by Hoosiers

My 12 year old and I made our annual trip to Bmore from Jersey this weekend and watched the two blowouts. Mancini and Rickard looked all-world this weekend. I thought Gausman was lucky a few foul balls were not straight enough to be dangerous, but then he settled down after the KK no-doubter. Rays hitters really had trouble with Bundy’s curveball on Sunday – though all three HRs were no-doubt-about-it.

Random thoughts:

– Schoop looks like he is swinging for the fences a good portion of his ABs to me.

– The Rays 1-4 of Wendle, Duffy, Bauers and Cron looked pretty strong and then the lineup falls off a cliff. Wendle hit the ball squarely a majority of his ABs. Duffy has to be one of the thinnest hitters in the MLB – he needs to put on 20 lbs. Bauers looks the part of a future very good hitter. Carlos Gomez’s hat fell off with nearly every swing – boy did he look upset he wasn’t hitting Bundy..

– Don’t think I have ever seen a catcher chat more with the ump and the opposing hitters than the Rays’ Saturday catcher Sucre.

Tonight we caught our third game in three days in Staten Island as the Ironbirds are in town. For those who haven’t been or who live nearby, I think the ballpark is quite nice and has a beautiful view of the lower Manhattan skyline. I think it is an awesome setting for a game and the SI Yankees draw very poorly – rarely over 300 people in the stands. Usually, my son is the only kid wearing Os gear and the players really look out for him. Every year, I think these guys are nicer than the year before – asking his name, if he plays and my son chats it up with them – telling them he was just in Bmore and that we will see them soon in Brooklyn and Hudson Valley.

We sat right next to the Os dugout and chatted with several players in the on-deck circle. Thoughts on this game:

– Os LHP starter Hammonds was pretty strong despite throwing mostly between 85-87. I thought he had one 88. The hitters did not make strong contact most of the night and really struggled, as is common at this level, with the off-speed pitches. It is a shame there is not more velo there, because he looks the part otherwise IMO.

– The Ironbird defense looks like one of the best in recent memory. Adam Hall looked the part at SS – making every play he was involved with including starting two DPs. Willy Yahn made one nice diving stop and started a DP on another ball. Escarra at 1B looked pretty athletic. I think Jaylen Ferguson is probably an above average defensive CFer for this level and Austin Hays was in right. The best play of the night was an absolute screamer into the Ironbird dugout that Yahn caught bare-handed with his left hand.

– The two NYY pitchers were really bringing it – both with heaters from 92-95.

– Hays said he was feeling “much better” before the game talking with my son and I.

– It is hard not to like catcher Luke Ringhofer. He was the first Ironbird out of the dugout and he chatted up with my son for a couple minutes before heading down to warm up Hammonds. He had two mistakes on defense – one a catcher’s interference and another he pulled the 1B off the bag after a strikeout on the throw down to first. Luke looks to be playing so hard. IMO, he had one of the most hard hit balls to end the 8th – a rope right at the CFer.

I have created a monster regarding my son. He is a hustler at these games – walking away with a game used and then a warm up ball and three signatures (Boogs signed for everyone, then Trumbo and then McDowell) in Bmore. Tonight, he picked up four balls – two given pre-game, one foul ball into the dugout that was passed to him and Austin Hays picked my son out in his Os shirt about 15 rows up and threw him a ball after recording the final out on a fly ball to end one inning. One ball has about 20 signatures on it and then he had Hays and Hall sign separate balls. The highlight for him was an Adam Hall broken bat that my son asked for and Hall said he was already planning to give it to my son after the game. Sure enough, Hall came out and signed the bat and chatted for a few moments. It made my son’s night.

These are good guys the Os have drafted.

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Michael Williams has been an Orioles fan since the sixties when his family moved from Reading Pa to York Pa. Also, the Phillies and 1964. His Grandfather got the Chef Boyardee box seats and Mike was hooked. Brooks Robinson calls him not a fan, but a friend. He has been a member of the Orioles Hangout since early in the New Millennium and Managing Editor since 2011. Or so it seems. He lives in Harrisburg PA, down by the river. Not currently in a van.