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Essential Empy

Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Orioles”

Two Out Thaumaturgy

Wally isn’t the most iconic or entertaining mascot, but he is a sight better than the B’more Luchador and The Oriole Bird. That is his actual name, folks. With this farcical pair leading the crowd at Camden Yards I can see why the local nine’s rally fell short. Brian Matusz was likely blinded by the pale luchador’s glow, causing him to walk Pablo Sandoval with two outs in the eighth. Manny Machado fell victim to the same radiance when he whiffed on Allen Craig’s bounding ball. With two men on base Brock Holt lofted the ball over the right field wall to put Boston ahead 7-4. All the runs the Red Sox scored in this game came with two outs. The offensive outburst was welcome after a drought in the Trop where they scored seven runs in three games. With so many games against AL East teams in April it is key to keep up with or outpace divisional rivals. Baltimore is at the bottom of the barrel after winning the pennant last year. Game 17: April 24, 2015 Boston Red Sox10-7 7 BS: Craig Breslow (2)W: Alexi Ogando (1-0)H: Junichi Tazawa (4)S: Koji Uehara (3) HR: David Ortiz (4),...

Pay It Forward

This child should be an example to us all. Rather than keep the ball he got he gave it to a younger child. The Baltimore Orioles took this lesson to heart and handed the Red Sox run after run. In the first inning Mookie Betts led off with a line drive single to first. He swiped second base. Ryan Lavarnway hated to see the young man have to steal so he gave Betts third base with a poor throw. David Ortiz sacrificed with a fly ball to right for the first run of the game. The giving spirit continued in the third inning. Wei-Yin Chen allowed Xander Bogaerts to reach on a five-pitch walk. Bogaerts sprinted to third on Ryan Hanigan’s single lined to right. Chen bobbled Betts’s batted ball multiple times, allowing the center fielder to reach first and Bogaerts to score. The generous gaffe gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. Chen wasn’t out of gifts yet. He walked Allen Craig to load the bases and Mike Napoli to give the Red Sox an insurance run. Manny Machado showed his own altruism by misplaying Shane Victorino’s grounder. A fan also interfered so only Betts and Craig scored as...

Please Please Tell Me Now

What I’ll remember most about this game is the interminably long review that ended with the incorrect outcome. The umpires at the MLB headquarters took so long Duran Duran’s “Is There Something I Should Know?” played twice while they reviewed whether or not Mookie Betts’s throw to Daniel Nava pulled the first baseman off the bag in the seventh inning. I know you’re watching me every minute of the day, yeah I’ve seen the signs and the looks and the pictures that give your game away, yeah Your browser does not support iframes. NESN showed the play from multiple angles and it seemed clear that Caleb Joseph was out to complete the 5-4-3 double play. Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy were shocked when crew chief Dana DeMuth removed his headphones and signaled that Joseph was safe. Jonathan Schoop followed by grounding into a force play at second so the missed call didn’t impact the game. The Red Sox beat the Orioles in this meaningless series. If only there were more of such wins earlier this season, then Boston fans could be celebrating like these Baltimore devotees. This fan went so far as to make a mascot costume and wear it...

Eight Great Seasons

Last night David Ortiz surpassed all other Red Sox players for total seasons with 30 or more home runs and 100 or more runs batted in. He clouted a solo homer in the fourth inning to knot the game at 1-1 and added another line to his entry in the annals of Red Sox history. Ortiz has accomplished this feat eight times, one more season than Ted Williams. When Ortiz and Manny Ramirez paired up for their historic era I thought Ramirez was the one who would be honored in Cooperstown. Voters would find it difficult to overlook Ramirez’s 50- and 100-game suspensions in 2009 and 2011 respectively. But they may forgive Ortiz’s appearance on the 2003 survey list that contained names that were never supposed to be revealed. MLB and the players union subsequently stated that these results were not be construed as definitive for use of performance enhancing substances. Not one to rest on his laurels, Ortiz blasted a two-run homer in the 10th inning to pull Boston ahead 5-3. Your browser does not support iframes. Rusney Castillo collected another infield hit. He beat out Ryan Flaherty’s throw to first base in the fourth frame. He has power...


