By Steve Uhlmann
May 24, 2016 may be just another square on the calendar for most people, but for former Shorebirds Ty Kelly and Ashur Tolliver, it will be impossible to forget.
It was the day that they got the call to the majors for the first time in their careers, ending a long journey through the minors for both players.
Kelly, who now plays for the New York Mets, got the start at third base in Washington against the Nationals. While he went 0-for-4, there’s no denying how happy he was to finally reach The Show in his eighth professional season.
Kelly played two seasons for Delmarva in 2010 and 2011, where he appeared in 229 games and hit .266 with eight home runs.
Tolliver was a teammate of Kelly on that 2011 squad, where he appeared in 24 games and posted a 2.27 ERA. His career was in jeopardy once he missed all of 2012 with an injury, but he has battled back and earned the call to the O’s by skipping Triple-A.
He finally got his chance to make his MLB debut on May 26 with a relief appearance against the Houston Astros. He struck out the first batter he faced and went 1.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
Tolliver’s debut brings the total of Shorebirds to appear in the Majors to 91.
Most Shorebirds fans will tell you that there’s nothing like a Saturday game at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
In an effort to make our most popular day of the week an even better value for fans, the Shorebirds are proud to announce the new Saturdays at the Fun Zone program that will begin on April 16 outside of the stadium from 5-7 p.m.
Some of the events planned include:
Autograph station featuring select Shorebirds players (5-6 p.m.)
Those who arrive early for Saturday games will have the chance to meet select Shorebirds players outside of the stadium and get autographs.
Inflatables and Activities
Our friends at Barton’s will provide have number of inflatables for kids and adults alike to enjoy while testing their skills at various sports. Check them out for yourself.
There will also be a number of things to do from our partners including Pepsi, Pohanka of Salisbury and more. The lineup will always be changing, so come back every Saturday for a new batch of ways to kick the night off right.
You’ll also be able to shop for new Shorebirds merchandise at our portable Flock Shop.
Once everyone is prepared for fun, don’t forget the games at 7:05 and the postgame Q105 fireworks shows. The first one scheduled for April 16 is a doozy and is presented by the Delaware State Education Association.
For more information, contact the Shorebirds at 410-219-3112. A full list of our Saturday games can be found HERE.
The moment is upon us.
The Shorebirds want to get our loyal fans more involved in making the game experience better. One of those initiatives has been coming up with a new home run song for the 2016 season.
Earlier, we took suggestions on Facebook and Twitter for nominees. We’ve narrowed the field down to four songs that were named by fans or Shorebirds staff members. They are:
The Whip – Locksley
Chelsea Dagger –The Fratellis
Gone – Montgomery Gentry
Rock & Roll Part 2 (The Hey Song) – Gary Glitter
Vote below, and you’ll be entered to win two FREE Opening Night tickets. Voting will end at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30.
By Steve Uhlmann
Exactly one month from today, the Shorebirds will embark on the 2016 season. Kind of hard to believe, isn’t it?
March 7 is an important date on the calendar, as it is the official report day for all Orioles minor league players. Many have already arrived, but with the entire organization now in Sarasota, we’ll start to get the picture of who could be playing for each team this season.
Let’s get you caught up on some happenings from the first week of Spring Training.
The most frequent question we get this time of year is ‘who the heck is going to be on the Shorebirds’ roster this year?’
While it’s still too early to tell, we have seen some good signs from potential Delmarva players.
On March 5, shortstop prospect Ryan Mountcastle got in the nightcap of the Orioles’ split-squad game, where he scored a run. D.J. Stewart, who was Baltimore’s top pick in the 2015 draft, also appeared in the game.
Both prospects rank in the Top 10 of the Orioles’ farm system according to a number of publications, and there is a good chance that both could start 2016 with the Shorebirds. Either way, it’s great to see two young prospects regarded highly enough to see some time with the big league club early in spring.
Bundy and Harvey Back in Command
There is no doubt that the biggest story for the O’s in the beginning of spring training has been the health of Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. Both of these former Shorebirds are in need of bouncing back after injury-plagued seasons in 2015.
Bundy has already made two appearances with the Orioles, where he has allowed one run in two innings while striking out two. What is more encouraging is that he has been throwing at full velocity.
Harvey made his spring debut on March 3, where he registered a strikeout in a scoreless inning against the Rays. Like Bundy, his arm appears to be healthy.
Hunter Harvey fastball clocked at 96 mph on stadium radar gun #orioles
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) March 3, 2016
Shorebirds fans know all too well what potential this pair has, and it appears that both are on track to get back in the saddle this summer.
Going with the Flo
Pedro Florimon is no stranger to Shorebirds fans. Heck, he still has his own fan club.
He enters 2016 trying to crack the Pittsburgh Pirates’ roster for the second straight year, and he is certainly helping his cause with a hot start. He knocked in five runs over the weekend, and he is hitting .444 (4-for-9) as of March 7.
