Gold Glovers Wieters and Markakis (and Showalter) talk about awards
So you are looking for some good Orioles news after finding out that the club’s GM job is still unfilled.
Well here you go (because you know I am always a ray of sunshine in the Orioles’ wilderness):
Catcher Matt Wieters and right fielder Nick Markakis became the first set of Orioles teammates to win a Gold Glove in the same year since Roberto Alomar, Rafael Palmeiro and Mike Mussina did it in 1998.
(Shortstop J.J. Hardy was a finalist and had a chance to make it three, but Los Angeles Angels' Erick Aybar won it.)
Markakis, who didn’t make an error all season, was obviously helped by the new rule that split the outfield vote into three positions. That took away the center-field bias, allowing Markakis to win his first.
Wieters also picked up his first – and a 2011 Fielding Bible Award (a more stats-based designation) as well this week. Wieters allowed one passed ball (we’re not counting the All-Star Game) and threw out 37 percent of would-be base stealers.
He became the first Orioles catcher to win the award. It was the last position needed for the Orioles (though technically left field is still out there), who are third among clubs with 61 Gold Gloves all time. Only the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees have more.
Here are quotes from Wieters, Markakis and manager Buck Showalter:
Wieters on becoming the first O’s Gold Glove catcher:
“That’s pretty amazing for a storied organization like the Orioles and with as many great catchers and great players that have come through here. It’s a great honor and it’s nice to get all nine positions covered now for the Orioles.”
Wieters on why he received more attention this year:
“I think going through the league more than once helps. I started out hot, threw out a lot of base runners early, and that gets you noticed. And I was able to play well defensively all season. I think defense is something that I take pride in and a lot of catchers take pride in coming up.”
Wieters on Markakis also getting the award:
“It’s awesome. I’ve gotten to see Nick play a great right field for three years now, and he’s well-deserving with the way he plays the right-field wall and the way he throws out base runners. This was a long time coming for him.”
Markakis, through a spokesman, on his defense:
“I love being out there and playing hard every day. I love helping the team win any way I can, and I take as much pride in my defense as I do my offense. I really enjoy playing defense as much as the offensive part.”
Showalter on Markakis and the new voting rule:
“That’s a great example of what splitting up that outfield thing would do: You bring in a guy throwing the way Nicky did and playing the wall the way he did. … You always hear about run production, but it’s also about run reduction. And if you took the number of runs he reduced and added to the number he produced, he would have had something like 150 RBIs.”
And Showalter on Wieters’ 2011 performance behind the plate:
“That’s probably, from start to finish, the best catching job I’ve ever seen.”