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WillyM

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About WillyM

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 2/2/1949

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  • Location
    York County, PA
  • Favorite All Time Oriole
    Willy Miranda

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  1. I remember going to Opening Day in 1973, Orioles vs. Brewers, an absolutely picture-perfect Friday afternoon. I lived in Philadelphia at the time. I took the train to Baltimore and headed up to Memorial Stadium from the train station. I can remember that a lot of the trees along 33rd St. were decorated with posters made by local elementary school kids, all on the theme of "Welcome home, Orioles." It was a day when everything went right for the Orioles. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and ended up winning, 10-0. Dave McNally pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing only three hits, with no walks and one strikeout. Don Baylor went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and was a single short of hitting for the cycle - he had two doubles, a triple, and a home run in the game. The attendance was 26,543. I remember hearing that the Orioles' management was thrilled with the turnout. They had been expecting about 15,000.
  2. I was under the impression that Chris Davis was having a pretty darn good spring this year - showing good patience on pitches outside of the strike zone and generally making good contact when he swung, with nowhere near the strikeout rate he's displayed in recent seasons. The simulation seems to have given no credence at all to his offensive numbers in spring training this year. On the other hand, I can't find this year's spring training statistics on the Orioles' website. So I guess it's not surprising that the simulation gave little credence to statistics that weren't available.
  3. Here's some matchup information. The pitcher Toronto had in the game was Francisco Liriano, who had faced five batters and gotten them all out. In his last previous outing on Sept. 28, Liriano had pitched six scoreless innings against the Orioles. He was matching up really well against the Orioles' offense. Ubaldo Jimenez' last outing had been on Sept. 29 against the Blue Jays, and he had matched up really well against them, pitching six scoreless innings and allowing only one hit. Buck took the chance that Jimenez might be ready to match up well against the Blue Jays again, just like Liriano was matching up against the Orioles. Obviously, it didn't work. The last Oriole batter in that playoff game was Nolan Reimold, who pinch-hit for Hyun-Soo Kim. Liriano struck Reimold out. I suppose the imaginative thing for Buck to do would have been to send a different pinch-hitter up there instead of Reimold. After all, he had a guy on the roster with a career major league batting average of .625, with five hits, including a homer and a double, in eight at-bats. I am speaking, of course, of Zach (as he was then known) Britton. (Never mind the fact that he was a left-handed hitter and would have been facing a left-handed pitcher.) Think of it. Britton could have had the chance to hit a game-winning home run and then record a save in the same game.
  4. Ken Holtzman, though he had pitched fairly well for the Orioles in the early part of the '76 season, was getting near the end of his career (and besides that, his teammates couldn't stand him). He pitched OK for the Yankees in the balance of the '76 season, but only lasted another three years in the big leagues and was never that effective again. Grant Jackson went 6-0 for the Yankees in the rest of '76, but then was taken by Seattle in the expansion draft. He never played for the Mariners, as he was traded to Pittsburgh, but lasted another six years in the majors. Doyle Alexander had a lot left in the tank. He went 10-5 for the Yankees in the rest of '76, but was signed by the Rangers as a free agent during the offseason. I guess if his asking price was too high for the Yankees, it would have been too high for the Orioles. He continued to pitch in the major leagues until 1989. I knew a Yankee fan who was delighted with the trade, simply because it got Dave Pagan out of a Yankee uniform. Pagan went 1-4 for the Orioles in '76. Like Jackson, he was taken by Seattle in the expansion draft. He was out of the major leagues after one more season. Scott McGregor, Tippy Martinez, and Rick Dempsey were, of course, hugely instrumental in the Orioles' winning the World Championship in 1983. On balance, I'd have to say it was a trade that worked out well for the Orioles.
  5. I'll watch an occasional re-broadcast of an Orioles game from the past, although it seems that some games get re-broadcast over and over again. Back in 2018, my brother, who lives in Pittsfield, MA, told me that someone who lives up there had produced a documentary on the life of Mark Belanger, who was originally from Pittsfield. He had offered it to MASN but hadn't gotten any response. If MASN ever showed it during either the 2018-19 or 2019-20 offseason, it escaped my notice. I wonder, now that it may be quite a while before we have live baseball again, whether MASN might want to take another look at doing something other than re-broadcasts of games that have already been re-broadcast on numerous occasions.
  6. I remember going to a game at Memorial Stadium and getting a seat on one end of the first row, just to the left of the screen behind home plate. As infield practice was going on, Elrod Hendricks came over and started signing autographs for kids who were lined up in the aisle next to me. I didn't think it would be appropriate for me to ask for an autograph and make some kid wait while he signed for me, so I just let the kids get theirs. The first few kids brought their own pens, but then one just handed Elrod a sheet of paper. Elrod looked at him and said, "Did you think I brought a pen out to the field with me?" I had a pen in my pocket, so I said "Here, you can use my pen." He signed using my pen for a while, then said to me, "This is a nice pen. It fits my hand real nice. Would you trade it for a baseball?" I said that I would, but he laughed and said he was just kidding. Eventually the time came for practice to end, so he told the kids in the aisle that he was sorry, but he had to go back to the clubhouse now, so he couldn't sign any more autographs. And as the kids turned to go, he pulled a baseball out of his hip pocket, signed it, and gave it to me. He gave my pen back to me, too.
  7. I understand that Johns Hopkins University, scheduled to host first-round games in the NCAA Division III basketball tournament, decided to play the games in an empty gym. No spectators were permitted to attend, out of fear of possibly spreading the coronavirus. The Blue Jays, deprived of the fan support they might have expected, lost their first-round game to an unheralded Penn State - Harrisburg team. I hadn't heard about an alarmingly large number of coronavirus cases being reported in Baltimore. Is the situation there far worse than I thought? From an Oriole fan's standpoint, should I expect the Orioles to ban spectators from Camden Yards once the baseball season starts?
  8. WillyM

