April 2009

Rovers in Town

This week has been a busy one for the players.  Many of the Baltimore Orioles roving instructions are in town here in Salisbury.   In my experience, it is quite unusual that this many are in town at one time.

  • Joe Hogarty (MILB Strength and Conditioning Coordinator)
  • Alex Arias (MILB Infield Instructor)
  • Don Werner (MILB Catching Instructor)
  • Denny Walling (MILB Roving Hitting Instructor)
  • David Schmidt (MILB Pitching Coordinator)

All five were in town during this weeks homestand.  The roving instructors basically travel to all of the minor league affiliates to help the coaching staff (Orlando, Blaine and Ryan) in their specific area of expertise. 

Most of the rovers have big league playing experience.  For example, Alex Arias played in 775 games over 11 big league seasons with five different teams.  Don Werner played in seven big league seasons.  He actually caught for an injured Johnny Bench on June 16, 1978 when Tom Seaver tossed a no-hitter against St. Louis.  Dave Schmidt pitched for the Orioles between 87-89 and compiled a record of 28-23.

Most of the time when the rovers come into town, the players do extra work in the rovers area.  For example, if Dave Schmidt is in town, the pitchers do extra infield work or extra work in the bullpen. 

The Orioles have a total of nine roving instructors/coordinators who travel around the farm system.  Most of the time they come make appearances in the beginning of the season, middle of the season and towards the end of the year.

Just thought you all may be interested in learing about the rovers.  There are a lot of individuals who are apart of the process in getting these guys big league ready.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

Remember This?…

I’m not just randomly putting this up here to depress Orioles fans.  There is actually a connection.  The man in the Orioles uniform who is leaping up to try and catch the baseball is Tony Tarasco, who is now the hitting coach for the Hagerstown Suns (the opponent tonight for the Shorebirds).  Can you believe this was game 1 of the 1996 ALCS.  I didn’t think it was already 13 years since that happened.  Jeffrey Maier was the 12-year old who took the ball away from Tarasco.  The Yankees went off to win the series 4 games to one.

Maier interestingly enough went on to have a great college baseball career at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.  He is actually the all-time hits leader.

Tarasco, now 38 years old, has been in the Nationals organization for four years.  This is his second season as the hitting coach for Hagerstown.  Prior to that he was in the same role with Vermont (NYPL).  Tarasco was a career .240 hitter in eight big league seasons.


Visit to Chef Bob

I was recently asked what was served on the third level at Arthur Perdue Stadium in the Birds Eye Cafe.  When you get to the stadium, ride the elevator to the 3rd floor and go right.

I decide to go meet Chef Bob and see what he has cooking tonight.  What a nice guy and a great chef from what I hear.

Here are tonight’s specials:

  • Western Salad with Fresh Fruit, Red Onion, Toasted Pecans and Honey Butter Milk
  • Chicken Parmesan Sandwich
  • Country Fried Chicken Sandwich
  • Crab Cake Sandwich
  • Turkey Club Sandwich
  • Vegetarian Sub
  • Hawaiian (grilled Ham topped with melted swiss cheese)

The items that are always up on the third floor include: The Sherman Burger, Chicken Ranch Sandwich (Brian Patey, Marketing- had that last night and said it was awesome), Crab Dip, Shrimp Salad and Chris Bitter’s (GM) favorite Scrapple Sandwich.

Here’s what Chef Bob told me to look out for this season:

  • Veggie Wraps
  • Variety of Salads
  • Pasta Night
  • Honey Chicken Sandwich

And he also wants to feature hot dogs from different ballparks here at Arthur Perdue.  For example, the Yankee Dog or Fenway Dog.  He still has to do some research.  I’ll keep you posted.  That would probably be a big hit.

The portions are huge up on the third floor.  Nick Hearn says the Crab Dip is tasty (Nick’s our press box guru this year by the way).  Patey’s ranch chicken sandwich was huge (probably double a normal sized ballpark chicken sandwich).

I think I might put Chef Bob to the test today and get something.  I’m pretty hungry.

Until next time – Go Shorebirds!




Who Would Win?

Good afternoon from sunny Arthur Perdue Stadium.

I have been pondering this question since opening day.  Who would win in a foot race up the first base line?  Xavier Avery or Kyle Hudson.

Regardless, the Shorebirds certainly have two of the fastest outfielders in all of the South Atlantic League.  But I am still very curious. 

Yesterday, I actually began to dig into the answer.  I interviewed Kyle for the Delaware Electric Co-ops pregame show last night.  At first, he wouldn’t give me a definitive answer. Then, at the end, I asked him again and he said he would win.  The interview is available here by the way.

I’ll get Xavier’s opinion soon.

Hopefully I can get them to race one of the days so we can put the question to bed.

But for now, what do you think?

Until next time – Go Shorebirds!

An Old Friend

Even though it seems like there are so many baseball teams, the baseball community is smaller than you would think.  Two plus years ago when I was the broadcaster for the Fayetteville SwampDogs (Coastal Plain League), Mike Valadez was the star catcher.  Now, he is the catcher for the Lake County Captains.  He was drafted a couple years ago in the 26th round by the Indians.  He actually left the SwampDogs towards the end of the season when he signed with the Indians.

Today, when I walked into the clubhouse to get the Captains lineup, I had a chance to talk to Mike for 10 minutes and catch up.  Young man has a great head on his shoulders and I hope that he is able to rise up the system.  Just funny to see him again at a different level.

