When I think of the New York Yankees, I think Derek Jeter. Talk to me about the Cardinals and Albert Pujols comes to mind. And when I think Brewers, I think Ryan Braun. But mention the Baltimore Orioles and what great name comes to mind?
Since Cal Ripken, there really hasn’t been a great Oriole. In 2010, the Birds sent a lone representative to the All-Star Game. Ty Wigginton, a hard working utility man no longer with the club.
Baltimore does have a decent looking team this year. A healthy Brian Roberts can get 180 hits and steal 30 bases. He may be the spark plug the Orioles lacked in the 1st half. Outfielder Nick Markakis tries to hit at least 43 doubles for the 5th consecutive year. Newcomer Vladimir Guererro brings something new to the lineup in Baltimore. Throughout his career and even in some preseason games this year, Vladimir has shown consistency in putting the ball in play when there are runners in scoring position. Adding Mark Reynolds and Derek Lee figures to finally enable the Orioles to swing with the great bats in the AL East.
On the mound, Jeremy Guthrie led the Birds with 11 wins in 2010 and he’s an innings eater. In his rookie year, Brian Matusz recorded 143 strikeouts and should improve upon that in 2011. Newcomer Zack Britton, who likely will start at least a short AAA assignment, really impressed this spring and figures to be a part of the Orioles’ starting rotation in the very near future.
For now, commercials and billboards all over town are featuring manager Buck Showalter as the face of the Orioles. Buck is known as a great motivator with a no-nonsense attitude. His outspoken remarks can be read in the April edition of Men’s Journal. Coaches coach and players play, but Buck has a reputation for pulling struggling teams out of despair and the new additions to the lineup this year have all of the hallmarks of a great season ahead.