    Hammerin' Hank is 86

    I remember seeing Aaron collect the final extra-base hit and score the final run of his career. He was a youngster of 42 at the time. The Orioles' final home game of the 1976 season, on Wednesday night, Sept. 29, was against the Brewers, with whom Aaron concluded his career. A few days before the game, Brooks Robinson made a comment to the effect that he wasn't sure he would come back for the 1977 season. With the possibility that the Wednesday night game might be Brooks' final home game suddenly staring them in the face, the Orioles hastily announced that that game would be "Thanks, Brooks" night and encouraged fans to come out and give the Oriole legend what might be his last hurrah. The promotion wasn't terribly successful, as only 8,119 of us showed up at Memorial Stadium that night (thought that was a good bit better than the 4,598 who had attended the night before). Brooks played in the game and had an eighth-inning single, after which he was removed for pinch-runner Bob Bailor. Aaron had a sixth-inning double and came around to score the Brewers' fourth run of what wound up as a 6-3 Milwaukee victory. Bad Henry played one more major league game, that in the Brewers' home finale on Sunday, Oct. 3. He went 1-for-3, with a sixth-inning RBI single, after which he was removed for pinch-runner Jim Gantner. Hard to believe, but the attendance at County Stadium for Aaron's last game was a mere 6,858, fewer than had been at Memorial Stadium four nights previous.
  9. Perhaps the spring training caps are MLB's effort to help fans forget how awful last year's Players' Weekend uniforms were. 😝
  10. WillyM

    Retirement

    My pension plan was negotiated as part of a union contract. The union did very nicely for me. If I had gone with a single-life annuity without any guaranteed period, the benefit would have been equal to my final year's salary multiplied by 2.5% multiplied by my number of years of service. I retired with 20 years of service, so that would have been 50% of final salary. I signed up for a joint and survivor annuity with a guaranteed period, so the benefit is somewhat less than 50%.
  11. WillyM

