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August 8, 2011

News, notes and opinions

The Orioles have so many issues right now that this is perhaps foolish to bring up, but I will anyway after Toronto Blue Jays lefty Ricky Romero dominated them over eight innings yesterday. Until the Orioles prove that they can at least occasionally knock around some of the better pitchers in the American League East, it will be impossible for the division’s heavyweights to take them too seriously. Guys like CC Sabathia and Jon Lester are considered among the best pitchers in the league for a reason, but their numbers against the Orioles are absurd. Even the league’s best pitchers have bad days. They just never seem to come against the Orioles, which obviously speaks to the organization’s ongoing offensive issues. Consider these career numbers against the Orioles from some of the top starters in the division this year: Sabathia (16-2, 2.74 ERA), A.J. Burnett (12-5, 4.53), Bartolo Colon (11-7, 3.31), Lester (14-0, 2.33), John Lackey (11-4, 2.89), Josh Beckett (7-3, 3.76), Romero (6-3, 3.10), Brett Cecil (3-0, 2.19), David Price (4-1, 2.98), James Shields (8-5, 3.45) and Jeremy Hellickson (3-1, 2.63). Again, these guys aren’t just picking on the Orioles as manager Buck Showalter likes to say. But sooner or later, the Orioles are going to have to stand up to some of these guys and prove that they can at least be a threat.

Speaking of Romero’s dominance against the Orioles, he has allowed eight earned runs in 32 innings against them this season. Mark Reynolds has driven in six of those eight runs.

Here’s a statistic that I’m guessing you wouldn’t have even believed if it was May never mind August: The team’s current leader in on-base percentage among regulars (or at least semi-regulars) is infielder Robert Andino who is getting on at a .343 clip. This is no disrespect at all to Andino, who is one of only a precious few Orioles this season who has actually exceeded expectations. It is, however, quite alarming that a player who began the season as the team’s utility infielder leads in this category.

The scary part about the Orioles being 4-8 against the Blue Jays this season is the fact that they have contained American League home run leader Jose Bautista, who absolutely destroyed them last year. In 18 games against the Orioles last season, Bautista went 20-for-67 (.299) with six doubles, one triple, nine homers, 19 RBIs and 10 walks. This year, he is 7-for-41 (.171) with one double, zero homers, six RBIs, 10 walks and 10 strikeouts in 12 games.

We’ve gotten plenty of questions about Kevin Millwood so it’s worth addressing. I expect the Orioles front office to at least internally discuss the possibility of adding the veteran, who was granted his release by the Boston Red Sox yesterday. Don’t misunderstand, a reunion would still surprise me, but I wouldn’t rule anything out, not after the Orioles last week plucked Jo-Jo Reyes off the waiver wire and plan to start him tomorrow night.

The Orioles obviously hope is that the more experience young third baseman Josh Bell gets, the more comfortable he’ll be. However, Bell still is a phase where the game appears to be moving entirely too fast for him. The two strikeouts yesterday didn't help, but his error on Rajai Davis’ groundball in the third inning ultimately cost the Orioles two runs on a play that was as routine as it gets. This was a big year for Bell and it’s been largely a disappointing one.

In case you are wondering, former Oriole reliever Koji Uehara has already made four appearances for the Texas Rangers, allowing one run and one hit - a Ryan Raburn homer – while striking out five over 3 1/3 innings. Derrek Lee, meanwhile, is 3-for-10 with two homers and three RBIs in three games for the spiraling Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s missed four straight games with a bruised left hand.

Kudos to Double-A Bowie second baseman Greg Miclat who set a franchise record with four stolen bases in the Baysox 5-3 victory over New Hampshire Sunday. Miclat has 46 stolen bases in 48 attempts on the season, the third most any Bowie player has stolen in a season. Curtis Goodwin holds the record with 59 thefts in 1994. I’ve only seen Miclat play a couple of times in person, but he left a good impression on me last year when I went to Prince George’s Stadium for one of Brian Roberts’ rehab games. Miclat was constantly talking to Roberts and picking his brain. Baserunning was one of the prominent topics. The kid has obviously worked really hard at it.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 6:30 AM | | Comments (33)


