Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Games 69 and 70: Bowie (37-31) @ Harrisburg Senators (23-46)

UPDATE (7:50): So much for that 9-game winning streak. The Baysox dropped the first game of the double header 3-5, as the Senators showed that they had finally learned to hit Radhames (noooo)... The next game should be starting any minute now.

After yesterday's rainout, the Baysox and Senators get to play a doubleheader today. There are a few changes though, as the Senators take the day off as an opportunity to send a different pitcher against Radhames Liz (Woooo!). Instead of Mike Hinckley (who will pitch game 2), LHP Mike O’Connor (0-0, 2.57 ERA) will toe the rubber in tonight's 1st game. O'Connor doesn't have much history with the Senators, and actually can hardly be found on his own team's game notes. From what I can tell, O'Connor has some potential (he was named the Washington system's pitcher of the year in 2005 according to his MiLB page), but has only appeared in 2 games this year. In those games he has pitched 7 innings, struck out 7, walked 2, and allowed 2 runs. There is a tiny soft spot in my heart for him because he attended GW. But, that isn't enough to overcome my excitement of Radhames.

In game 2 we actually do get to see Mike Hinckley (5-6, 4.99), who has been anything but consistent this year for Harrisburg. In his last outing, he lost to Liz, but was inconsistent within even the game itself, giving up 4 first inning runs, and then tossing 5 shutout innings. Bien Figueroa has decided to save today's scheduled starter, Fredy Deza, for tomorrow. I talked with Ryan Roberts, Baysox Director of Communications, and he assured me this wasn't a move made due to injury. Instead of Deza, we get to see Felix Romero (2-3, 3.26) come out of the 'pen for the start. Romero has shown some good control in relief appearances this year, earning 58 strikeouts in 38.2 innings pitched.

In one transaction that occurred today, the Baysox got RHP Bob McCrory from high-A Frederick. He's been pretty effective down there earning a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings with 22 K, 12 BB and a respectable WHIP of 1.27.

I will try to get out lineups tonight, but I make no promises, as I have some stuff to get ready before I fly to Chicago tomorrow. I hope to have a few posts up during my trip, and make sure to keep checking in.

Before I go, I hate to sound overconfident, but I really think this is a great chance for the Baysox to end the day on a 9-game winning streak. Liz (wooo) has shown some great skill lately, and Hinckley doesn't worry me. I've got a good feeling about this. Since WRGW can't travel to this series, be sure to catch the action here. You have to sign up, but it's free.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Game 69: Bowie (37-31) @ Harrisburg Senators (23-46)

Update (9:18): It looks like the game is rained out. Official word is postponed, but I doubt it starts tonight.

This looks to be an easy series for the Baysox, as the Senators have the worst record in the Eastern League, but looks can be deceiving. Another win would stretch this amazing win streak to 8. It would also be RHP Radhames Liz' (5-3, 3.55) first back-to-back win of the season. In his last outing, Liz was stellar, striking out 11 and walking 3 in a one-hit 6-inning performance. Going against Liz tonight is Senators LHP Mike Hinckley (5-6, 4.99) who got roughed up in the first inning of his last start, against the Baysox. After giving up 4 runs in that frame, he settled down to go 6 innings with no walks and 4 K. Lineups below, as I get them.

Liz (5-3, 3.55)
Hinckley (5-6, 4.99)

And despite what I said about looks being deceiving, the Baysox are 6-0 against the Senators this year, so I feel really good about this game, especially since Liz is on the mound.


Whiteside Out

Catcher Eli Whiteside is out on the DL with a broken nose after taking a pitch to the face in Sunday night's win. Taking his place is Brian Bock, a catcher just called up from High-A Frederick.

Losing Whiteside is a bit of a blow to the Baysox offense. Check this stat out; in 76 at bats, Whiteside has 21 hits (making his average .276) and 21 RBI.  His OPS (On Base plus Slugging) of .856 puts him at 13th in the Eastern League, and highest of the active Baysox. Of his 21 hits, almost half of those (10) are for extra bases. Now, with so few at bats, small sample size caveats do apply, but it is safe to say that Whiteside was showing that he could be a powerful hitter for Bowie, and hopefully he can return to the lineup very quickly. Until then, we can hope that some of the other players can keep producing, especially Oscar Salazar and Paco Figueroa.