The Red Sox were not able to get a hit off Wei-Yin Chen until the fourth inning. Dustin Pedroia’s laser lanced into right field where Nick Markakis tracked it down. At that point the score was 3-0 and there were two outs so Pedroia’s run didn’t mean anything. He tried to test Markakis’s arm anyway. The Orioles outfielder passed the test and Pedroia ended up with J.J. Hardy’s glove tagging his face. Brock Holt turned 26 yesterday but didn’t have much to celebrate on the field. His ten-game hitting streak came to an end. In the bottom of the fourth Holt pursued Chris Davis’s batted ball into foul territory and amazingly kept it in his glove throughout a contorting slide. Holt watched it slip to the dirt at the last second. Davis ended up flying out to the deepest part of center field so it wasn’t a grievous error. It was amazing that Holt, who has only played a smattering of games in the outfield, managed to nearly make such a spectacular play. Sadly, these small, incomplete triumphs are the only things to celebrate about this team of late. Game 65: June 11, 2014 Boston Red Sox29-36 0 L: Rubby...

Choking on the Splinters

Evan Meek took the mound in the eighth after Nelson Cruz put his team ahead 2-1 with a solo homer. The reliever did what every manager hates to see after securing the lead: give up a walk to start the frame. Meek might get a homework assignment from Buck Showalter. During spring training the Orioles skipper had minor leaguer Josh Hart write a report because Hart didn’t know who Frank Robinson was. If Meek researched about the percentage of times a lead runner scores he would find it’s 38% irrespective of reaching by a walk or single. Perhaps Meek was saved by his tenacious play on Mike Carp’s tapper. The reliever lost the handle on the ball at first but stuck with it and nailed Carp at first. Two players made their Red Sox debuts: Grady Sizemore and A.J. Pierzynski. Sizemore made his presence felt with a circuit clout in the fourth that tied the game. Pierzynski worked well with Jon Lester, guiding the southpaw through 7 innings with a line of 6 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, and 8 strikeouts. Perhaps someday a Red Sox player will name Jean Cocteau’s “Orphée” as his favorite film, call Igor Stravinsky...

Cinch to Clinch

Stephen Drew was on his way to hit for the cycle and John Lackey had a no-hitter going. But this team isn’t about individual accomplishments. Drew’s two-run blast in the second gave Lackey a lead to work with. Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s double lined to left put him in position to score on Dustin Pedroia’s single to Nick Markakis. It was a great example of the mix of free agents, rookies, and homegrown veterans working together for a pivotal win. It was fitting that the team that allowed the Red Sox to clinch a playoff berth this season was the same team that eliminated them from the chase in 2011. That one of the players who was so reviled that he became the poster boy for the dysfunction of previous seasons turned his career and reputation around is another poetic parallel. Lackey hurled a complete game two-hitter and perhaps could contest Clay Buchholz as the ace for the postseason. Game 154: September 19, 2013 Baltimore Orioles81-71 1 L: Chris Tillman (16-7) HR: Adam Jones (32) Boston Red Sox93-61 3 W: John Lackey (10-12) 2B: Dustin Pedroia (41), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (37), Jackie Bradley, Jr. (5)3B: Stephen Drew (7)HR: Drew (13)...

Call Me Maybe

“Hey, Ortiz! Why’d you beat up on me, huh? I’m just a poor phone. And you know what else? You suck!” “Thank you for the call, good sir. I’m afraid I must disagree with your assessment of my baseball abilities.” “Observe my line for today’s game (4-for-4, 2 runs, 2 runs batted in), reconsider your opinion, and settle yourself so that you may enjoy the nuances of my team pummeling yours.” Game 106: July 28, 2013 Boston Red Sox63-43 5 W: Jon Lester (10-6) 2B: Mike Napoli – 2 (28), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (26)HR: David Ortiz (20) Baltimore Orioles58-48 0 L: Jason Hammel (7-8) No extra base hits...