What amazes me is every player who passes through this franchise regresses in a total freefall. If by the graces of god Prince Fielder ends up here, he'll probably have one more good year, then fall off the map like his father did. The Orioles are like a massive black hole and sucks the life out of any talented player that passes through here. Figuratively speaking, this ship is past the point of needing to be turned around - it needs to be blown to bits and redesigned and rebuild by completely different engineers

Josh Bell needs to play and get more comfortable all right--at double-A. I'm a competitive chess player. I learn the most when I'm playing at or a little above my own level. Throw me in against players rated 400 above me, and their level of play is so different from my own that I'll never really understand what happened. I believe that system-wide, the O's have been promoting players in order to fill needs, not because the player has conquered one level and needs to move on. We need to put about 150 players in uniform every day, and I don't know what the answer is if we just don't have them. It's just sad to see players who thrown into situations where they have no chance to learn and improve.

Andy Macphail has wined and lamented that the Orioles can't compete in the AL East. For the next 7 games, let's see if his boys can hammer the AL Central, where I'm sure Andy would like to see his team play. As a matter of fact, the Orioles have 17 straight games against AL Central and AL West opponents, before rounding out their season largely against the dreaded AL East.

I think MLB teams are pretty much aligned where they should be from a travel and cost standpoint. No doubt the unbalanced schedule was created partly for that reason, and to give teams more opportunities to man up against direct opponents. Realignment just to bail out bad organizations like the Orioles is a cop out.

The Orioles would strike much fear in a good sand lot team.Gladdie is absolutely worthless. Reinhold is questionable and the list goes on and on. I'll still hold with the idea that the coaches are a waste. When every body seems to strike out as the "O's" do and almost your entire pitching staff develops arm trouble, I don't think it is rocket science to figure out the reasons.

Forget Bautista...the O's will be happy to see Encarnacion leave. We seem to be the only team he rips at will.

Jeff, when do you think people will give Jones a break? I understand he still whiffs on the occasional bad breaking ball, but not nearly as much as he used to. I've seen him foul off some tough sliders low and away or serve them into left field. Yet everytime he strikes out on one, everyone says "See? What a terrible swing. Adam hasn't changed." I guarantee even the Mighty Pujols strikes out on the occasional slider low and away.

The guy has statistically gotten better every year of his career and with a solid last two months, he could realistically end up with a .300, 30 HR, 100 RBI season. How anyone can find fault with that is beyond me.

Jeff Z's reply: Couldn't agree more about Jones.He's really the one main guy on the team that has shown consistent offensive improvement from what they did last year for the O's. Wieters and Markakis sure as heck haven't. I think the organization is thrilled about the strides that he has made.

I don't see why the O's don't give Mike Ballard a shot to get some starts down the stretch. He has to be a better option than a guy that the Jays have released. His stats in Bowie are absurd (K ing more than a batter per inning, walking fewer than 1 batter per 9). Plus he is left handed.

At least we are guaranteed the #2 pick. The team is 3 years away, should be focused on finding a deal for Jones this offseason, his value will never be higher. I also wonder whether Mark Reynolds could be moved, wouldn't the Rangers be at least mildly interested with Beltre gone for a month and a 1 game lead in the west? One great prospect for Reynolds? Team has to get younger and cheaper, no time like the present.

Bell has had 20 ab. So what can you expect. Maybe if the vets would start hitting. Bell would not stand out so much.

Jeff Z's reply: Agreed, but look at his numbers at Norfolk. 100 K's in 347 at-bats. .254 average, .310 on-base, ton of errors. Not been a good season any way you look at it.

NEWS: The O's at 44-67, have the worst record in the AL, and are 3.5 games behind the 2nd worst team, the KC Royals.

NOTES: PA has been listed once again as the worst owner in baseball by SI, and AM has now lost more games than any exec for the past 21 years.

OPINION: Unless PA sells the team, even to an out of towner who takes the team with them, the O's will never be competitive again.

FACT: See news, notes and opinion.

Nice reporting, Jeff.
This organization has made the team irrelevant to summer in Maryland. Unrelenting failure, featuring offensive impotence and shoddy pitching, gets old after 14 years. Why would anyone pay to watch it?

