To quote Jim Nantz let me start by saying “hello friends”. It’s been a busy day and internet access has been hard to come by on the road and at work. It was another typical “Way Back” Wednesday for me at the Fox 1370 studios. The phone lines were jacked all day and oddly enough it wasn’t related to the Baltimore Ravens for most of the day. The majority of topics and phone calls were about the Orioles and how they may structure the line up and other possible moves. For me personally, it was refreshing to hear some optimism and excitement from fans towards the O’s. I don’t know about anyone else but I get tired of the complaining, the bitterness, and the lack of respect towards the game itself. Granted, its been 12 plus years of losing for the O’s and if I were a fan I would be frustrated but not to the degree that I’ve seen and heard around town in the past. I’ll say this about the O’s and how they are going about the building process. For the first time in recent years, the O’s have a plan. Andy MacPhail arrived in 2007 and since that time he’s had an idea. That idea turned in to a plan, and now that plan is beginning to take shape and as a result the Orioles and their fans are starting to see the benefits. I know its difficult and may take some time but trust him folks, he knows what he’s doing.
That brings me to my next point. As I was sitting in the studio today receiving the calls, I listened to a number of the callers continually talk about how many home runs each guy can potentially hit. More specifically the potential 3-4-5 in the batting order: Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters, and Adam Jones. I sat and listened and repeatedly seemed to hear: “Oh, Nick can hit 25 and Wieters will hit 15, but Jones is the one with 25-30 home run potential.” Folks, I realize home runs are sexy and they are the fastest way to score runs but stop and think for a second. We are in a different era now. The game has changed. You’ve got to find other ways to create runs and score. Home runs are great but they aren’t the only means to winning. Just keep that in mind. Sometimes the fascination with the long ball really gets me. Judging by the callers I heard today, Chicks aren’t the only ones who dig the long ball.
I mentioned Johnny Damon’s availability yesterday and suggested the idea with each day that passes it become more likely that Damon would return to the Bronx. Well, so much for all of that. The Yankees seem to have found the outfielder that will presumably platoon with Brett Gardner in left by reaching an agreement with veteran Randy Winn as first reported by the New York Post. It is a one year pact worth approximately $2 million dollars. At first glance, it looks like a curious move at best for the Bombers. Winn is coming off of a down year hitting .262 with 2 HR and 51 RBI for the San Francisco Giants in ’09. It’s obvious here that the Yankees are hoping for a bounce back year from Winn. Furthermore, his splits aren’t great as explained explained here by Chad Jennings of the Journal News. Winn can certainly help the Yankees. He is considered an exceptional corner outfielder with the ability to play center field if needed, plus he is a high-percentage base stealer. Winn was successful in 16 out of 18 tries last year for San Francisco, and has stolen 56 bases and been caught seven times over the past three years. (As stated in the article by The Post)<em> Joel Sherman believes that the Yankees remain hopeful to reach a minor-league agreement with a righty-hitting outfielder who does well against southpaws, with Rocco Baldelli a possibility. It seems to me the Yankees are content to use several pieces in the outfield which is similar to what was during the championship run of the ’90s with the likes of Chad Curtis and Shane Spencer manning the corner outfield spots. No doubt Johnny Damon will be missed on the field as well as the clubhouse but baseball is a business and his demands were beyond the Yankees financial limits. As I stated yesterday, I’m ok with the Yankees going in this direction. It might not be the popular decision among Yankees Universe but its one we better get used to.
Speaking of Damon, Joel Sherman of The Post is also reporting that the Tampa Bay Rays have emerged as a dark horse candidate to sign him. It’s an interesting fit considering Damon lives in the Orlando area. I would think Damon would be used as a primary DH and occasional left fielder even if the Rays have to hang on to Burrell. We’ll see what happens in the coming days and weeks but hopefully he will end up somewhere and be happy. Heres to you Johnny, best of luck.