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Baltimore Sports Then and Now

Can the Orioles Keep Up Their Early Season Magic? 24

Posted on June 10, 2012 by Dean Hybl

Late game celebrations have been a regular occurrence for the Baltimore Orioles is 2012.

If you are under the age of 35 you may find it hard to believe, but for nearly two decades, the Baltimore Orioles were the class of Major League Baseball and terms such as “The Oriole Way” and “Oriole Magic” were just as familiar to baseball fans as “Red Sox Nation” is today.

With the 2012 season now nearly a third of the way complete, it is way too early to declare Baltimore “back” among the upper echelon teams in baseball, but for the first time in quite a while the future in Baltimore does appear to be promising.

Following back-to-back extra inning victories over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Orioles sport an impressive 34-26 record and are right in the mix of the highly competitive American League East.

The hot early start is definitely a reason for fans of a franchise that hasn’t posted a winning record since 1997 to be excited, but this is not the first time in the last 15 years that Baltimore has teased fans into June.

In 2005 the Orioles had a 42-28 record on June 21st and a two game lead in the AL East. A 3-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays the next day started a stretch in which Baltimore lost 11 of 14 games and 60 of their final 92 games to end with a 74-88 record and 21 games out in the standings. Read the rest of this entry →

Spring Training Is Underway For The Orioles 227

Posted on February 24, 2012 by Ryan Heller

With spring training underway, the Baltimore Orioles look to change the script in baseball this season.

The Orioles arrive at spring training, with the Orioles in the confines of Ed Smith Stadium they hope to use the great scenery to their advantage.

A lot of changes were made in the Orioles organization. With Andy MacPhail leaving, the Orioles brought in Dan Duquette to take over his position as President of Baseball Operations. Soon as Duquette joined he started making more changes himself. He brought in two foreign arms in Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada.

With the signing of Chen the Orioles should have a great veteran left hander for their starting rotation. Chen is the first Taiwanese player in Orioles history and wants to prove he belongs with the Orioles. He is also happy with the change of scenery and hopes to make a difference for the Orioles.

The signing of Wada also brings another veteran arm for the Orioles starting rotation. Wada had great success pitching in Japan. He had a winning record and helped Japan to a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics. His success should bold well for the Orioles in their return to greatness.

He signed Wilson Betemit off the free agents list. Wilson should be a great fit for the Orioles. He should be able to fit well at third base and all over the infield, but should be a great designated hitter.

Duquette added some more arms, which should help the Orioles this season. One more big change he made was trading Jeremy Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies. Guthrie was a great pitcher for Baltimore, but his trade brought in two good arms to help in Matt Lindstrom and Jason Hammel.

There are a lot of question marks coming into this spring training for the Orioles.

One of the main questions is who is going to play second base? With the health of Brian Roberts uncertain, the Orioles may have to look elsewhere for second base. Robert Andino helped the Orioles at second base last season, so he might be a great choice for the Orioles at second base this season.

Also the pitching staff is in question coming into this season. The starting rotation should be strong, but it’s just a matter of sorting through all the starting pitchers that are in camp.

The bullpen should be strong as well; just finding the pitchers for the back end of the bullpen is going to be tricky.

The Orioles have plenty of options for the pitching staff, so they have choices. The Orioles pitching coach just has to choose the right choice for each part of the pitching staff. If the right choices are made, then the Orioles should be successful this season.

Once spring training is over, the question marks should be answered.

The changes the Orioles made this off-season should play out in the regular season. For now the Orioles are in spring training and working on turning these changes into a successful season.

Picking the Baltimore Orioles “Dream Team” 51

Posted on September 23, 2011 by Jeff Herbst

You can't have a Baltimore Orioles Dream Team without Brooks Robinson.

The Baltimore Orioles as a franchise has seen outstanding teams in the past, and several players who have been inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. The Oriole Way was proudly displayed by several players who did the city proud over the years.

We will take a look at some of those terrific Orioles’ players, and select a starting lineup for an all-time Orioles dream team.

Catcher: Chris Hoiles
This may just be the one position where the Baltimore Orioles have never been seriously blessed with great offensive talent. There have been some stellar defensive catchers through the years (Andy Etchebarren, Elrod Hendricks), but very few with the ability to produce consistent offense.