Here's how you beat the O's,,,throw them balls, they will hack away & swing at bad balls...they dont make opposing pitchers work & throw strikes. This is the scouting report on them

OK Jeff...I'll stop slamming Jones and just mutter to myself.


Jeff Z's reply: You can slam whoever and whatever you want, Joe. I don't necessarily have to agree with everything you say. You're the least of my worries on here.

Hi, I'm a Blue Jays fan; have been for 20 years. I just wanted to say to everyone in Baltimore that I am deeply impressed by the quality of your baseball news coverage, the thoughtfulness, candor and humor of the reporting. I look forward to when the Jays play the O's just to read the coverage and to listen to Jim Palmer, who's so knowledgeable.

I envy you Camden Yard - it's absolutely stunning.

You guys deserve a better baseball team.. I remember when you did in the past.

I saw the Rangers v Indians game from Saturday on the local Cleveland station and saw Koji pitch and he was aawesome.He shickingly walked Cabrera to lead off the inning but then picked him off 1st base soon after,got Travis Hafner to pop out(and 2 pitches before that made him look like an idiot by swinging on a curveball and missing by 12 feet),and struck out I think Brantley.

But what was great was how animated he was on his way to the dugout.He was nuts!! Never seen so much emotion out of him.When he went to the dugout he was high fiving everyone and they were hugging him and stuff like he got the last out in the W.S.

I too was just so happy for him.Already I miss him.Of course though Indians announcer Rick Manning ruined it when Matt Underwood(the other Indians announcer) said "He's acting like he just won the lottery" and Manning said back "He did,he got out of Baltimore"

Good morning,

You're right, this organization needs to be overhauled by a new set of engineers. The "crew leader" should be someone who has a passion for the Baltimore/Metro area (not the O's organization).
The City of Baltimore should offer Angelos an incredible deal for controlling interest of the team/organization.
The President & CEO should be Benjamin Fein (Fine-Bueller, Bueller, Bueller.....Bueller). The GM should be Cal, who would, in-turn, hire Eddie as Manager. Buck would be Director of Player Personnel/Scouting/Minor Leagues. In the weirderst move to date, the O's hire Drew Rosenhaus (the agent blamed for ruining baseball) as their Contract Negotiator.

Someone needs to explain to Mr. Angelos the benefit of spending more on player development and increasing payroll to a respectable $90-110/yr for now, if the above-mentioned scenerio is not implemented. lol. Sorry, made myself laugh for a second. Anyway, it would completely ROCK again if Camden was jumpin'. Think outside the box...always.

Yes, I agree Adam Jones is one of the better/best hitters on the Orioles. Just think of how much better he would be if he would lay off the junk ball down and outside. He would be one of the best in the league not just on the O’s. Since someone mentioned Hafner from the Indians, I think Vlad would be a good fit there. The Indians definitely could use Mr. G in their lineup. While I don’t think we can get a prospect for him, we certainly could get a current back-up on the team (Indians). The Indians are .500 currently and still very much in it the race for the AL Central. The Orioles could help them two-fold by trading them Vlad and sweeping the White Sox. That would make me happy. Also, I meant to blog this information to inform the uninformed, because John Hart was mentioned a few weeks ago as a possible replacement. It’s not possible and here’s why: After Hart garnered interest for the general manager position on other teams in the 2005 off-season, the Rangers extended his senior advisor contract for three more years in exchange for Hart refusing to consider any other GM positions. Thus Hart remains with the Rangers today and is locked up through the year 2013.
Also, the new GM or maybe the new Assistant GM should be a “People Person” meaning they could go down to where you enter the stadium on game night and take tickets. That way they could meet and greet and get a true flavor of what’s going on down there. I think it would an excellent PR move by the Orioles. It might even help bring the fans back to the Yard.


A few points here. As far as AL East pitchers' dominance over the Orioles this year, without making any excuses, I think it needs to be put in the context of an O's offense that's lacked its catalyst all year, had sub par performances from two high profile free agents who won't be on the team next year, an unbelievably sluggish first few months from its right fielder, ditto in the power department from its slugging third baseman, little to no production from its three left fielders, and a month without its hot hitting shortstop..

On that subject, the seeming impatience of O's hitters has been raised again in today's comments. It's been a complaint of mine as well in the past, but the more I've thought about it, the more I've realized that just leaving it at that doesn't take opposing pitchers sufficiently into account.

