Thursday, March 24, 2016

Graphing at Minor League Camp is Hard Without a Roster

One of the first mornings on my Spring Training trip was spent at the Orioles Minor League Spring Training complex at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota. I spent a vast majority of the morning watching large groups of players walk past me, without asking hardly any to stop and sign. Why is that, might you ask? Well, there was a clue in the title of the post. 

You see, I didn't have a minor league roster as it hadn't been released yet, and I was left looking at players with only number of their backs pass by me. There were a select few that I could recognize, but not nearly as many as in past years when I had the time to attend more minor league games to get an idea of what the guys looked like. 

Luckily, I was able to pick out most of the coaches and instructors that were around, so was able to get some autographs out of the experience. 

Long time MLB infielder Dave Anderson returned to the Orioles organization this year after a one year absence. As far as I can recall, he is once again serving as the Orioles minor league infield coordinator.

Brian Graham has been the Orioles Director of Player Development for the past four seasons and is an ever present site around Twin Lakes.

Former MLB catcher Don Werner has been the Orioles minor league catching instructor for most of the past decade. He recently battled cancer and came out on top so it's great to see him looking strong once again.

 Another long-time MLB player, Dave Schmidt pitched in the major leagues for 12 years. He has been the O's minor league pitching coordinator for as long as I can recall and is always a good signer.

Ryan Minor is the nicest guy you will come across, and seems to always have time for the fans, signing autographs, asking how they are doing, or just generally being and all around good guy. 


Luckily, I read something before my trip about Hee Seop Choi being around the Orioles minor league camp as part of some sort of Korean baseball coaching exchange program. I don't really know any details about it, but Hee Seop was there, and kindly signed my cards.

As I mentioned at the top, there were a few players that I recognized in addition to the coaches. So at least I got some active player autographs as well.

Michael has been in and out of the Orioles organization over the past 2-3 seasons so he was a familiar face.

Josh Hart was another guy who I have seen play enough to have picked him out of the crowd.

Cory Jones was actually the only guy who I "allowed" my dad to ask who he was since he was walking alone and not in much of a hurry. Honestly, I probably could have gotten another 10-15 autographs by asking players who they were, but it's not my thing. I take pride in my facial recognition skills!

Quincy was a big part of the 2015 Baysox Championship team so I picked him out too.

Adrian was a third round pick a couple years back so I have seen enough cards of him to pick him out.

I got lucky with Tucker and just happened to be flipping past his card as he walked past me. 

D.J. is a very distinctive looking guy. I had never seen him play but I described his look to another fan as being built like a bull. He's listed at 6 feet tall, 230 pounds. I heard some horror stories between him and the fans in the past, but he was nice enough to me.


adiddle said...

You are right about DJ. On this autograph site I belong to I gave one of the members some of the cards from Baysox to get signed for me that I did not get last year which was no problem but when I mentioned DJ he refused and said he is to hard. Glad you were able to get him.

zman40 said...

Nice work on Choi!