3.1 innings in Saturday's loss against the Twins. His performance was likely the highlight of the game, as he entered the game in the fourth inning to relieve a struggling Chris Tillman. He struck out five and gave up just a single hit in his Major League debut. It appears as though T.J. is currently filling the role of the long reliever out of the 'pen, but if he continues to perform at that level, he could easily grab a rotation spot from Tillman or Arrieta. 

T.J. was selected by the Orioles from the Indians in last years Rule 5 draft and he beat the odds by making the team out of Spring Training. I had no idea what to expect of him at the MLB level, but his debut was a rousing success, albeit against a relatively weak offensive team. 

After both Alexi Casilla and McFarland have now made their Orioles debuts, there currently are no other players on the 25 man roster who have not appeared in a game with the O's. However, it does seem likely that infielder Yamaico Navarro will play for the O's at some point, since he was briefly a member of the team over the weekend, being called up and sent back down to AAA Norfolk without appearing in a game. He was actually sent to Boston on Sunday/Monday as well as a member of the "taxi squad" due to the possibility that Nolan Reimold would have to head to the DL, but Nolan is OK for now and Yamaico is back at Norfolk. But I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Navarro becomes Oriole #945 at some point. And that kind of sucks because he was one of the very few players who managed to avoid signing anything for me on my Spring Training trip. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Oriole #943- Alexi Casilla & Happy Opening Day in Baltimore

So my preseason predictions were correct (I actually called it originally way back on March 1st), and the first new Orioles debut of the season was none other than Alexi Casilla. He entered yesterday's O's game in the top of the ninth as a pinch-runner for the once-again-injured Brian Roberts, who did something on his hamstring stealing second. While I'm excited for Alexi's debut, I just really wish that it didn't have to come at the expense of B-Rob. I was excited to see him stay healthy this year.

I guess that for the time being, Casilla will split 2B duties with Ryan Flaherty. They are both very capable MLB players, but I hope that B-Rob isn't badly injured and can make it back to the lineup soon.

Oh, and Happy (home) Opening Day, Orioles Fans! Let's hope that the O's can keep up their winning ways after taking two of three in Tampa.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy "Real" Opening Day!

No offense to anyone that roots for any team besides the Orioles, but today is my Opening Day! And to celebrate, here is the O's starting lineup and starting pitcher displayed through autographs! (The Markakis and Pearce personalized signatures were just obtained on my Spring Training trip.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Next New Oriole Prediction (I know that you've been holding your breath)

(So I've finally scanned (some) of the autographs that I got on my Spring Training trip and will be showing them off in the coming weeks. Today I'm going to use a few to show my final prediction of the player who I think will become Oriole #943. And I'm pretty excited that two of my dad's cards are some of the first that I'm showing here.)

Exactly a month ago today, I wrote a post about who I thought would be the next player to debut for the Orioles once the season started. At that time, my "short" list was Jair Jurrjens, Travis Ishikawa, Chris Dickerson, Conor Jackson, Trayvon Robinson, Russ Canzler, Danny Valencia, and Alexi Casilla. (I know that's not exactly a short list but the Orioles had like 60 guys in camp, so it was all relative.)

Anyway, at that point, I selected Alex Casilla as the player who was most likely to be the first new player to debut for the O's this season. And I think I'm actually going to stick to that prediction since I see Casilla coming in as a late inning defensive replacement in one of the first few games.

The other possibility at this point is really left-handed relief pitcher and Rule 5 pick from the Indians, T.J. McFarland, the only other new player to make the O's Opening Day roster. Back when I made my original newest Oriole predictions, he was struggling and had a few bad outings in a row, so I didn't see how he would break camp with the big league club, yet there he is in Tampa. After his stretch of bad outings someone tinkered with his arm slot (I think) and he turned things around and started mowing down the competition.

McFarland could very easily debut before Casilla, since you never really know when relievers will be needed, but I'm going to stand by my original prediction anyway. And since the Orioles need a fifth starter on Saturday, there is an outside shot that McFarland somehow never does make it into a game for the O's after all.

I want to wrap this post up by again thanking my dad for his awesome work on these cards, and my mom and dad for all of their help getting autographs during my week with them in Florida. And I have to fess up that my dad got that Casilla card signed since Alexi was one of the few players who eluded me during my time in Sarasota and my parents were staying an extra week. Nice work getting it done old man!