Posted by The Player’s Tribune on Friday:
Whether you want to or not, you do serve as a role model. People will always put more faith in baseball players than anyone else. ~ Brooks Robinson
“Robinson’s warm personality wins him as much respect as his competitiveness and courage. He does nothing for effect. Bill Tanton, columnist for the Evening Sun, recalls the time he was on hand when Brooks went on a bowling party with some multiple sclerosis patients. ‘I’ve seen athletes in such situations before,’ Tanton says, ‘and the atmosphere is usually strained or even maudlin. But this time, everyone was at ease. You could tell Brooks was genuinely enjoying himself and, of course, they all adored him. He kidded them, and they kidded him right back—especially about his getting bald.'”
Robinson was an All-Star 18 times, won 16 gold gloves, won numerous other awards, and was even memorialized in a Norman Rockwell painting and highlighted in the Catholic Review. Not bad for a kid from Little Rock, AR.
A few years ago, I went on a pilgrimage to Little Rock to walk in the steps of the great Brooks Robinson. There were no big plaques or signs to let us know he’d grown up there. But what else would you expect from our quiet, unassuming here.
Happy Birthday, Brooks!
PS Check out the footage of Brooks at work:
And there’s this great comparison between Brooks and Manny:
This is a great infographic from the Orioles providing stats on the first 2,000 games played at Camden Yards:
The Baseball Hall of Fame posted this yesterday and, well, it’s Cal – so I had to share:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As the Baseball Sociologist, I am deeply concerned about what happened in Boston Monday night during the Orioles-Red Sox game. I am also concerned about the way it was covered in the media. As an Orioles fan, I am even more upset. Don’t mess with Adam Jones. Or anyone on my team.
I’m still pondering the media coverage, and will comment more on that at a later date. But I wanted to share one thing that appears to have been largely overlooked in the coverage of all this: a simple tweet by Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts:
A few hours later, Boston fans warmly welcomed Adam Jones to the field:
I don’t know how many folks were responding to Betts’ tweet, how many were simply applauding because everyone else was, or how many were truly sorry for the actions of a few bad people.
But at least it’s a start.
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.
Mine was pretty good … the O’s won, the Nats won, and I took the day off from work in honor of this most important national holiday. Let me know how yours was in the comments section!
Still reeling from a great day, I thought I’d just post this photo I took I took last year near Nats’ Park….
Happy Baseball Season!