It will be interesting to follow Florimon’s progress the rest of March and see if he can make the cut with the Pirates.
That’s all for this edition of the Route 50 Rundown. Stay tuned to the Shorebirds on social media, as we’ll be sure to keep sharing updates from Florida.
By Steve Uhlmann
The Delmarva Shorebirds rang in the new year with three community events to get 2016 started right.
First, Sherman braved the cold on New Year’s Day to take a quick dip in the ocean for a great cause. Then, the Shorebirds kicked off their annual Hit the Books program in area schools. The month then ended with a successful Hot Stove Banquet to benefit the Shorebirds Community Fund and United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore.
Sherman ‘Swims’ For A Cause
In what has become a tradition for Sherman on New Year’s Day, he joined over 1,000 brave souls in Ocean City, Md. for Atlantic General Hospital’s 22nd annual Penguin Swim. While he didn’t get as wet as most people there, he still supported those who got in the frigid water despite above-average temperatures.
The event raised a record $104,000 for the hospital.
Hit The Books Starts In Style
The Shorebirds, Sherman and Dr. James M. Crouse at The Brace Place made a trip to Sudlersville Middle School to surprise Aliyah Jones as the winner of the Shorebirds’ Hit the Books Bookmark Design Contest. You can read a full recap of the event HERE.
With the bookmarks distributed, over 50,000 students are now taking part in this program that will reward those who read the required number of books with free Shorebirds tickets. We can’t wait to have all of the students back at the park in April and May.
Crank Up The Heat
The end of January saw the start of the countdown to Opening Day with a successful Hot Stove Banquet. Our recap and photo gallery tell the story of what was a fun night to beat the winter blues and start thinking spring.
The event raised a boatload of money for the Shorebirds Community Fund and the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, and we would like to thank everyone for their generosity.
–The Shorebirds fulfilled 25 donation requests in January. If you would like to request a donation for your non-profit organization, visit the donation section of our website.
-Nearly 600 folks have signed up for our Coastal Home Care Silver Sluggers ticket package. This affordable ticket plan for seniors ages 55 and up is still available, but space is going fast. Visit the Silver Sluggers page for more information.
February will be full of school appearances to promote Hit the Books and keep local children on track to complete their reading goals. We’ve also got some other great community initiatives in the works that will help us continue to give back in more ways than ever.
Previous Community Recaps:
By Steve Uhlmann
Greetings, Shorebirds Nation!
We hope everyone has recovered from the recent storm and is back to thinking baseball. While it’s hard to believe, Tuesday marks just 72 days until Opening Day.
We here at the Shorebirds are trying some new things in 2016 to bring our fans from all over closer to the team, and we are proud to unveil some initiatives on social media that will do just that.
First, it’s time to unveil our hashtag for 2016. Drum roll please…
So, what’s the reasoning behind #FlyTogether?
When you think about it, Delmarva is a very unique place compared to other cities with baseball teams. We come from many different towns in an area that consists of three states, but we are still one community…one that will #FlyTogether behind our love of baseball and the Shorebirds.
We hope that you will join us by using the hashtag so we can come together on social media and share our experiences rooting for the ‘Birds.
We’ve also thrown our hat into the Snapchat ring! Add us at ‘shorebirdsmilb’. We can’t wait to give you behind the scenes access like never before.
We’ve got some other bells and whistles for our existing social media accounts that we’ll be rolling out as well over the next few weeks, especially with our Hot Stove Banquet on Jan. 28.
Until then, stay tuned and keep thinking spring.
By Steve Uhlmann
While the weather outside is anything but frightful right now, the holiday season is upon us.
The Shorebirds, along with our friends at Sherwood of Salisbury, will be all over the Delmarva Peninsula in the coming weeks at local Christmas parades. Sherman has been busy getting in shape for all of the walking and high-fives he’ll be giving out, and he can’t wait to see all of you celebrating the season.
The full list of parades that the team will be participating is below.
Pocomoke: Monday, Nov. 30
Georgetown: Thursday, Dec. 3
Berlin: Thursday, Dec. 3
Crisfield: Friday, Dec. 4
Ocean City: Saturday, Dec. 5
Delmar: Saturday, Dec. 5
Cambridge: Saturday, Dec. 5
Salisbury: Sunday, Dec. 6
Snow Hill: Monday, Dec. 7
Dagsboro: Thursday, Dec. 10
The Shorebirds front office will also be volunteering in Mountaire Farms’ annual Thanksgiving for Thousands on Nov. 23. This program provides a holiday meal to nearly 50,000 individuals in need across Delmarva.
If that wasn’t enough holiday cheer for you, then come out for the Shorebirds’ annual Cookies with Claus on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Santa and Sherman will both be there along with plenty of activities for kids to enjoy.