    Retirement

    In an era where employers have by and large abandoned defined benefit pension plans, I'm not sure how much this advice is worth. However, when I retired five years ago, I had a defined benefit pension plan. The portion of the account that represented my employer's contributions was automatically applied to provide a lifetime income. For the portion of the account that represented my own contributions, I had an option. I could either apply that money to increase the lifetime income, or I could withdraw it and invest it in a traditional IRA account. I figured out that if I applied the money to increase the lifetime income, I would be earning the equivalent of four or five percent interest every year. People told me I would be crazy to apply it to increase the lifetime income. I was told nobody applies it to increase the lifetime income. If I withdrew it and put it in an IRA account, I would surely earn 10% return every year, at a minimum. Well, I withdrew the money and put it in an IRA account. Not trusting my own financial acumen, I got a financial professional to invest it for me. Five years later, the return on that account has averaged a little over 2% per year. My advice to anyone who's offered a similar option on a defined benefit pension account would be, unless you're certain that you are a financial wizard, apply your contributions to increase the lifetime income.
  12. I'm a Bills fan, and I'm still wondering about a penalty that was called at the end of the Bills' last offensive series in their game against the Texans last Saturday. The Bills had the ball around the Houston 45 yard line, third down and ten or eleven yards to go. Josh Allen dropped back, then started to scramble around to the right, where he had some running room. He made it to about the 38 yard line, where he was tackled, bringing up a fourth down and about four - or so it appeared. That would have brought up the possibility of the Bills going for it on fourth and four or trying to win the game right there with a field goal. A field goal attempt would have been from about 55 yards, which would be about as long a field goal as Stephen Hauschka has ever kicked - but he had been having a good day, so they might have tried it. But they couldn't, because a flag was thrown on Allen's scramble. The Bills were called for an illegal blindside block. Fifteen yards penalty made it third and about 25. One play later they had to punt, and then Houston marched down the field and set up the winning score. I've heard of holding. I've heard of clipping. I've heard of illegal blocks in the back. I've heard of illegal cut blocks. I've heard of illegal hands to the face. I've heard of illegal contact to the head. But the Bills blocker didn't do any of those things. He came from the side, as a Houston guy was pursuing Allen from behind, and pushed the Houston guy off balance, to break his stride so he couldn't continue his pursuit. What makes it all the more frustrating is that replay showed that the Houston guy who was blocked was looking at the Bills guy who blocked him. How can you hit a guy from the blindside when he's looking at you? I never heard of a penalty for illegal blindside block. Does anyone else remember having seen this call made before? Pardon my bitterness. I'm the type of fan who's still waiting for the umpires to reverse themselves and declare J. C. Martin out for interference in Game 4 of the 1969 World Series.
  13. The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported today that Billy Gardner Jr. will manage the Harrisburg Senators in 2020. His father played ten seasons in the major leagues, four of those with the Orioles. He won the award for Most Valuable Oriole in 1957, when he led the American League in doubles. Retrosheet and Baseball Reference refer to him simply as Billy rather than Billy Sr., perhaps because his major league playing career ended in 1963 and Billy Jr. wasn't born until 1966. I can still remember watching on TV as Billy settled under Hank Bauer's popup in shallow right-center to make the final putout that secured Hoyt Wilhelm's no-hitter on Sept. 20, 1958.
  14. Holmes played for the Orioles in 2000. He appeared in five games, all of them blowout losses. He pitched a total of 4 2/3 innings and compiled an ERA of 25.07. I guess his job as bullpen coach will be to tell the guys as they're leaving the bullpen "Whatever you do out there, don't do it like I did."
  15. IPad? What's an IPad? Bluetooth? What's bluetooth? Watch on my phone? Can't do it. I have a flip phone and a land line phone. I am still quite happy with MASN on cable.
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