The start of the spring baseball season has shown great potential for the Baltimore Orioles. Many life-time Catonsville students remember enjoying an O’s game with family, peanuts, and some Crackerjacks. It’s an exciting time for all the O’s fans out there who are hopeful for a path to victory this season.
“The games are a fun time for me. It’s fun to watch such good athletes have a good game and hang out with my friends,” freshman Orioles fan Eva White said.
And it’s not because the team keeps winning championships. The last time the O’s won the World Series of baseball was in 1983 by defeating the Philadelphia Phillies. This was also the year that Cal Ripken Jr., was named MVP. However, more recently, in 2012, the O’s did make it to the American League Division series, but lost to their rivals the New York Yankees.
“I love going to games. I like going with anyone who has a free ticket, that’s my first choice of who to go with,” said CHS teacher and long time O’s fan Doug Albright.
As of May 19, 2016, the Orioles are 24-14, with a home record of 17-7. They are currently leading the American League East, with the Boston Red Sox shortly behind. Surprisingly, the usual powerhouse NY Yankees have a record of 17-22 and are consequently trailing as the bottom of the division.
The Orioles lineup is what makes the team so great this year.
“I think we got a good offense and a strong defense behind us,” freshman Adam Carroll remarked.
Leadoff hitter and new recruit Joey Rickard (outfielder) has an on base percentage of .316. Getting on base is what allows for the rest of the powerhouse lineup to hit and score runs. Manny Machado (3B, SS) has 11 home runs, including 2 grand slams, and a batting average of .318 and is slugging .624.
“Manny Machado is awesome. He’s an all around good player, and one of the guys who’s been contributing a lot this year. If he can keep it up, along with the rest of the guys, I think the O’s will go far,” said freshman Anish Gandhi.
New outfielder Mark Trumbo has also been hitting quite a few “Trumbombs,” or smashing home runs. He currently leads the team with 12 homers. His batting average is .304, and has usually been the fourth or fifth hitter.
While Chris “Crush” Davis has had a good start in hitting, with 9 home runs, his defense has been amazing as well. As starting first baseman, his skill at stretching, picks, and diving for balls, is what makes him such a good defender.
Centerfielder Adam Jones is a solid defender: a four-time Golden Glove winner and five-time All-Star player. With his diving catches and a tremendous arm that is able to throw a runner out at the plate, Jones makes the Orioles’ defense that much better.
“Jones is my favorite player. He is just so good, and I think he has a lot to give to the team,” said White.
On May 1 against the Chicago White Sox, starting shortstop J.J. Hardy fouled a ball off his left foot, fracturing it, and is now out for 6-8 weeks. In his absence, 2013 Gold Glove third baseman Manny Machado will slide over to shortstop and recently utility players Ryan Flaherty and Pedro Alvarez have been rotating in at third.
“Starting pitching was a big problem last year, and that’s one of the reasons why we didn’t do so well last year. I think they’re doing good this year though and we can pull off some more wins,” Carroll explained.
Chris Tillman, All-Star pitcher and opening day starter, is currently leading in wins, with six in total, for the Orioles this season. He opened the season with a win, starting the Orioles on their 7-0 winning streak at the beginning of the season. Tillman also averages a pitch in the lower 90’s.
Ubaldo Jimenez, another starting pitcher from the Orioles bullpen, currently has two wins and four losses this season. He also, like Tillman, averages a pitch in the lower 90’s.
Orioles reliever Zach Britton has two wins and one loss, and has eleven saves this season. His 96 mph fastball is a natural sinker that forces the other team to strike out or hit easy grounders for the defense to get an out.
“If they pitch, they win. That’s what baseball is,” said Mr. Albright.
Because baseball is pretty popular in Baltimore, a lot of students have a favorite O’s player. These players may be a favorite because of their skill, their personality, or even their long-time on the team.
Here’s a look at some of CHS’s favorite ball players:
This All-Star game for the Orioles looks hopeful as well. Chris Davis, Jonathan Schoop, J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado, Matt Wieters, Pedro Alvarez, Adam Jones, Joey Rickard, and Mark Trumbo have all been nominated for the American League all-star team. If you want to support the O’s, you can click here and vote for your favorite player to be on the team.
“The O’s are looking good so far, but there is a long time from now to game 162,” Carroll said.