When you look at the divisional starters you mention above, most of them are strike throwers with good to excellent stuff, and when a pitcher has that combination it's tough for many hitters to go deep into counts, especially when they know they'll be facing a put-away pitch once they get to two strikes.

Command is so important. Just look at what Koji can do with essentially a two-pitch arsenal. Or Mariano Rivera with a one-pitch arsenal (yes, that cutter is a very nasty pitch, but it becomes doubly so when batters know that they can't lay off of it, because Mo throws so many pitches in the strike zone).

The converse is also true. When we marvel at how patient opposing lineups are against the Orioles' staff, much of that has to do with hurlers who are not as good at throwing the ball across the plate with consistency.

So a lot of what we see as patience (or lack there of) is dictated by who happens to be on the mound. The bottom line: The Orioles need better pitching if they're going to have any hope of competing in the East.

What's the prognosis for Roberts? All we ever hear are vague comments as to how he's improving or had a setback, but nothing at all as to a timetable for his return or even whether there's any hope for his return this season. Based on what you're hearing, should we expect to see him play again this year?

Finally, here's a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Orioles' Cavalry (Arrieta, Bergesen, Britton, Matusz and Tillman), who have been battered by injuries and the jump from the farm to the majors. I'm sure it seems like this sometimes to them (hang in there, guys, better days are ahead!):

I have done some research on the attendance issue and found that if the Orioles can return to the highest attendance for a season the increase in fans visiting downtown would equal 20 Indy car races per year and almost three times the most fans the Ravens can hope to draw for the entire regular season and two home playoff games. If the Orioles could make it to the World Series then add in another three or four Indy races and another half of a Ravens' season. The economic impact of 14 soon to be 20 consecutive losing seasons is staggering.


Why haven't the O's been able to hit left-handed pitching for so long? It makes no sense. And is the answer to that question either 1) they don't know, or 2) they just don't have the players or process to conquer this massive flaw?

Jeff Z's reply: They've been trying to find an answer to that question for years, so if they can't, not sure I can. The Al East has obviously some of the toughest lefties in baseball (Price, Lester, CC) but they struggle to hit guys like Brad Mills and Brett Cecil, too.

Do people realize you don't trade young players just to get younger? Jones is 26. Reynolds 28. Hardy about to turn 29. You don't break up a young nucleus just to get even younger...especially when the O's haven't had a good young offensive nucleus in years.

They just need to open the cheque books and start going after some pitchers. And develop a better organizational philosophy for bringing their own pitchers along.

The Orioles stink -- 30-36 (.455) outside the AL East -- but that doesn't make the unbalanced schedule a copout. The two situations are separate, and the latter is unfair. And, yes, it would still be unfair if the AL West was the dominant division.

The used car salesman commissioner and the 30 geezerly owners need to think a little outside the coffin to come up with a surprisingly simple solution. And the funny thing is, the solution has a basis in tradition.

Take the 30 teams and divide them into three 10-team leagues. One could have the franchises of 1962-68 make up the first year AL and NL with the ten teams that expanded since then become the Federal League (FL). Each team plays each opponent within their own league 18 times for your 162-game schedule.

Have three league champions and one wild card representative for the World Series. To get to the wild card rep, you take the next five teams by record regardless of league affiliation. The 8th seed plays at the 7th seed in a one-game playoff. That winner plays at the 6th seed two days later. That winner visits the 5th seed with that winner visiting the 4th seed.

Then, you have four teams playing a best-of-seven in the semi-finals with the winners getting to the WS finals.

Then the league alignment for the following year, the top two teams in each league rotate one way and the bottom two teams in each league rotate the other way. The four teams rotating get eight fresh opponents for the following year whereas the teams who stay put get four new opponents.

No need for interleague play. No need for unbalanced schedules. No worries about competing against the same big spenders all of the time. Nevertheless, winning your league has a major advantage, and getting to qualify in one-game showdowns allow teams to be active for post-season play provided they can still muster up enough wins.

Of course, the DH should be retired (separate argument but it makes each league the same), and the dynamic of the all-star game would change. Nothing wrong with the latter since the all-star game is a joke as it is now anyway (even though "it counts.")