Baileys Irish Creamed

This game was so awful I had to match it with a pun, which are inherently terrible. Cody Ross won the fans’ vote for the Tenth Player of the Year Award. I was hoping that Pedro Ciriaco or Junichi Tazawa would be recognized for their breakout seasons, but Ross is an admirable selection. He wears Dom DiMaggio, Rick Burleson, and Trot Nixon’s former number well. Hopefully Ross is in the front office’s plan for next season. In the top of the twelfth inning a tiny sparrow alighted on the basepath between second and third. Rather than presage a win for the Red Sox that would help the Orioles the fledgling was in the neighborhood of the double play that end the inning. While the seasons have ebbed and flowed since 2004 and lately he has been a marginal contributor, it stung a little to see Derek Lowe winning this game as a Yankee. Game 161: October 2, 2012 ∙ 12 innings Boston Red Sox69-92 3 H: Rich Hill (6), Junichi Tazawa (5), Craig Breslow (9)BS: Andrew Bailey (3)L: Andrew Miller (3-2) 2B: Dustin Pedroia (38)HR: James Loney (6) New York Yankees94-67 4 W: Derek Lowe (9-11)2B: Nick Swisher (36), Eduardo...

And Here’s to You, Mr. Robinson

Brooks Robinson joined Frank Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, and Cal Ripken, Jr. in bronze immortality at Camden Yards. No, he didn’t put on spray tan like Mitt Romney on Univision. He has a statue in the Legends Area, surveying the surging Orioles. The Orioles want to win the pennant so badly they can almost taste the champagne spray. After Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s two-run homer in the fifth brought the visitors to within a run Mark Reynolds went headfirst between the tarp and the wall for the final out of the inning. It was nice to see a reminder of what a hustle play looked like. Red Sox players wanting to stick around for 2013 should take note. Chris Davis, who clouted his 30th home run in the fourth, hugged his manager after the shot. Somehow I can’t imagine any player embracing Bobby Valentine. The victory tied the Orioles with the Yankees. In the season when Orioles legends were enshrined at their park the team on the field played with vivacity and purpose. Sadly Fenway’s 100th anniversary didn’t inspire its denizens the same way. Game 158: September 29, 2012 Boston Red Sox69-89 3 L: Felix Doubront (11-10) HR: Jarrod...

Tea for the Tillman

The Red Sox got off to a quick start with Scott Podsednik’s leadoff bunt single and run scored in the first. But the Orioles came back with a vengeance in the bottom of the frame, a scoring assault capped by Ryan Flaherty’s first career grand slam. As the Charm City squad stalks the division-leading Yankees the atmosphere at Camden Yards is electric. Watching the 2012 Red Sox is like watching paint dry. On your corneas. Game 157: September 28, 2012 Boston Red Sox69-88 1 L: Aaron Cook (4-11) No extra base hits Baltimore Orioles90-67 9 W: Chris Tillman (9-2)2B: Mark Reynolds (26), Manny Machado (8), Ryan Flaherty (2)HR: Chris Davis (29), Flaherty (6)...

Plucky Play and Producer for a Day

The Red Sox didn’t get swept by the outstanding Orioles! Jerry Remy, what’s your reaction to that? Tina Santelli was the lucky winner of NESN’s Producer for a Day contest. Her favorite player is Dustin Pedroia because of his work ethic and great attitude. She had a great time filling in various NESN roles around Fenway. Given the rotation’s woes she would have had a good chance of Bobby Valentine calling her to pitch but Felix Doubront turned in an impressive seven innings of one-run ball. Another plea to please bring Cody Ross back for 2013. Here he is robbing Adam Jones of a home run to end the first inning. Game 154: September 23, 2012 Baltimore Orioles87-65 1 L: Luis Ayala (5-5)2B: Chris Davis (19)Matt Wieters – 2 (26), Jim Thome (7) Boston Red Sox69-85 2 W: Junichi Tazawa (1-1)S: Andrew Bailey (6) 2B: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (17), Dustin Pedroia (36), Cody Ross (34)...

Pro Bono Baseball

As this game meandered into extra innings a.k.a. Baltimore guaranteed win territory it seemed that most of the fans of the 37,570 attending were cheering for the Orioles. To vault from last place in the division to be in contention for the pennant speaks volumes of Buck Showalter’s leadership. He took over in July 2010 and weathered the rest of that season and 2011 in last place. The seeds of discipline he planted over this time has flowered into a playoff contender. Perhaps Red Sox fans will be making “Vote Bobby 2016 next season.” Winner of the Lib Dooley Fan Award Lynne Smith was honored at this game. If the outcome on the field isn’t entertaining you can always rely on Smith’s spirited wardrobe. No relation to Jere of “Red Sox Fan from Pinstripe Territory,” I presume. Game 153: September 22, 2012 ∙ 12 innings Baltimore Orioles87-64 9 H: Jake Arrieta (1)BS: Pedro Strop (7)W: Tommy Hunter (6-8)S: Jim Johnson (47)2B: Matt Wieters – 2 (26), Ryan Flaherty (1), Manny Machado (7), Adam Jones (37), Jim Thome (6)3B: Flaherty (3)HR: Mark Reynolds (22), Jones (31) Boston Red Sox68-85 6 L: Alfredo Aceves (2-10) 2B: Dustin Pedroia (35), Scott Podsednik –...