Here's to a speedy recovery for Eli.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pics and Vid

So I have been in contact with enigmatic Baysox/Os fan "~d." lately and she has been sending me a few links to some pictures and video she took of the Baysox. There is some really cool stuff, and you should definitely check it out. The video below, taken by ~d. is the first volley in my "Oscar Salazar, All-Star" campaign. (Any ideas for a better name gladly taken!) Also be sure to check out this video of Ryan Hubele making a great catch, ~d.'s favorite, and probably mine too, but "OS,A-S" needed a good kick start.

Oscar Salazar Home Run, Baysox 5/24/07

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We're Going Streaking!

Streaking to 7 wins in a row, hopefully more! Well then, what a week this has been for the Baysox. As with the last post-weekend update, we go to bullets.

  • This weekend's series against the New Britain Rock Cats went even better than could have been expected. The Baysox secured their second sweep in a row, and completed the homestand 7-0.
  • Game 1 saw the Baysox win 5-4 on the strength of a 3-run eighth inning rally. Oscar Salazar grounded into a run-scoring fielder's choice to start the scoring in the 8th. Then Rock Cats 3B Brian Buscher committed an error with the bases loaded that let Ruddy Yan and Oscar Salazar score to cap the inning and give the Baysox the lead for good. Rosman Garcia's 6 innings of 3-run ball weren't enough for Bowie in the early going, but Sendy Rleal was able to pick up the win by getting 4 outs.
  • Game 2  Matt Cepicky had his 5th HR of the year on a solo shot in the 1st and the Baysox were able to overcome a 3-run 4th inning by the Rock Cats to win 4-3. Starter Craig Anderson threw 6.1 strong innings in gaining the win. Nick McCurdy got the 2.2 inning save.
  • Game 3 was an extra-innings affair, and not even 3 extra frames could slow down the Baysox right now. Despite a lackluster performance from starter Chris Waters, who gave up 3 homers in 5 innings, the Baysox lineup was able to carry the team. Bryan Bass, Oscar Salazar, and Val Majewski all had RBI for Bowie, as the Baysox won 6-5.
  • The pitching staff was dominant in this homestand. In 7 games spanning 62 innings (two 7-inning double header games, plus one 12 inning affair), the Baysox staff struck out 73 batters. That means that 34.5% of official Senator or Rock Cat at bats ended with a strikeout. Equivalently, that is 3+ innings per game of nothing but K's. And no matter how you look at that stat, that is beautiful.
  • Transactions: The Baysox send LHP Craig Anderson and RHP Jim Miller to the AAA Norfolk Tides. This is yet another blow to the Bowie pitching staff that has lost some key players to transaction and injury. RHP Manny Basillio is being sent down to High-A Frederick. To fill one of the spots, the Baysox will get RHP Richard Salazar from Frederick.
  • Up next: The Baysox travel to the Harrisburg Senators, against whom they are 6-0 this year. It will be a 3-game series that kicks off at 6:35 on Tuesday with the familiar pitching matchup of Radhames Liz against the Senators Mike Hinckley. More on that game on Tuesday.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Game 65: New Britain Rock Cats (31-29) @ Baysox (34-31)

Tonight sees the Baysox trying to maintain momentum after sweeping the Harrisburg Senators in a 4-game series. The pitching staff was on fire, as Fredy Deza picked up 10 strikeouts in getting his second win of the season last night. That (with one more in relief) made for 45 strikeouts in 32 innings over the series.

Let's hope that RHP Rosman Garcia (1-2, 5.60 ERA) can keep that alive for the Baysox tonight as he faces LHP Ryan Mullins (0-0, 2.25) from New Britain. The Rock Cats are currently in 2nd in the Northern Division at 31-29.

Lineups as I get them/get back online (update 7:54: here they are, sorry about the delay):

Yan, LF
Hughes, 2B
Figueroa, 2B
Molina, SS
Hernandez, SS
Buscher, 3B
Salazar, DH
Winfree, DH
Fiorentino, CF
Guzman, LF
Majewski, RF
Peterson, 1B
Hubele, C
Allegra, RF
Sing, 1B
Geiger, C
Bass, 3B
Roberts, CF
Garcia (1-2, 5.60)
Mullins (0-0, 2.25)


What's This? Wow...

