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The Orioles just keep on winning


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Our baseball insider Luke Jones joins Nestor to discuss this Orioles homestand, more winning baseball and the return of Cedric Mullins and arrival of Jordan Westburg.


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Luke Jones, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

W n s t Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are positively into another Maryland crabcake tour week we’re going to be at families I got my family’s gear on. Always say might be the last time in the old lights in the market. My wife actually had a lunch there this weekend and at the old Lexington market next the new Lexington market will be there from Thursday morning at nine till about noon. I think it’s gonna be last night at the old market. It’s all brought to you by our friends at the barrel a lottery monster 50th anniversary scratch offs to give away as well as our friends. And when donation 8669 donation I’ll have the floppy hat on I wore the bucket hat last week. And we had a really really good time and I’m really looking forward to folks hearing our conversation at spirits West in lieu of football conversation this week because Luke is not going out to Owings Mills. He’s doing all things Orioles this week. I bring Luke Johnson he is Baltimore Luke you can find him Luke at wn St. dotnet Oreo baseball all weekend, dude, I went down to Southwest Baltimore I was in Wilkins Avenue over spirits West. Everything in the joints, Oreos, Oreos. Orioles, had a great conversation with Chad we slink chat, of course is the agent for Josh Jacobs. I thought he was gonna talk a little bit of football. Next thing I know he’s wearing his child’s play shirt. We’re doing heavy metal Baltimore reunion stories and seeing bands on hills and stuff like that. So make sure you check that out. Because Luke has said to me, he’s boycotting all NFL talk for the next four and a half weeks until he has to talk about it every minute of every day. Happy baseball season to you. It’s not often you and I get together in late June. And the ravens are taking a nappy nap and the Orioles are beyond irrelevant. Really. I don’t want to say surging, but you know, every single day they make another case for why you’re there why we’re here and why we believe they’re gonna be playing baseball in October.


Luke Jones  01:51

No question about it and not so much surging, but you look at where they were around Memorial Day. Remember, they lose Cedric Mullins and I mean, he had been their best player and you’re thinking how are you going to replace this guy? How are you going to tread water? And well, they’ve been able to tread water and they’ve done a nice job. And we’ve seen Aaron Hicks step up. We’ve seen Ryan O’Hearn step up in place of Ryan mountcastle. And Austin Hayes has had an all star caliber season and you look at this team, and we talked about this after they went through their gauntlet of May where they did so well. And they’ve been in that neighborhood of being 1516 1718 games above 500 for a while now. That’s where they’ve been. And every time you you feel a little concerned, you know, middle relief for bottom of the order in the middle infield not giving you much or you lose a couple games you’re

Nestor Aparicio  02:42

already get your ass kicked 13 to one right, exactly.

Luke Jones  02:45

And you’re and you’re wondering, okay, is this going to be the start of a little bit of a slow period for them. And well, as was the case over the weekend. They bounced right back and they get a walk off home run from Ryan McKenna on Saturday. Our latest example of an unlikely hero. And then on Sunday, mean Kyle Bradish Excellent. Anthony Santander flashing leather robbing a home run in the first inning and then hitting another home run later in the game. And they just they got a big hit from Anthony Ben. Boom. Drop the ball in the right field, Eddie, baby. Yeah, so I mean, it’s just, it’s uncanny. We’ve talked about it, they haven’t had these, these real long winning streaks of late per se. But every time they lose a game, maybe they lose two in a row. And you’re thinking, okay, is this the start of a little bit of a law? They come right back and this weekend against Seattle was a perfect example of that where they get embarrassed on Friday night. I mean, just ugly, ugly performance, Kyle Gibson was bad. They made you know, they did not help them out with a couple of defensive plays. We saw some bass running miscues over the course of the weekend. So it wasn’t perfect baseball, but they were able to put Friday behind them very quickly. And then you win another series. I mean, what more can you ask for the net? You just keep winning series. Now it doesn’t have to be these long, extended winning streaks, but they’ve avoided being swept to this point, you know, you have to go back to early last season. For that to happen to them. Since Adley, rutschman arrived. And, you know, they just they win series, they have minimize the, you know, losing a game here or they’re losing two in a row, maybe they haven’t. Now, they’ve only lost three in a row once all year. I mean, it’s just it’s a formula that adds up to a team, not just being pretty good, not just being in wildcard contention. It’s the kind of formula that adds up to being in great position as we’re now rapidly approaching the month of July and the Orioles are sitting there with the second best record in the AFL and they kind of been duking it out with Texas in that regard, and they’re in great position for at least a wildcard spot and oh yeah, they’re not given up on chasing the rays as they say With a pair down at the Trump last week, so it’s fun. And I mean, this is just a team that has shown a lot of resiliency. And they’ve been able to just go out and win series go out and bounce back from a tough game or two, and they just give you a lot of confidence that that’s going to continue even acknowledging that it’s not a perfect team. And there’s certainly some things that they can still get better with,