We give the nod to Chris Hoiles. In a ten-year career spent entirely with the Orioles, Hoiles hit 151 home runs with a .262 batting average, and was the anchor behind the plate for the Orioles during their last two playoff seasons in 1996-1997.

First Base: Boog Powell

For the first 14 seasons of his 17-year career, John Wesley “Boog” Powell represented the Baltimore Orioles with class and dignity, and provided an outstanding bat in the lineup. Powell was voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player award in 1970, and was a member of four All-Star teams.

Powell won two World Series during his time with the O’s (1966, 1970), and even today is still a revered figure in the Baltimore area. Read the rest of this entry →

The Season Begins With A Tough Task At M&T Bank Stadium: Baltimore Ravens Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers… 60

Posted on September 09, 2011 by Ryan Heller

The Baltimore Ravens off-season was heartbreaking and uplifting.

All The Off-Season Moves Are Done, Now It's Time To Get The Season On The Way.

With the departure of key players such as the beloved Todd Heap. Others included Derrick Mason, Willis McGahee, Kelly Gregg, Dawn Landry and Le’Ron McClain. This brought a lot of questions from the critics and heartbreak to the fans.

The arrivals answered some of these questions and put hope back into the fans hearts.

The draft brought cornerback Jimmy Smith and wide receiver Torrey Smith, these two players are going to make an immediate impact.

After the lockout ended the Ravens signed veteran fullback Vonta Leach. Leach should help fill the spot left by McClain, the two fullbacks’ have two different styles and I think that Leach will fit well as a Raven.

The Ravens signed Bernard Pollard to replace Dawan Landry. Pollard ‘the angry man’ should fit well with the defense, as he is a hard hitting safety that plays hard every down. With the nickname angry man what do you expect?

The Ravens would trade for Lee Evans, who should be a step up to Mason in the regard to speed and stretching the field. Evans should provide a part to the offense, that the Ravens have so desperately needed.

The Ravens would also add some players that have showed talent during training camp and the preseason. So when the Ravens take the field you will see some new faces, there is no need to panic because they are here to compete and help the Ravens win some games.

The lockout has affected all of the Ravens players, but that has not stopped them from getting ready for the season. The Ravens showed a lot of effort and determination during traning camp. The preseason had a very good showing of promise with the young guys who took the field and also the veterans showed that they are ready to have a successful season.

The preseason is over and the 53-man roster is set, now it’s time for the Ravens to get geared up and play some football.

With the NFL season slated to start this upcoming Sunday, the Ravens are looking to finally dismantle the Pittsburgh Steelers and put an end to the non-believers.

The Ravens game plan is simple, tire out the Steelers defense. The way this can be accomplished is the Ravens have to convert more third downs and keep the offense on the field. The game plan should also help the defense as well. This will keep the defense fresh when the time comes for them to hit the field.

These two teams know each other very well, and they surely don’t like each other when it comes to what goes down on the field. So look for both teams to give all they got in this brutal battle of football gladiators.

The Ravens are coming into this game healthy and ready to fight for a win. The Steelers are a little banged up, but who isn’t in this game. They should be ok, as they surely are going to bring their A-game just like the Ravens. The past games will not have much effect on this game and the teams in it, as both the Ravens and Steelers are looking to Sunday and what that game has to offer. This game is surely going to offer a lot, as this is a division game that is going to showcase a lot of jolting hits.

This game is very important for the Ravens, as they have had struggles against the Steelers.  The Ravens want to look past their struggles, and get an edge in the division and get a step on the Steelers. This can be possible if the Ravens fight throughout the game and keep to their game plan.

It’s not going to be an easy task, as the Steelers are a tough team to have success against. Plain and simple the Ravens are not the only team that has fits against the Steelers, it happens throughout the league.

This game is going to have a lot of excitement. With the hard hits, trash talking, and straight smash mouth football. Both teams are going to be fighting for every yard and taking anything they can get. Whatever team that can keep the fight raging is going to come out of this victorious.

