I wanted to take a moment to wish all the moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day. In the sports world, we tend to overlook Mom in favor of Dad taking the kids to ballgames or coaching the little league team.
In my own childhood, my dad often had the glory, taking me to Orioles and Ravens games and coaching many of my teams, but my mom was right there at every game as my No. 1 fan. I sincerely thank her for that.
Now, on to the 5 Ws and 1 H for the week.
1. Who really deserves to be the Orioles’ closer at this point? The closer-by-committee idea sounds logical, but relievers have to be effective in order for it to work. The struggles of George Sherrill against right-handed hitting are well-documented (right-handers are hitting .378 against him), but no one else is emerging as a viable option.
Chris Ray (7.20 ERA) still doesn’t look right after returning from Tommy John surgery, Jamie Walker is really a one or two-batter pitcher at this point in his career, and Jim Johnson gave up the demoralizing three-run homer to Johnny Damon this afternoon.
Danys Baez has been the best of the bunch, but the team is hesitant to throw him into the role of pitching on consecutive days at this point. He has done a great job filling the role held by Matt Albers last season before he went down with a shoulder injury.
Then again, the club really doesn’t need a closer when the bullpen can rarely hold a lead into the ninth inning. One thing is for sure—the bullpen has been a major disappointment after looking like it might be one of the team’s strengths entering the season.
2. What do you think was going through the mind of Alex Rodriguez on Thursday when the news broke that Manny Ramirez was being suspended 50 games for failing a drug test?
Was A-Rod happy to have the attention deflected away from him, or did it bring more scrutiny for his return to the Yankees lineup?
3. Where will the Ravens go with the wide receiver position after trying out Jerry Porter, Kelley Washington, and Tab Perry this weekend? None of the three will be a savior, but it certainly seems more crucial to find another veteran option after learning Derrick Mason could miss the preseason after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Washington reportedly had the most impressive showing of the three, but Ozzie Newsome will continue to see who else might shake loose from the other 31 NFL teams between now and late July.
Anquan Boldin’s agent Drew Rosenhaus claims he still expects his client to be traded, but don’t look for the Ravens to make the move unless they can sign Terrell Suggs to a long-term extension. Suggs’ $10.2 million cap number makes a Boldin trade and subsequent new contract virtually impossible.
4. When will we see the next high-profile minor leaguer in Baltimore? Rich Hill—though not really a prospect—pitched six scoreless innings and picked up his first victory for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday.
We’ll have to wait and see on the status of Luke Scott (shoulder) and Lou Montanez (thumb) during Monday’s off day. Nolan Reimold (.381, 8 HR, 25 RBI at Norfolk) would figure to be on Andy MacPhail’s speed dial and is more than deserving of a promotion.
Matt Wieters is now hitting .301 despite only hitting one home run this season in Triple A. At this point, it seems the Orioles are content waiting until early June to promote the 22-year-old catcher to avoid Super 2 Status, preventing him from being eligible for a fourth year of arbitration before free agency. The recent hot streak of catcher Gregg Zaun—hitting .478 in May—makes the situation a little easier to swallow.
5. Why won’t Brett Favre just stay or go away? I have no problem with one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history wanting to continue his career; however, I grow tired of the drama over whether he will return or stay retired.
Here’s an idea: simply WAIT and THINK before making a life-changing decision, and stick with it when you finally decide. The drama that has unfolded since he retired from the Packers is more annoying than compelling.
Favre should have taken a lesson from Jonathan Ogden in handling a retirement. Though the circumstances were different with Ogden nursing a chronic toe problem, he waited and really thought about his future before finally retiring last June.
6. How are we going to make it to late July for the start of Ravens training camp? This weekend’s minicamp feels like such a tease for those of us craving football season.
It would certainly help if the Orioles could play competitive baseball until then, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to enjoy watching a team that’s 13-19 and cannot pitch at all. The promotion of young players like Wieters and Reimold will spark some interest, but will it be enough?