Nestor Aparicio  05:25


say on the field here about getting guys healthy and Mullins and what the big picture is with Hicks and the moves that Elias has made. Where where’s this thing going to pan out? 10 days from now like, what what does the rotation look like there and cows are coming. Like the one thing about the miners and we’ll do a whole thing on the miners and calling guys up because they’re going to be on this train or once a month, they’re going to call somebody up. We’ve heard maybe even more often than that. And then there’s the space of where do these guys go? And that was all of the offseason of what do they need Frazier for him where Henderson is going to play and if he can play and how bodies are going to this time last year was all trade man senior member.

Luke Jones  06:05

Right. Right. Exactly. And waiting on you know, Adley rutschman arrived in May and waiting on gunner Henderson, although at this time last year, I’m not sure people necessarily expected Gunnar Henderson he just he was that good at triple A Norfolk where you

Nestor Aparicio  06:18

know, at this time last year, if I would have told you they’re going to be 20 games over 500 stay that way. And be an is team this year. If I would have guaranteed you and is this year from a might be last year, you would have we all would have scratched our heads and say, well, that’s a little aggressive to think that like 23 will be their year, probably more 2425 If you really were sort of looking at it, and certainly the offseason they had which pissed you off that they didn’t spend any money and didn’t invest in go all in didn’t look like it was a fortification kind of year. Now that we’re in it. You look back to a year ago and say this has happened pretty quickly. But these but these guys have, nobody’s going backwards the way Mullins did years ago. I mean, you know, Henderson’s had a moment or two where it’s like, is he in over his head or whatever, watching was never that way. But it feels like once these guys graduate in, we start saying, all right, where are they going to be in the lineup? How’s this gonna affect the lineup? What’s the next 300 400 at bats look like for this player? Or in this case, maybe 250 or 300 bats during this season? To say, what’s his team going to look like on October 1? Because that’s the question I keep asking myself, because I’m convinced to a playoff team. I was convinced that pretty early on, I’m convinced that even a Mullins in or out or a bad start from Gibson or whatever is not going to rock their boat. But I really am wondering what’s the team look like? By the time the Ravens get played? Because it’s gonna look different. And it’s gonna look different by three or four guys, maybe five guys. And I’m wondering what the what that 20% of the roster looks like over the next 60 days.