Edge of Seventeen

Seventeen innings requires seventeen haiku, each of which has seventeen syllables. Early home run byFormer Milwaukee playerMany beers neededChris Davis strikes outRain rapping on a tin roofRepetitive soundsIs this a repeatOf the first inning? Solohome run by HardyReynolds walks, home runBy Andino.The world isComing to an endMiller strikes out sideCan the Red Sox come back?Middlebrooks grand slamValentine should haveLet Miller keep on pitchingSecond guessing’s funGonzalez groundedInto the shift with two onEight men left strandedDropped foul pop errorBy SaltalamacchiaThen drives in a runAviles singlesBut is caught stealing afterSweeney struck out, bahKevin Gregg can’t fightWith Ortiz thanks to BobbyMcDonald DHGammons quipped, “ChavezIs designated bunter.”Franklin catches buntPedroia two-outBase on balls but GonzalezPopped out on first pitchDavis not onlyWhiffs but grounds into doublePlays, neat 3-6-3Middlebrooks rookieThrowing error doesn’t costA run. Lesson learned.Instead of endingAn inning Gonzalez justGrounds out leading offMistake and Byrd’s onAviles’s double landsByrd thrown out at homeMcDonald roughed upDavis pitches better thanHe hits. Ballmer wins. Game 27: May 6, 2012 ∙ 17 innings Baltimore Orioles19-9 9 W: Chris Davis (1-0) 2B: Adam Jones (7), Mark Reynolds (7), Matt Wieters (5), J.J. Hardy (5)HR: Hardy – 2 (6), Robert Andino (2), Jones (8) Boston Red Sox11-16 6 L: Darnell McDonald (0-1) 2B: Mike...

Life Ain’t Nothin’ But a Funny, Funny Riddle

Riddles such as why do they play “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” in the seventh? To make a long story short, the general manager in the 1970s wanted to update the entertainment from golden oldies and organ music to popular music. John Denver’s song was a hit at the time but as other songs fell out of the rotation this one stayed. What was supposed to modernize games in Charm City became traditional, which isn’t that odd when one considers their park, something new that was made like a throwback to classic parks. Orioles fans would rather listen to anything than the “Orioles Magic” song released for the 1980 season. Puzzles such as the Tigers’ interest in Jeremy Guthrie. Not because his record is 4-13, as any pitcher can suffer from poor run support, but rather because his ERA+ is 89. He had just enough to hold the Red Sox to two runs, a particular feat after the visitors’ 15-run outburst in the series opener. The Yankees and Red Sox are both courting Ubaldo Jimenez, who isn’t pitching at a Cy Young caliber this season but maintains an ERA+ of 111. Since the Red Sox didn’t make much news...

You Can’t Sweep Us Twice In a Season

When the chips aren’t down, when it doesn’t matter, when the season isn’t on the line, John Lackey will come up big: 7 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 earned run, no walks, 4 strikeouts. Ryan Kalish’s broken bat single to lead off the fourth triggered a go-ahead rally. The shards flew into the stands but they didn’t seem to hurt anyone seriously. With Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin’s chest getting speared by pieces of a maple bat the serious safety issue is again in the spotlight. The data show that the rate of broken maple bats is down 50 per cent since 2008, but Bud Selig acknowledges that the league needs to do more. David Ortiz homered into the Red Sox bullpen, a sight more entertaining than Jerry Remy in a tutu. There were more people stuffed into the NESN booth publicizing the Nutcracker than there are players on the disabled list. In 2009 both of Josh Reddick’s four-baggers came against Baltimore and he hit his first home run of this season off an Oriole. His fifth inning solo shot landed about eight rows deep near the curve in right. Perhaps to shore up ratings NESN has livened up the broadcast...