If you don't read Rick Chandler's weekly "Minor Enterprise" report over at Deadspin, you are missing out. More so though if you don't read this week's edition. If you go towards the bottom you will find this:
Blog Of The Week. Robert Lintott, a 21-year old music major at George Washington University, has started a blog dedicated to the Bowie Baysox (Class-AA Eastern League). A worthy subject, as it was the Baysox who gave us Office Space Night, as you'll recall. Check out his blog right here. Live blogging from the press box, with no NCAA interference! You go, America!
I am actually giddy at being mentioned in Deadspin. Just... wow. Thanks so much Rick! And be sure to read that every week, it's a necessity for keeping up on the wacky world of MiLB.

Agent 51? Part 2

This is Part 2 of my Ichiro-as-Gilbert post. Part 1 can be found here. Let me know what you think in the comments, have at me, rip away.


By now, everyone knows about the quirky Gilbert Arenas is (though some disagree). Not everyone, though, realizes that Ichiro brings nearly that same quirk to the table. First, a quick overview of some of Agent Zero's finer moments in quirkery (and if I haven't mentioned it, Wizznutzz gets credit for that amazing nickname):
  • Began yelling "Hibachi!" every time he made a shot.
  • Then replaced "hibachi" with "Quality Shot" during a Suns-Wizards game in 2006.
  • Won a $20,000 bet with teammate DeShawn Stevenson. The terms: Gil could hit more college 3's one-handed than Stevenson could hit NBA 3's two-handed. (One of the best videos ever)
  • Had his house converted to the atmospheric pressure of a Denver-esque altitude, so he could be "always above sea-level."
  • After hitting a game-winning 3-pointer claimed, "My swag was phenomenal!"
  • Sponsors his own video game team, the #1 Halo team in the world, Final Boss.
  • Had this amazing quote: “The hibachi is coming to a city near you. I’m cooking chicken and shrimp, but if you want to throw a double team my way, filet mignon gets cooked too"
Now, to Ichiro. The man has a knack for giving some of the best quotes of all time. I can't remember how many times I've had to instantly email my roommate after hearing an Ichiro quote which was better than the last. Highlights from his US career:
  • On a missed fly ball: "The ball became the same color as the sky, so I wasn't able to see it," he said through his interpreter. "It's not like I had my eyes closed."

    Then, he continued.

    "I was sending mental signals for the ball not to come my way because at that time of day, it is impossible for me to see. I was lacking mental signals. Usually, I don't think about these things, but this was the first time I said to the ball, 'Please don't come my way.'

    "I lacked mental signals and that's what I regret."
  • On how he convinced himself to get a hit: "Yesterday when I played, inside my head I said 'I want to go home quickly,' and I swung and I was able to get a hit because I wanted to go home," Ichiro said through a translator. "Today I thought, 'I want to hurry up and get something to eat,' and I swung and got a hit today."


    "That's true," he said in English, sporting a big grin
  • On breaking out of a hitting slump: "Yesterday, I ate two ice creams," he said through an interpreter. "Usually I only eat one."
  • On the city of Cleveland: "To tell the truth, I'm not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to," Ichiro said through an interpreter. "If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face, because I'm lying."
  • On coming to the states to play in the MLB: "When I came here to play, I didn't know where I would be or where I wouldn't be."
  • On fans at Wrigley: "Before the game started, the fans were nice and polite, and that was nice," Ichiro said. "But after the game started and they started drinking beer, lots of beer, their personality changed. And that was fun for me to see."
  • On the Tao of Ichiro: "I have many different Ichiros inside me," the center fielder said. "I'm always one of them. At different times, I have different personalities."
Clearly the man has a penchant for saying something absurd yet memorable. Just like Gil does. It's just one reason that the media and the public like him so much.

What does it Mean?

I find it impossible to think of anyone in Major League Baseball more like Gilbert Arenas than Ichiro. MLB could take a lesson from the NBA and try to learn from Gilbert. The NBA has worked quite hard to promote Gilbert this year, and interest was definitely up when he was playing. That interest = more TV Revenue, more ticket sales (across the league), and more money from endorsements (both for Gil and the league). The MLB ought to try the same thing with Ichiro. The problem for them will be convincing Ichiro to play along. He is notoriously focused on baseball, but of late has started to show a bit more of the public face he has in Japan. There, he hosts a game show, stars in ads, and has a museum dedicated to him. Maybe if baseball can tap into that personality, they can use Ichiro as a tool to help fans forget the steroid problems, the broadcasting rights issues, and just remember that baseball is supposed to be fun. It worked with Agent Zero, why not Agent Fifty-One?

