Free Baseball: “O, How I’ve Missed You” Edition

Once an Oriole, always an Oriole.

Here are some former Baltimore Orioles playing the game. Only their uniforms have changed.

(What, you thought I’d never mention Nick Markakis again just because he’s a Brave now? And, not share last night’s baby video with you? What do you think I am, some kind of monster?)

10th Inning ~ Nelson Cruz

Sure, Nelson Cruz was only an Oriole for a season, but his league-leading 40 home runs last year helped the Orioles go deep into October. Thank you, Nelly!

Cruz took those home runs and parlayed them into a juicy, rich contract from the Seattle Mariners in the off season.

He returned to Camden Yards this week.

His reception? A warm standing ovation from Orioles fans. (The smattering of “boos” you hear are actually fans yelling “Cruuuuzzz,” just like they did all last season.)

nelson cruz

Watch here.

O’s fans didn’t begrudge Cruz his single. They weren’t quite as happy about his home run in his next at-bat, but they probably weren’t all that surprised.

11th Inning ~ Nick Markakis

I’m still sad about longtime Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis leaving for the Atlanta Braves this season.

I wouldn’t say he’s irreplaceable in right, but so far the O’s have tucked Delmon Young, Travis Snider, Steve Pearce, and Alejandro De Aza over there, and it’s just not the same.

Markakis is doing a-ok over in Atlanta. And, last night, after chasing a foul ball, he stopped to greet a young Braves fan. Watch here.

nick markakis

I still miss you, Nick.

Look close and you’ll see a bonus Oriole! That’s former Oriole closer Jim Johnson on the mound handily getting through a clean 8th inning in the Braves win last night.

12th Inning ~ Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta had a challenging few seasons in Baltimore. Everyone insisted he had the talent, but he just couldn’t get it together when it came time to pitch.

Arrieta is the perfect example of how a change of scenery – and a burst of facial hair – can make all the difference. Traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2013, he’s thrived as a go-to starter.

On May 12 he shut down the Mets with 10 strikeouts in a 6-1 victory. Watch here.

(Fun Fact: Earlier this month, the Orioles tried twice and couldn’t beat the Mets.)

arrieta

If solid starting pitching isn’t your bag, try these cubs instead …

bears

Six bear cubs at the Wildlife Center of Virginia goofing off on the live Critter Cam. Watch here.

They are adorable. Almost as adorable as that Nick Markakis video from last night.

(Almost.)

______________________________________

Free Baseball refers to the extra innings that come after a nine-inning game ends in a tie. Here “Free Baseball” are the extra things that don’t quite fit into my regular-sized posts.

7 thoughts on “Free Baseball: “O, How I’ve Missed You” Edition

  1. Given the vagaries of the trading business, is it too far-fetched to think some of these gone-but-not-forgotten players might turn out to be homing pigeons — oops, homing Orioles?

    • Steve Pearce, who has played in the outfield, as well as first, second, and third, for the Orioles is the perfect “put me where you need me” guy. He’s also circled back to the Orioles a couple times just like a homing pigeon. Here’s his travelogue since 2007: Pirates, Twins, Yankees, Orioles, Astros, Yankees, Orioles, (Almost signed by the Blue Jays), and Orioles. Hopefully, he’ll stick here for good now! :)

  2. I love your loyalty. I’m a sucker for Marco Estrada and Rickie Weeks, always was and always will be because they once contributed to the Brewers and well.. Cripes, they could be on Otto’s beer emporium softball team and I’d want to know their stats!

    • I’m still brokenhearted by Mike Mussina going to the Yankees 15 years ago. I’m pretty sure he’ll make it into the Hall of Fame eventually … now, I’m just steeling myself for the reality that they’ll probably put a Yankees cap on him in Cooperstown. God, it even hurts to just write that.

      Andrew Miller pitched only 19 innings as an Oriole and I’d probably invite him back to an O’s reunion, too.

      (I’ve always thought it was sweet that Gaylord Perry would show up at oldtimers games wearing a uniform that included the logos of every team he played on … something like 8 different teams. I guess he was loyal to everybody!)

      • I guess players will do just about any kind of hob nobbin and what not to get into the Hall of Fame or maybe I’m a foul ball and Perry had already been swarmed in by the time of the Old Timers Tour?

        I enjoyed the Bert Blyleven’s “vote me in or else” campaign and to think, that guy wore t-shirts saying, “I like to fart” but it worked. He got in. So much for “the waiter practicing politics while the HOF crew goes numb.” I think I stole that from Billy Joel. (insert smily face)

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