Burning Down the House

The story of this game is the story of America. While the Red Sox were mounting their historic triumph over their arch rivals the Yankees in 2004, 19-year old Clay Buchholz was arrested for the theft of 29 laptops from an intermediate school in Lumberton, Texas. Despite the boy’s spotty past Boston drafted him in the supplemental round in 2005. Three years after his arrrest Buchholz threw a no-hitter against the Orioles. Just as the idea of America is to accept people from all countries, creeds, and colors and transform them in the crucible of opportunity to create themselves anew, so did baseball for Buchholz. Not only did the lithe lad attain a mark of personal distinction with his no-hitter, but his team went on to win the World Championship in the 2007 Fall Classic. The Red Sox remain the first team to win more than one championship in this millennium. Like the curving seam of a baseball America’s tale twists, and yet those undulations stitch together two halves to make a perfect sphere. Buchholz’s story took a downward turn when his team could not score against the lowly Orioles, a Lar in a division of titans. On this homestand,...

Bucking the Trend

Since assuming the helm of the floundering Orioles organization Buck Showalter has reversed the team’s course. Baltimore is 28-17 since August 3. Over the same period the Red Sox are 23-21, but more than a handful of the losses seemed like they should have been wins. The opening game of the this series was one of those eminently winnable games. The local nine tied the game twice. Hot-hitting Victor Martinez starched a single in the bottom of the first to plate Darnell McDonald and knot the run tally 1-1. In the bottom of the sixth the Red Sox had all the fixings for a home-cooked rally: Mike Lowell walked with one out and Jed Lowrie was hit by a pitch to push Lowell into scoring position. Bill Hall blooped in Lowell with a single to right. Lowell was able to reach home on the single because Nick Markakis clumsily tripped and bobbled the ball. Lowrie reached third on the miscue. Markakis’s mistake was countered by Lowrie’s baserunning blunder. On Jason Varitek’s strikeout Matt Wieters fired to shortstop Cesar Izturis to tag Hall, who was part of a failed hit and run. Izturis noticed Lowrie breaking for home and threw back...

Why Are They On First?

When watching Mike Lowell and Ty Wigginton play first base the immortal Abbott and Costello question is transmuted to “why?” In a position where one doesn’t need to be particularly agile this pair stands out as distinctly inelegant. Wigginton has the footwork of a punch-drunk heavyweight in the 12th round and the glove of nuclear power plant worker. Lowell is much better at receiving relays from the other infielders but has the range of barnacle. “Lowell flips to the pitcher covering first” is becoming as overused as “past a diving Jeter.” For all of Wigginton’s missed catches none were as bad as NESN failing to get back to the game in time for Adrian Beltre’s leadoff home run to kick off the second inning. Red Sox ratings are down 36 per cent from last season and slipshod game production won’t help keep audience loyalty. Neither will the constant stream of in-game advertisements. The only reason I can abide by New York Life’s blurbs is that they signify that a good guy got into scoring position. Beltre sparked an offensive barrage. His team batted around in the second, banging in five runs to give Daisuke Matsuzaka a sizable lead to work...

Marco! Scutaro!

He doesn’t have calm eyes or a signature throw, but he’s no Lugo, either. His name will infest your brain with the chorus “Sussudio,” but he has filled the role of leadoff hitter in Jacoby Ellsbury’s absence admirably. Scu, scu, Scutaro! Whoa oh! The Red Sox shortstop tied the game in the seventh with a two-run homer off Mark Hendrickson. For a relief pitcher, Hendrickson is a pretty good professional basketball player. The towering reliever sparked an inferno – after the home run he walked J.D. Drew. Buck Showalter pulled Hendrickson in favor of Alfredo Simon who gave up an RBI double to Victor Martinez. Adrian Beltre didn’t cotton well to having David Ortiz intentionally walked ahead of him and lofted a shot that landed into the first row of the left field stands. The three-run shot padded the lead and Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon paired to protect it. Who can blame any Orioles pitcher for being terrible? They are shadowed by an odd female fan who mimics their every move as they warm up in their bullpen. One of Showalter’s first moves should have been filing a restraining order against her, but despite the oversight he has turned...


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