Luke Jones  07:48

Yeah, I think it’s gonna be fascinating, because I think that’s been one of the great questions for this team. And obviously, when you have an injury to a Cedric Mullins, I mean what they got what they’ve gotten from Aaron Aaron Hicks. I mean, more than anyone could have thought he’s played like the Aaron Hicks from 2018 in New York, who it was kind of a fringe All Star candidate. Yeah, that at his best, that’s what kind of player he was. He was a guy worth paying. The Yankees paid him. They paid on it. And they regretted it big time over the last couple of years. And they’re still paying him mind you? I don’t know. Let’s keep that in mind as well. But in the case of him or Ryan O’Hearn? I mean, you have guys that have stepped up. Look, is Aaron Hicks gonna be on this team in September, I have no idea. I’ll say this much. With with Mullins, having returned over the weekend, Aaron Hicks is staying in my lineup either in right field or as the DH until he plays his way out of the lineup. And Ryan O’Hearn at first base the same thing as Mount Castle’s, you know, coming back from the vertigo and on a rehab assignment in Norfolk, so So you have that so that those are short term options for you. Maybe they play their way into being a long term option, I, I’m not the only one who’s seen some comparisons with Ryan O’Hearn kind of doing a 2014 Steve Pierce impression, a guy that’s come out of nowhere and, and been one of your best players for the last three, four weeks, at the very least. So So you have some of that, but I think, you know, and this will get to Jordan Westbrook in more detail. But it’s an example of where I look at this club and say, as good as they’ve been, where you look at a team that you know, is, you know, they come out of the Seattle series, that 18 games over 500 That kind of been hovering in that territory. Yeah, we’ll see how the rest of this homestand plays out. But


Nestor Aparicio  09:32

and the good to read steam coming in here. Like it’s a different series than we thought

Luke Jones  09:36

in La de la Cruz being that the toast of all baseball right now. I mean, business and electric young player, but But you look at this team and you kind of say, okay, they’ve been really good. You know that the sum of the parts has been excellent, right? I mean, you’re talking about a team that’s approaching 20 games over 500. But you look at it position by position, you look at it, player by player on the roster and you say, okay, there are still some areas where they can get better. And in the case of Westberg, you were talking about, oh, Adam Frazier has had a really poor June, Jorge Mateo has been, let’s face it, let’s not sugarcoat it. He’s been a disaster at the plate since April. I mean, he’s had a sub 200 on base percentage. You know, he’s, he’s hit like a pitcher since the beginning of May. And I don’t mean that to be disparaging the numbers are the numbers for him. So

Nestor Aparicio  10:24

when he’s a guy right now, I’m betting maybe not, you know, of all the guys back in April that I loved and said, Hey, that’s, you know, they’re off to this great start. There are a couple of these did the lineup is going to change. I mean, I guess Westboro. I mean, they’re not bringing guys up to half a pint out. I mean, I think they’re bringing guys up to play them.