On a side note, the Captains probable was promoted to Kinston (Advanced-A) this afternoon.  Therefore all the game notes and stat packs are wrong (this is not a first and it won’t be the last time the starter is promoted in the afternoon prior to his start).  Just a part of Minor League Baseball.  More than likely, Miller will fly to Kinston, North Carolina- then drive back to Eastlake, Ohio to get his belongings and then drive back to Kinston (It depends on if this is a permanent promotion or just a spot start).

Best weather day of the season today by far!

Until next time- Go Shorebirds!

Home Sweet Home

Due to the rain out yesterday in Hagerstown, we arrived home in Salisbury at 7:00 o’clock!  What a blessing for everybody.  If the game was played, we probably don’t get in until 2:00 in the morning (Hagerstown is one of the closer trips too).  I’m not saying I was routing for a rain out, but it is sure nice to arrive back at normal people hours. 

Ryan Minor gave me two sandwiches on the bus last night (awesome).  Turkey sandwich with ketchup was a little odd but it tasted good and I was starving.   

One of the few bad things about arriving home is realizing that you have seven days worth of laundry to take care of.  Don’t forget that we start a seven-game home stand today, so there is not a whole lot of time to take care of that issue.  

It is a beautiful day on the Eastern Shore by the way.  Last night when we arrived it was pouring/nasty and the tarp was on the field.  A complete reversal as far as the weather is concerned. 

Rick Dempsey is going to be here tonight (1983 WS MVP).  Maybe I’ll try and catch up with him for an interview to post on “Around the Bases”.   

Time to finish printing stat packs and game notes for coaches/media/fans.

Until next time, Go Shorebirds!

Mahoney Update and More Rain

For those that were not listening to the game last night, Joe Mahoney was replaced in the fifth inning after taking a hard ground ball off his left (throwing) hand.  He was taken to the hospital for X-rays right after the game and there is good news to report.  Nothing is broken or fractured, it is a contusion (essentially a painful bruise).  If you want to find out more about a contusion, click here. Excellent news as Mahoney is off to a solid start this year. 

Next piece of news is bad.  It has been raining all day today (tarp has been on the field) but it is supposed to continue.  According to Ryan Mock (Hagerstown’s radio guy), a decision will be made around 4:30.  I will do my best to keep you posted, although if they decide to postpone it, I will have to hurry and pack my stuff up so the bus doesn’t depart without me.  It is general rule that the radio guy is the dead last person that the bus will wait on.  There are many stories that back that up.  I think it is pretty fair too.  I mean we are the only people on the bus not employed by the Orioles (I guess the bus driver isn’t either). 

Bus went to the mall today at 11:00.  Four rooms were kept for those that wanted to stay behind.  I just walked to the stadium and did the game notes and some other things.  It is only about a 10 minute walk from the stadium to the field.  Most of players have been walking back after the game so they don’t have to wait for the bus.

Hope to see many of you tomorrow at Arthur Perdue Stadium,

Until then, Go Shorebirds!


Press Box View at Municipal

I talked about this on the broadcast last night and I wanted to throw in a picture of the ballpark so you could actually see what I was saying (I will try and take one tonight from the pressbox so you get a better look).  The pressbox is obviously the area with the four open windows on top of the stands.  I am set up at the first window on the right.  You see how the pressbox is so close to the action.  What a great angle to watch the game.  You’re  almost looking straight down at the plate.  It is great for deciphering pitch speed and type.


Legends Pass and Day 2

I talked about it for a second on last night’s broadcast but it is worth mentioning again.  Legendary Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas passed away yesterday.  I actually worked with his son (Todd Kalas) while at ISP Sports.  I was the Studio Host for USF Basketball and Todd was the color commentator.  Todd was a great guy (sounded just like his dad) and obviously the life of Harry Kalas has been well documented over the last 24 hours. 

My dad made me aware yesterday that Mark Fidrych “The Bird” also passed away.  Here is an article that pays respect to Fidrych in the New York Times. Click Here

It’s a really cold a miserable day outside today in Hagerstown.  Forecast is calling for rain starting at 4:00 o’clock and pouring down all throughout the night. 

Position players went to the gym at 9:30 this morning.  By the way, the Orioles require pitchers (starters and relievers) to lift weights in the clubhouse following an outing. 

Since we have to check out at 11:00 tomorrow and the game is not until 6:35, the bus is taking everyone to the mall here in Hagerstown.  A little diversion from the normal routine is nice. 

I think we are going to get back into Salisbury at around 2:00 AM (probably after that, but let’s be optimistic).  Then, of course opening night is Thursday.  I’ve been at two opening nights (Lakewood and Hagerstown) and both teams have done a nice job.  Obviously hiccups here and there but you can’t avoid those.

I woke up at 6:30 am today for some reason so time to take a quick nap.  Bus at 3:30 to the park today.

Go Shorebirds!


Greetings From Hagerstown

It took us a little bit longer than expected to get into Hagerstown from Lakewood.  I’d say five hours or so due to traffic as we got towards 95 and the DC area.  Anyway, no big deal, we arrived safely and the first bus arrived at Municipal Stadium (home of the Suns) just about 30 minutes ago.

Another nice hotel by the way but really oddly designed.  If it wasn’t for some of the guys that had been there before, it may have taken some of us five minutes to find our rooms.

Tonight starting pitcher is Oliver Drake (just added to the roster).  What an interesting story he is.  Read an article that I found written about Drake.  Click Here

Going to be an interesting view of the ball field tonight.  We are up high in the press box but almost looking straight down at the plate.  It reminds me of the view for the radio/tv broadcasters at Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke).

Oh, a lot more places to eat around here by the way.  Quiznos, chinese buffet and some other places.  Breakfast in the hotel was pretty good too.  Some frosted flakes and yogurt for me today.

Enjoy the game tonight!