Agent 51? Part 1

So I tried to pitch this to Agent Steinz over at the Sports Bog, and he heard me and thought someone else had done it better. And indeed, they did a fantastic job of compiling Ichiro quotes, but what about the "Ichiro is Gilbert Arenas of MLB" angle? This will be in 2 parts, as the quirky anecdotes section will probably be a bit long.

Free Agency

Both Ichiro and Gil are due for huge free-agent contracts in a very short time. Ichiro is looking to cash in big at the end of this year, and has raised speculation that he might command up to 20 million dollars per season. Where could Ichiro be heading? He very well may stay in Seattle, who has shown some playoff potential this year, but is nowhere near being the force they were in 2001 when Ichiro joined them.
ESPN's Buster Olney speculates that Ichiro could be signed by the Chicago White Sox, while bandying about the Braves and Rangers as other teams in the market for a CF. It's hard to tell what will happen right now because Ichiro isn't talking to the press. That puts the Mariners in a bind. If they are still contending, do they keep him in the hopes that he stays or do they trade him to get some much-needed pitching? If they keep him and he leaves, all the Mariners get is a compensatory draft pick, and that is no even deal. My guess though, is that the Mariners keep him and then ante up the big bucks to re-sign him this winter.

Gilbert, on the other hand, has been anything but coy. This past weekend he sent shockwaves through the NBA (and the blogosphere) by announcing that at the end of the 2007-08 season, he would opt out of his contract (rather than extend it) and become a free agent. Right now in the NBA a phenomenal guard is one thing every team is after. Even though the Spurs just won with great inside play, the Suns and Warriors set the tone that fast, uptempo guard-based play is incredibly marketable. And with his quirks (next post) and sometimes superhuman abilities, Agent Zero will command top dollar. The catch? He probably won't go anywhere, saying that this decision is purely a business one to get him the most money possible and a six-year deal.


Ichiro and Gilbert are in similar situations when it comes to their teams as well. Both are playing for teams that have shown a little spark, but generally are below elite level. For the Mariners of the past few years, that is an understatement. They sucked, pure and simple. Because of their roles as superstars, both have played essentially the same role for their teams. Ichiro hasn't been a vocal leader, but his on-field performance has kept the Mariners somewhat respectable. Some of his highlights have been his record 262 hits in 2004 (also earning the AL batting title that year, going .372), his streak of 6 consecutive 200 hit seasons, and his streak of 45 consecutive stolen bases. His play was always something to tune in for.

Gilbert hasn't played on a team quite as bad as the Mariners (the Wizards have been to 3 consecutive NBA playoffs), but he has helped make the team what it is. Throughout the nation, people tune in to see Gilbert play. There is always the potential for a game-winning buzzer-beater or some spectacular 3-point shooting. In addition, Gilbert has a great court vision and spectacular control of what's happening at all times. When he was injured this year, the Wizards began collapsing (albeit they were also missing fellow All Star Caron "Tough Juice" Butler) and couldn't avoid being swept by the LeBron James-led Cavs in the 1st round of the playoffs.

It's obvious that both players are the cornerstone of their teams. Without either play, each team could have easily sunk into obscurity; losing fans and revenue along the way. Both players are key to bringing in ticket sales, and both represent the public faces of their franchises.

Part 2 is coming shortly, keep checking in. And let me know what you think in the comments...

Upkeep Note

It's something I've given some thought to doing, and now with the urging of Jamie Mottram (also of AOL Fanhouse Fame) I've decided to expand this thing a little bit. You can still turn here for your Bowie Baysox updates, I wouldn't give that up for anything. However, I plan on taking the blog into some more baseball coverage, and maybe an occasional (alright, probably more often than that) foray into the wider world of sports. Bear with me on this one.

I really think that blogging is an amazing tool in the discussion of sports across this here interwebs, and I hope that I can eventually add something akin to what we have seen from the Sports Bog, The Fanhouse, Deadspin, Dan Shanoff, and more. If you are looking for a model on which I base the Baysox coverage (I could only hope to be as good as these guys) check out Lookout Landing and USS Mariner. Yeah, I know the Baysox are a Baltimore team, but I am a Seattle fan when it comes to the bigs. You now have the first 6 blogs I read every morning, and hopefully some idea of where I see this going. So, even if you are just here for the Baysox, stick around, that coverage isn't going anywhere. Hopefully though we will be joined by a broader base. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the ride.