Luke Jones  10:43


Right, and it’s just gonna be a matter of where they play. Now, I’ll say this much. Let’s be very clear about this. I am not looking to jettison Jorge Mateo from my roster, but him being an everyday player. At this point in time, you’re looking at it and saying, you can’t have two sub 300 on base percentage guys in the middle of middle of your infield playing every day. Now, if it’s one or the other, and you’re kind of rotating and Westberg can play third, he can play short. He’s played second. He’s even played some corner outfield, Gunnar Henderson can play shortstop. We know remote areas can move around the infield. So it’s like a three four defense here. Yeah, sure. I mean, the Ravens talked about in their secondary position, this defense where you just have five or six members of your secondary you can kind of line up wherever the Orioles from an infield standpoint, you have some of that going. But the point I’m trying to make though, is and I’ve one of my big pet peeves when I’ve heard people talk about this is not to complain about where the Orioles are right now, just in a big picture sense or where they are record wise or where they stand. Second place Chase and Tampa Bay. It’s how can you still try to get better now? Because you look at all these individuals and you say okay, certain guys have been great seasons. And we’ve talked about Austin Hays, you’ve mentioned Mullins and Adley rutschman. Albion up, you know, an all star and all the different fields Batista on the bullpen side Yanni or Cano being such a massive story. But where can you get better? You know, don’t don’t be satisfied with where you are, especially when you have internal options. You do all this? All this heralded of their farm system and being number one and all that, well use it if you have a position or two where you can stand upgrade, and you have someone sitting a trip away like Westberg, who was there for over a calendar year, by all means, find a way to get them up here and get him at bats and get him playing. And just because you succeed at triple A does not mean it’s going to happen automatically in the majors. But what more can someone like him do? And we’re going to be saying the same thing about Colton Couser in the coming weeks, you know, and trying to figure that out. Aaron Hicks has probably complicated Colton counselors arrival in Baltimore, because you don’t want to get rid of someone who’s been really productive for you. So we’ll see how that plays out. But the point is, and this goes back to what you were saying, Come August and September, there could be a couple Westberg has arrived. Colton Couser, you would expect barring an injury situation will be here at some point later this summer. Because he’s produced at that high of a level and you’re talking about a former first round pick. You have Grayson Rodriguez on the pitching side. We’ll see what happens with DL Hall later in the year. So you mean it means I never gone means that? Absolutely. You can’t count on it. But he’s on, he’s still on a track that he should have a chance to contribute for them. It might be out of the bullpen for John means come August in September, but you at least have that possibility. And that’s that’s not even to say anything about the trade deadline and the possibilities there. So, to your point, this isn’t a team that’s going to look exactly the same as it does right now. And that’s a good thing. You want to have options. You want to have more upside, you know, is this a team that I view right now and say they’re, they’re a favorite to get out of the American League and go to the World Series? Probably not, you know, considering where they are experience wise. At the same time, you don’t want to be dismissive of that chance. So if you can do some things, to not compromise you from a long term standpoint with your farm system and flexibility and different talent in the pipeline, but by all means, if the right deal presents itself via trade, if the right player is sitting there that can upgrade your middle infield or you shuffle some pieces at the major league level to upgrade your middle infield do it now. Well, we’ve talked a lot about middle relief. I mean as great as Batista and Cano have been, can you add another reliever to kind of slot in and maybe your third best guy? Yeah, I thought it was interesting on Sunday. You know not to change the subject too much. But Brandon Hyde went to Danny coulomb in the eighth inning, and I had to look because every time you see Batista can open Just in the same game, right? I mean, think about it. I actually went back and looked at that Sunday was the first time that we only saw one of those guys pitching in a game, you know, where it’s one or the other. You have to go back to June 4. I mean, it’s been a three and a half weeks where if one pitches, the other guys pitching in that same game, so for them to for high to turn to Danny coulomb in the eighth inning, and he does a really good job. To me, that’s a good sign because you know, as

Nestor Aparicio  15:25

Simplot blown a game to not have Batista come in, right? Sort of like that,

Luke Jones  15:30

too. It has been but at the same time, if you look at Cano, and look, this isn’t, he was never going to stay where he was his first month where he was immortal. I mean, I mean, untouchable. He’s allowed more bass runners, he’s looked a little more human. He hasn’t been bad, but he has allowed so based on her so the point is, if you have a spot and look, it was the bottom of the Seattle order, I get that. It was a couple of left handed hitters that were due up, although they did pinch it, but coulomb has done a nice job against right handed hitters as well. So you need some other levers to emerge, whether it’s him whether it’s Mike Bauman, who did a great job on Saturday in extra innings and ended up getting the win. So

Nestor Aparicio  16:10

by the way, the rule changes are still affecting people. Like my wife and I are watching the game a coulomb comes in. And we’re like, well, he he’s gotta go pretty much the inning, right. I mean, you gotta go through. And so when you see anything that looks matchup oriented, that’s not baseball anymore. I mean, it’s like they’ve taken that part of the strategy of lefty, Lefty righty, righty, two guys coming in. Who’s going to pinch it? Well, nobody has pinch hitters. I mean, people only have two or three pinch hitters. They need to begin with that like the National League where they always had pitchers batting, and they were subbing out and doing stuff. It’s sort of like, well, you know, there used to be matchup matchup and I bet in the playoffs there will be in the playoffs, you might see somebody come off a bench or somebody use up their bench or whatever, but in the regular season now, where it is with the rules, once you commit to cool on, you’re committed, you know, it’s not like, while he gives up a single he gives up a double while he’s still gonna pitch a bit, right. So there is part of that when you bring a reliever in. It’s a different commitment than it used to be for a manager for a team. Yeah, it


