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  • Feb
    02

    Frobby: Reporting From Fanfest

    Written by Frobby

    Reporting from Fanfest, 2014

    Anyone who thought interest would be down is wrong. 9:40 and the line for early entry wraps 95% of the way around the Convention Center.

    Buck and Dan

    Dan: we still have work to do, want to sign a couple of pitchers. Our work is primarily on the pitching staff. 
    Buck, do you like having all this depth? We'll see -- it's a good thing to have Quality depth.
    Dan: I don't like the FA market. We will compete through farm system. 
    Buck: the most athletic group of outfielders we've had. Lough is a good outfielder with a good arm and plays the game the way we want it played.
    Dan: Told JJ Hardy we want to try to extend this spring. Tried twice with Wieters and once with Davis and really didn't get anywhere. 
    Buck re Walkace and Chiti: We liked the guys we had before..,but we needed to make some changes. 
    Dan says Lough is a better outfielder with a better arm and maybe a better hitter than McLouth, though less of a base stealing threat and less power. 
    Buck says Nick has worked to put on weight and is at about 220, thinks he'll run better, too.

    Dan pretty much acknowledged that Boras is an obstacle to signing Davis and Wieters. Seemed very pessimistic on that front.  Dan Duquette looks like Anakin Skywalker when his mask is pulled off at the end of Return of the Jedi. Man is he pale, almost green.

    Hobby Panel

    I won a Wei Yin Chen autographed ball for correctly naming the six Orioles who were Gold Glove finalists. 
    The "hobby" panel with O'Day, Flaherty, Hardy, Hunter and Tillman was very boring, certainly no news there except that Hardy and Hunter got married and Tillman got engaged.

    Dan and Buck II

    Thorne comments that Tommy Hunter said "I like to hunt" over and over in his interview. Buck: "Let's see if he likes to get left handed hitters out."
    Buck's wife said to him about ten days ago "don't you have somewhere to go?". That's why he has been married 31 years. 
    Point of emphasis (Buck): starters getting deeper in games.
    Dan very confident our MIL program is developing pitchers the right way to compete in big leagues -- well trained to change speeds and throw a breaking ball. 
    Dan ducks question about why they didn't sign BRob. Mentions again that they made a long term offer to Davis (sounds like this was more specific than the "discussions" about Wieters the last two years. 
    Buck is asked his opinion on platooning. He says neither he nor Dan like to see platooning in the minors. At the major league level, it's a way to keep the whole team involved. 
    Both like the new replay rule.
    Buck acknowledges that his players got a bit tired last year, wants more depth so he can rest guys more without a big drop off. But he likes the fact that his players "post up" and don't ask out. Pretty clear he wants to rest Wieters more this year.

    New Faces Forum -- Hendricks, Lough, Webb, Weeks


    Webb: chose to come here because it's a really good fan base and team and the defense is amazing. He saw the success Jim Johnson had here as a sinkerballer and he is a similar pitcher. 
    Lough: sees himself as similar to McLouth, a hard worker, gritty type player, always running hard. Hasn't stolen bases yet in the majors while getting his comfort level, but hopes to add it. Worked with Brett last year who taught him to relax.

    Pitching forum -- Wallace, Chiti, Matusz, Norris, Gausman, Gonzalez and McFarland

    Matusz still wants to start. 
    Wallace - pound the strike zone, command the fastball at major league quality, use secondary pitches in cripple counts. 
    Gonzo - has been throwing the split change since he was 13 years old "if it wasn't for that pitch, I wouldn't be here."
    All are asked what is the one pitch they'd like to master. they all mention secondary pitches. Chiti jumps in and says its the commanded fastball low and away. That sets everything else up. Wallace agrees and days if you can command fastball in all four quadrants it's like having four different pitches. The effectiveness of a great change up depends on when you use it.

    Hitter Forum

    Hitter's forum was completely worthless, not one good question or interesting answer. Presley said he doesn't want Jones to change his approach at all.

    Manny

    Manny doesn't seem 100% sure of starting on time. 
    A woman says she hears he's engaged but is he willing to reconsider. Manny mulls it over, grins and says, "thank you." Manny says he's happy playing 3B. "Hey, I won a gold glove there."
    I'm telling you, he's a rock star.  A huge crowd around the stage while he was up there.

    Nick

    Buck said was that Nick has trouble keeping weight on during the season, and usually starts the year at about 210 but finishes around 197. So, Buck's 220 means that he's about 10 pounds heavier than he usually is at the start of the season. To be honest, Nick wasn't dressed to show whether he's gained weight or not, but the bushy curly hair and beard alone are probably worth a couple of pounds.

    Scouting and development panel -- Calvin Maduro, Dean Albany, Kent Qualls 

    Albany sees each farm team play ten games and writes reports on every player, in addition to doing amateur scouting. Dylan Bundy is the best high school pitcher he has ever scouted. Bundy is really pumped for spring training. 
    Maduro saw Diaz twice and Reyes once before they were signed. He says being quick and aggressive is just as important as judging the talent. Qualls says the O's are very fortunate because the GM is directly involved in the international scouting and is very aggressive. Maduro adds that Ferreira has signed 66 major leaguers and Qualls adds that Duquette trusts Ferreira completely. 
    Qualls doesn't want an international draft because he feels the Orioles are more aggressive than most teams and have a competitive advantage there. Very interesting to hear this. 

    60th anniversary panel -- Billy Hunter, Jim Palmer, Al Bumbry, Joe Orsulak, Mike Bordick

    This was the most entertaining panel of the day. Palmer says, we'll win from within. He says we have the best core in MLB and if Wallace and Chiti can bring out the talent of the younger pitchers this team can win 95 games. Gotts love his optimism!
    Talk of superstitions: Bordick had to step on the cut between the dirt and the grass near 2B before every defensive inning, Orsulak didn't want anyone to pit their hands in his game glove and wouldn't let a pitcher touch one of his game bats. Billy Hunter as 3B coach always kicked the back of the 3B bag but he actually did it to knock the corner of the bag just a little over the foul line to try to get an extra hit or two.
    Bumbry told a story (prompted by weams' dad) about not wanting to push his helmet down over his Afro on the Saturday game of the week, and having the helmet slide over hid eyes while trying to steal second, so he slid about ten feet too soon.
    Palmer told about his first broadcast, with Howard Cosell. When Cosell asked Palmer if he was nervous, and he said yes, Cosell said, "don't worry, everyone who works with me becomes a star!". He does a pretty good Cosell imitation, too.


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