Hello from the New Bird in the House
Hello to fellow Birds watchers from the newbie on the staff of Birds Watcher! Though I’m the new kid on the block, I didn’t just get kicked out of the nest a short time ago. Nope. In fact, it appears I’m old enough to be the father of the whole flock of other birds around here! But don’t be fooled – I may well be the coolest old dude you know!
Actually, I’m not THAT old. The last of my five sons is still in high school – at Williamsport High School in Williamsport, Maryland … near Hagerstown. I’ve not only been my kids’ dad, I’ve been their high school cross country coach. Though I did coach some of them in baseball as they grew up, their skill in the sport was much more obvious at running the bases than throwing or hitting a curveball. And though a part of me would have wished they could play college baseball as I did, they have all been great runners in track and cross country, even gaining thousands of dollars in scholarships. So, it’s all good!
What is a blog? A place to use up all the extra words a person has hanging around. And I have many things to say about the Orioles, so I’m pleased for this great format to get these thoughts out and write them down. I have previously written an independent blog about the Birds, but am pleased now to join this network of writers.
My first memories of the Birds were as a 4th-grader at Memorial Park on May 2, 1964 for a game with the visiting Cleveland Indians. Milt Pappas started for the Orioles that day, and even though the Orioles lost in the 13th inning, I was hooked for life as a baseball fan.
Two years later, I was in the right field bleachers for the 4th and final game of the 1966 World Series, won by the Orioles 1-0 on a Frank Robinson home run. I was pretty far away to see the homer particularly well, but the seats were perfect for watching Paul Blair bring a Dodgers home run ball back into the park with a grand leap at the center field wall.
For a decade or more, the Orioles got a bit trumped in my affections by the Phillies. I went to college in the City of Brotherly Love, and my first job after grad school was in the Phillies coverage area. (Now before you judge me too harshly on that, remember that this is before the internet and cable networks, etc.) But the past 18 years have brought me home to the Orioles and to life in the state of Maryland.
Nothing beats the beauty of baseball! And I am convinced there is an aspect of the game that can be used as a paradigm illustration of just about any principle of life! It is a part of the language: step up to the plate, keep your eye on the ball, don’t strike out, hit a homer, the bottom of the 9th, etc. Pure Americana!
I hope to bring some reasonably strong baseball analyses to these writings. I have a special interest in the strategic nature of the game: line-ups, match-ups, rotations, substitutions, etc. I also have a pet peeve about the use of pitchers – particularly relief pitchers – and subscribe to a general viewpoint that pitchers are more often pulled pre-maturely than extended too long. I have no patience for relievers who cannot throw strikes (can you feel the tension rising as that might be applied to the Orioles??), and I am a major skeptic of the concept of “the designated closer.”
So come along, let’s sit down together (preferably on the 1st base side, about 15 rows up), and let’s talk some Orioles baseball!