Amazed how often Felder's name comes up -- as if he'd really come here! Plus, he's not a panecea, if he had been a 2010 FA & signed here we'd be what 16 games under 500 rather than 23. Bottom line we have little talent either at ML or minor league level and do NOT plan to add much more. Jorden stated that we don't have minor league room & will likely sign half of recent draftees. Forget Boston & NY, we'll never pass TB & Toronto as both have more young talent in majors, more in minors plus ea will sign approx 50 new players this year including Int'l players & high compensatory picks while we sign 25 (+/-). AM won't sign top Internationals, won't work system for compensatory picks & will wait til 8/15 to hopefully sign Bundy setting him back a year. Interesting that Jorden says negoitations haven't started with Bundy & no one questions it -- WHY was he not signed early & started on his career (could have shaved a year off his arrival in Balto).

Jeff Z's reply: I've talked about this before Don, but that's pretty much how it is nowadays with first-round picks. I think I saw the other day that only like five first rounders have signed, and only one of those (Bauer) was a big one.

Wieters has been bad after April. 10 RBI'a in June and July combined. Three games of more then one RBI since April Stats might be worse then last year. 16 RBI's in April and 23 the rest of the year. They say Wieters hits well for a catcher,but the O's rank 21st in RBI's from the catcher's position. Wieters is around 14th in most categories for a catcher against other MLB catchers. I don't think the O's thought they were getting this production when they drafted him so high. Why does Buck says Wieters calls a good game when the O's have the highest ERA's in the majors. Does Buck see something we don't? Perhaps for his mental health? What do you think of Wieters. He had three multi RBi games sine May 1st and those only had two RBI's driven in.

Jeff Z's reply: I don't put the pitcher's ERA as much on Wieters. you see the guys that they're running out there on a daily basis. As for hi hitting, I'd be very concerned about that. He just hasn't made enough strides there. He looks tired, lacks some pop. His offense would be hard to defend at this point.

We may have to accept Josh Bell for who he is (low avg, below avg defense, etc.). If Reynolds assumes 1B duties for 2012, it may be Bell or Chris Davis manning 3B next season. Its going to be a long decade.

Nice article in the latest issue of SI on the science Some pretty interesting stuff.

I think the bottom line- simply put, the quicker you can recognize where the pitch is going, the better you can decide-swing or not- and where the bat has got to be. Now try doing that in tenths of seconds.

Might be the swing-or-not reflex for Jones, maybe the bat-in-the-right-place for Reynold sometimes.

Another tough weekend.............

Let's hope Andy is preparing an offseason "plan", instead of waiting for the market to play out.

The fact that the best OBP on the team is .343 (team OBP is .316) proves once again that Oriole hitters are far too aggressive and undisciplined at the plate. The teams we need to beat all know the value of OBP,and usually finish at the top of the league in OBP, and thus in runs scored. We're usually in the bottom third in OBP and runs.

Bell is a poor fielder, and not a good hitter. His strikeouts would be tolerable if he also drew a lot of walks, but he doesn't. Chris Davis doesn't, either. That's not good.

Jeff: Just a quick question. It's my understanding that the Oriole Front Office decided to essentially cut Matt Albers from our 40 man squad at the end of last season.
I realize he had some issues at times while with us but, look at what he's doing in Boston.
To me, this is the stuff that makes the Red Sox the team they are & the Orioles the team they are.
The Sox saw all the potential in Albers, changed his mechanics & got him to sink the ball even more & he's doing an absolute great job for them.
We, on the other hand, completely give up on a guy & never assist him reach his potential.
We purchace junk & it stays junk, other teams project good arms and watch those kids turn into very nice players.
What is the warehouse word on why even a small trade was not attempted with Albers? I mean did McFail really believe our bullpen was so loaded that he wasn't needed? That he could just cut him loose because we're so freakin good?
I wonder if McFail wishes he still had Rodrigo Lopez taking the hill every 5th. day? Oh, that's right, the O's are too good these days.
This entire Front Office needs to be imploded.