Minor Gets a Major Shoutout
If you happened to be watching SportsCenter on Nov. 18, you may have heard Shorebirds skipper Ryan Minor mentioned as a part of a knowledge bomb dropped by anchor Chris McKendry.
The funny thing was that the conversation wasn’t even about baseball. A panel was discussing the shoes that Peyton Manning’s successor would have to fill when the discussion turned toward the heirs to legendary players in other sports. The clip is below.
Once the holidays are over and we flip the calendar to 2016, we can start to countdown to baseball activities. Here are the key dates in preparation of 2016.
February 18: Pitchers and Catchers Report
February 23: Position Players Report
March 1: First Grapefruit League Game
Until then, keep thinking spring. It’ll be here before you know it.
While the season has been over for a couple months now, the Shorebirds are still very active in the community. Click the picture below to get a view of all the different events Sherman and the Shorebirds front office attended in the past month.
Stay tuned, as we have a whole bunch of community appearances on tap in the coming weeks!
By Steve Uhlmann
The structure of the South Atlantic League schedule gives divisional foes plenty of time to get to know one another.
The Shorebirds played some opponents in the Northern Division 20+ times during the 2015 season, which leaves lots of time to get used to the competition. Trends emerge, and it becomes clear that some players simply own another team.
For example, let’s take a look at how Delmarva pitcher Josh Walker has fared against the Lakewood BlueClaws this year.
He doesn’t need any papers, because the stats speak for themselves. He owns Lakewood.
Walker isn’t the only Shorebirds player to have success against our rivals from the Jersey Shore. The trio of Yermin Mercedes, along with all-stars Steve Wilkerson and Jomar Reyes, have feasted on BlueClaws pitching all season.
In 11 games against Lakewood this season, Mercedes has posted a .350 average along with three homers and 12 RBIs. Wilkerson, meanwhile, has hit .351 in 10 contests against the BlueClaws while Reyes has slashed an impressive .389/.436/.639 in as many games.
After seeing stats like that, it’s no wonder why Delmarva has seen so much success against Lakewood in 2015.
There are other teams that Delmarva players have feasted on this year. Remember T.J. Olesczuk’s insane Shorebirds debut against Kannapolis? He’s hit .394 in eight games against the Intimidators with one home run and 11 RBIs while posting a 1.051 OPS.
A pair of pitchers have dominated the Greensboro Grasshoppers throughout 2015. Brian Gonzalez has gone 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA in five starts against the ‘Hoppers along with 23 strikeouts. Recent Frederick call-up John Means also went 2-0 in three starts with a 1.80 ERA.
With the season wrapping up, it’ll be interesting to see if these trends continue as these players move up through the Minors in the coming years.
By Steve Uhlmann
Ask anybody in baseball what the toughest position to play is, and the near-unanimous answer will be catcher.
Besides having to carefully call pitches and be familiar with every pitcher on a staff, they often take a beating behind the plate as well.
Despite being just 20 years old, former Shorebird Chance Sisco has already taken his fair share of bumps and bruises, but it hasn’t slowed him down. As of August 3, Sisco is hitting .306 with three home runs for High-A Frederick in 2015.
The key to Sisco’s success has been his ability to take care of himself.
“I spend a lot of time in the trainer’s room,” Sisco said. “As a catcher you get to know your body, what it can take and what it can’t take. From there, you learn what you need to do to keep your body in shape to do the job.”
Even Sisco’s veteran-type ability to take care of himself couldn’t keep him off the disabled list with a fractured finger back in April.
An injury like that could have easily derailed a young player’s season, but missing a month was no problem for Chance. He has come back stronger, and is catching more games than ever.
“Coming in I wanted this to be a year where I caught more games and improved at the position,” he said. “There were some setbacks there early, but I’ve just stayed focused and worked hard at overcoming those obstacles.”
Sisco entered the season as the No. 4 prospect in the entire Orioles’ system after winning the South Atlantic League batting title with Delmarva in 2014. The heighted expectations (which were already high heading into the season) could rattle a player so young, but not Sisco.
“I haven’t thought of thought of what hype people put on me,” Sisco explained. “I don’t need that extra pressure on myself. When you do that, you start thinking too much and the mistakes follow.”
A number of fellow Shorebirds standouts from 2014 are with Sisco in Frederick this year, which has provided a great experience. The familiarity between pitchers and catcher have led to an easy transition at a higher level.
“It helps knowing what all of the guys throw and go through out in the field,” Sisco said. “The communication has been smooth. We don’t have to have a lot of mound visits. We know what we’re doing out there.”
Sisco says that he is still learning plenty each and every day. He has found a great mentor in Frederick manager Orlando Gomez, who is a former catcher.
With all of this going for him, it appears that Sisco is ready to block whatever curveballs are thrown his way during his rise through the farm system.