The longer I study the Orioles’ minor league teams, the more I wonder about all the roster moves and how it affects the players and fans. On Saturday, I was surprised to see that Henry Urrutia was not on the roster when I went to see the Norfolk Tides at the Charlotte Knights. Then I found this tweet:
You see, I didn’t see that part about the IronBirds, at first. So, immediately I searched the roster of the Bowie Baysox on the MiLB First Pitch app. The Orioles had outrighted Urrutia to Bowie last year, so I thought maybe he’d just ended up back there. But he wasn’t on the Bowie roster. So I checked the Frederick Keys, the Delmarva Shorebirds, and then the Aberdeen Ironbirds’ rosters. No Henry.
Where was Henry? What happened to Henry? What did they do to Henry?
I was beginning to think it was some sort of a conspiracy. After all, the O’s had recently released fellow Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez. After he got hurt. After the O’s tried to convert him to a pitcher. After it was announced he needed Tommy John surgery. Poor guy gets sidelined and the O’s cut him. (But more on him later.)
It was eventually brought to my attention that – despite my inability to find him on the IronBirds’ roster – the original tweet that had started my feverish search for Henry Urrutia had indeed stated he was on the IronBirds’ roster. I checked First Pitch again and realized they only had two outfielders listed, and since they don’t start play until mid-June, maybe updating the app was not a priority.
I was happy to see this tweet on Sunday:
The Tides’ box score did confirm that Henry played in yesterday’s game. He was a pinch hitter. He didn’t get a hit, and the Tides lost, but at least he got in the game.
I’m a little sensitive about my players, you see. The Orioles like to manipulate the rosters of their various minor league teams. A lot. And I’m still a little annoyed that Pedro Alvarez was sent to Norfolk this year to learn the outfield. He was a major leaguer for the Pittsburgh Pirates for more than five years. Last year, playing part-time with the O’s he still managed to hit 22 home runs. Pedro does not belong in AAA.
Which brings me back to Dariel Alvarez. Two days after his release, the Baltimore Sun attempted to humanize the Orioles by saying that Alvarez could come back. The Orioles are interested in signing him to a minor league contract if he clears waivers. It’s the least they could do. I hope they at least pay for his Tommy John surgery. That minor league contract better not be a huge pay cut, though.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that with everything going on in baseball, it’s hard to get the whole story. Baseball sociology requires more than just rosters, box scores, and stats. To know how society impacts the sport, and how baseball impacts society, we need to dig deeper. We need to know more of the story.