It’s enough of me talking, it is just time to sit back and get ready to watch a huge rivalry between two teams who have the weapons to make this a brutal battle in the AFC.

Season Preview:

The Ravens have a couple of tough games this season.

The games include opponents such as the New York Jets, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and the San Diego Chargers. The Jets and the Steelers games should be great when it comes to defensive oriented games. The Colts are still a risky team to play, even if Peyton Manning plays or not. The Chargers game should have some effect in the AFC, as both the Ravens and the Chargers are two teams that will probably make a run in the playoffs.  One other game that will be fun is the San Francisco 49ers game, as it puts the Harbaugh brothers against each other. It all comes down to which brother wants the bragging rights in the family.

Below is a link to the full schedule:


Mike Flanagan: One of the Birds of Baltimore 33

Posted on August 26, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Mike Flanagan won 141 games pitching for the Baltimore Orioles.

As a lifelong fan of the Baltimore Orioles it was such sad news hearing that one of the long-time faces of the O’s, Mike Flanagan, passed away this week at the age of 59. It was even sadder hearing that his death was result of a suicide.

Regardless of the circumstance of his death, Flanagan will be fondly remembered by Oriole fans for his performance as a player, broadcaster and member of the local community.

From the 1960s through the mid-1980s the Orioles were the most consistently successful team in Major League Baseball thanks to a focus on building through the minor league system, pitching and defense. Known as the “Oriole Way”, this focus resulted in three World Championships, six World Series appearances and 18 straight winning seasons.

A seventh round draft pick of the Orioles in 1973, Flanagan epitomized the Orioles during their era of success. As a homegrown product, he made his major league debut in 1975 and moved into the starting rotation in 1977.

After a 15-10 record in 1977, Flanagan won 19 games and was named to the All-Star squad in 1978.

In 1979, Flanagan replaced Jim Palmer as the ace of the Orioles’ pitching staff and won the American League Cy Young Award with a 23-9 record and 3.08 ERA. Baltimore reached the World Series that season and Flanagan went 1-1 as the O’s lost in seven games. Read the rest of this entry →

Happy 70th Birthday to Baltimore Orioles Legend Boog Powell! 29

Posted on August 17, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Happy 70th birthday to one of the all-time great Orioles.

The Baltimore Orioles of the 1960s and early 1970s boasted a roster busting with stars from top to bottom. While Brooks and Frank Robinson were the two best players on the team, the most imposing figure was a 6-foot-4, 240 pound first baseman who hit towering home runs and picked throws out of the dirt with ease. It was that player, Boog Powell, who became a favorite to many young fans, including myself.

It is hard to believe that today is the 70th birthday for one of the great sluggers of his era and we at Sports Then and Now want to wish a Happy Birthday to one of our all-time favorite players.

Given the super-sizing of professional baseball players in recent years, Powell’s size may no longer seem all that special, but in the 1960s and 1970 when most players were shaped like string beans, Powell was hard to miss. With tree trunks for arms that looked even larger when wearing the Orioles tight fitting gray uniform top, he spent more than a decade launching mammoth home runs and playing first base for the Baltimore Orioles.

A fair-skinned giant with reddish hair, Powell looked like a farm boy from the Midwest, but actually was born in Lakeland, Florida and grew up in the Sunshine State. Though his given name was John Wesley Powell, he earned the nickname “Boog” as a kid due to his mischievous nature. He seemed to always be getting into something and became known as Booger, as in, “What’s that little Booger doing now?” The nickname was eventually shortened to Boog, probably around the time he got big enough to beat the snot out of anyone who would dare call him Booger.

Powell’s prowess on the baseball field was evident from an early age. In 1954 he was part of the Lakeland Little League squad that played in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Signed as a free agent by the Baltimore Orioles in 1959, Powell quickly made his way to the majors. He led the International League in home runs in 1961 and made his major league debut that September.

The next season he became the starting leftfielder for the Birds and was an important reason the Orioles were steadily moving from perennial doormat to contender in the American League. Powell blasted 25 home runs in 1963 and the following season hit 39 homers and led the American League with a .606 slugging percentage despite missing several weeks with a broken wrist. Read the rest of this entry →

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