This year, Opening Day is on March 29 – just 10 days away!! As always, the Baseball Sociologist counts down the days. This year, with start with #10, Adam Jones, center fielder for the Baltimore Orioles.
Wanna know one of the many cool things about Adam Jones? He is passionate about the city of Baltimore and wants to give back. One of Jones’ favorite charities is the Boys and Girls Club. Jones, a product of the Boys and Girls Club in San Diego, and the Orioles Charitable Foundation have donated thousands of dollars to the Boys and Girls Club in Baltimore. Last November, Jones held his 5th #StayHungry #PurpleTailgate event before a Baltimore Ravens game. The event collected over $100,000 for the Boys and Girls Club. Earlier in 2017, Jones donated $20,000 to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and provided free admission to children from a local youth program.
How many Major Leaguers were born in Ireland? Over the years there have been 43, although there are no current MLB players from Ireland. The first person from Ireland to play Major League Baseball was John Curran, from Dublin, Ireland. Curran played for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1876, appearing in only 3 games.
The most recent player born in Ireland was Joe Cleary, who was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1918. Cleary played 1 game with the Washington Senators in 1945, amassing an ERA of 189.19! According to Wikipedia, on August 4, 1945, Cleary came in as a reliever in the 4th inning of game 2 of a double header with the Red Sox. He gave up 5 hits, 3 walks, and 7 earned runs in 1/3 of an inning. One of the batters he faced, Tom McBride, batted in 6 of those runs.
Yesterday was our annual trip to the best ballpark for Spring Training: Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. The Baltimore Orioles had held their Spring Training games their since 2011, after signing a 30-year agreement to train at the stadium.
There are more pictures to come, but a preview is below.
Yesterday, we visited the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Spring Training home of the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. The Nats beat the Mets 7-4 with Max Scherzer pitching 5 innings, striking out 9 and allowing 1 run. It was a good game, but the ballpark itself was a bit of a letdown. I’ll write a more detailed review and post better pics later, but for now I’ll just give you a preview. Check out my pictures below.
And so the journey begins – Spring Training here we come! We successfully navigated the parking lot, security, and the line at Starbucks and are waiting impatiently at our gate. We got super cheap flights to Ft. Lauderdale and we have our tickets in hand. The only drawback so far is the swarms of spring breakers at the airport. But even that can’t keep us from our four top teams.
On deck tonight: Mets and the Nats. Tomorrow: Yankees at Orioles. My BBFF (best baseball friend forever) was born in New York. He can’t help it. I, on the other hand, have better taste.
I’ve alluded before to the tension between an Orioles fan and all things New York Yankees. But, I must admit, I’m softening in my old age. I mean, after watching some of the current Yankees grow up in the minors playing against my beloved Baysox, I’ve grown somewhat fond of the Baby Yankees. We’ve seen Austin Romine, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez. And now they have Giancarlo. And I do love Tanaka. They are no longer the despised Yankees of my youth. Of course, they did just let go of Danny Espinosa, so they’ll have to make up for that.
So, this week I’ll be sharing some pictures of my adventures in Spring Training.