Jeff Z's reply: Albers was nontendered because the Orioles didn't think he was worth what he was going to get in arbitration, and he didn't accept the salary that they had proposed. I'd agree with the sentiment that the Orioles have done a very poor job of evaluating their own talent. I'm not so sure that I'd faultt them too much on Albers. After all, all I heard for two seasons is why the Orioles don't dump Albers. Now, they did and they are getting criticized. Albers has always had Major League stuff. Conditioning and consistency have been the issue. He's obviously benefitted from pitching in a winning environment and he's figured some stuff out, but again, I don't think he'd have done that here. .

Jeff, two questions stemming from this article and responses:

1) What is with this team and baserunning? They went more than two weeks early in the season without even a SB attempt, yet they have guys like Roberts (when healthy), Pie, Jones, Andino, Markakis and even Reynolds. Not all are speed demons, but all are pretty smart baserunners who I think should be trying to swipe a bag a lot more often than they do, especially with how much they struggle to score runs.

2) What is with Wieters and swinging at first pitches? Has this been addressed? It seems that, as a catcher, he's got this mentality that every pitcher is going to start him off with a get-me-over fastball, and he goes up there hacking. He has to be leading the planet in first pitch ground ball outs.

Jeff Z's reply: Just think they're a poorly constructed offensive team. Too many station-to-station guys (Vlad, Wieters, Reynolds, Luke before injury, Lee before trade). Pie is not only not getting on base, but he doesn't have good baserunning instincts. Reimold is fast, but he's not a very good basestealer. Markakis has never been comfortable stealing bases and he pretty much has average speed, maybe tick above. Just not a lot of guys on the team comfortable running, especially with Roberts out. As for Wieters, it's clear he's looking for a fastball that he can handle and swinging early. I don't know if that in particular has been addressed. I would say his offense has become a concern.


I think you meant to say, "Until the Orioles prove that they can at least occasionally knock around some of the mediocre pitchers in the American League Central, it will be impossible for any team in baseball to take them seriously."

We could play this "Until the Orioles..." game all day.

"Until the Orioles start making a serious effort to rebuild the organization..."

"Until the Orioles delve into the international free agent market..."

"Until the Orioles can draft and develop a top of the line hitter..."

"Until the Orioles can draft and develop a top of the line starting pitcher..."

Anyone else got a few?


It's such a cheery little name. I mean it's hard to get mad at a name like Andy.

Sure, he may have lost more games over the last 21 years than any exec in major league baseball...... but.....

How can anyone be mad at a cheery little name like 'Andy'.

In Andy I trust.... I believe in Andy... Good plan Andy.... Andy says we're better, so we must be better.... Andy's better than we've had (even though he isn't).... Good ole Andy.

On second though..... Andy Griffith from Mayberry was a good ole boy too... Everyone loved him.

On second though, doesn't Angelos look like Barney Fief? I mean exactly like Barney Fief?

I think I'm onto something.......

I watched Koji on mlbtv Saturday night get a couple big strikeouts and run off the field incredibly pumped. It made me happy to see Koji enjoying himself, literally dancing through the dugout slapping high fives with his teammates.

And for those who liked to poke fun at Koji for not handling the heat well, the temperature at the ballpark in Texas was 107 degrees. A guy dressed in a Wookie costume was honored as the night's fan by the broadcasting crew and presented with a case of water. That's right, in 107 degree temperature, he was wearing a furry suit and headpiece and looked to be carrying close to 300 pounds.

It was interesting to hear both Ranger announcers pronounce Uehara as "Wohara."

I reaiize that it was easier and relatively quicker to improve a team in the 60 thru mid 80's due to trades.
Fast forward to 2011,and kindly explain what are a few of the common denominators that are not present with the Oriole organization,that have made this club an excercise in futility.
Why haven't the O's copied successful organizations to stop the pain?
Is the common denominator PA?

I dont think its fair to put our W/L record against other teams aces on the backs of our hitting. I think one of The main reasons we have not been able to consistently beat the Lester's. Price and Sabathia's of the AL East is because we lack a true ace for our rotation. I love Jeremy Guthrie but he is not a true ace . As a result we often lose when we go against other teams aces in our division because we always give up more runs than we are capable of scoring. Sure this goes for any ballgame, but specifically within our division we need a pitcher that can keep yankees and redsox in check if we ever hope to compete inn the AL east.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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