Luke Jones  17:13

is. I mean you and there’s still a little bit of that with two outs and and and and keep in mind, it’s three batters, you know, in the midst of an inning, but if you bring in Coolum with two outs and he gets the final out, then you can go to new pitcher for the following inning. So you still have a little bit of that but yeah, we’ve seen it but you know, the so called Louis Right the left left handed one out guy that you Brian natus was that for the Orioles during the during the buck era. You don’t see that as much because you need guys who can defend themselves against right handed pitching and or against right handed hitting and coulomb has done that. So I was I was encouraged to see that I was encouraged to see in the seventh inning when Bradish issues the two out walk I mean you’re talking about it being a three two game. I was looking for Brandon Hyde this to walk out of the dugout I was waiting to see him pop out of the dugout and make the pitching change. And he didn’t. And Bradish you know it was up over 100 pitches at that point. And he got the third out of the inning. And that was good to see. So a couple signs and Sundays when beyond just getting the victory where you saw some confidence late in the game that the manager shows in one year starting pitcher to win someone in a spot that suggested Janja Cano and Cano was available. He was warming up even and the game

Nestor Aparicio  18:28

very much on the line. Three run late Yeah, it was a one run game.

Luke Jones  18:33

Right. Exactly. And like I said, we’ve seen this formula where it’s just been well if Cano and then Batista Batista Cano before him. I mean, that’s just the way it’s been. So to have a game where both are available, but you only used one. One, it speaks to how well Bradish pitched on Sunday, he goes seven innings. But to it was nice to see coulomb step up in that spot, because it can’t just be canola and Batista all year and we’ve seen them have some issues with their middle relief. I certainly think that’s an area where they could target at the trade deadline that you’re not necessarily gonna have to give up your best prospects. But you can give up something to go get another impact arm for your bullpen, which I think would be huge for them. So we’ll see how that plays out. But I think to go back to your question, you know what’s going to happen? I mean, Molins is back now. So as I said, Thank you see Hickson rightfield a little more although Santander reminded everyone he can flash a little bit of leather, although, you know, certainly not your best outfielder out and right field, but you have Hicks out there, you can DH Santander more, we’re gonna see what happens with first base. I think that’s going to be fascinating. I mean, O’Hearn has played so well. We’ve talked about it mountcastle, even before the vertigo issue, not having a great year. You know, you’ve looked at someone who has a sub 270 on base percentage that’s not gonna fly, you know, for an everyday player. So we’ve talked about Matteo struggles. We’ve talked about the fact that Adam Fraser has really cooled off and going in the wrong direction in June overall so

Nestor Aparicio  20:02


and you’d like to see Mullins play well, now that he’s back to right, of course, right? Well, I mean, just once guys get back, it’s not about, it’s about When’s rutschman really going to hit the ball. Henderson had his two weeks where he was on fire. It’s who catches fire next. And I mean, Hicks has been a great player since they brought him up with a very serviceable player. But it really is about these runs that they’re on right now, who’s going to carry the team energy carry the team for a week and a half?

Luke Jones  20:29

He absolutely did it. And I mean, he we talked about the fact that he was hitting 170 earlier in the year and people were clamoring to send them back to the minors and I kept saying, Wait, just be patient. He’s 21 He still has a 330 on days percentage. I mean, he’s, he’s finding ways to contribute even though he’s not swinging the bat as consistently as you’d like. And lo and behold, he’s had a fantastic June so and look, let’s let’s be clear about this. Not so much talking about someone like Henderson who is so highly regarded and figures to be a core piece for this team for a long time. But guys, like Oh, Hearn, and Hicks, they’ve been a great story in June, that doesn’t mean there’ll be a great story come August in September, but you have enough players and pieces in the minor leagues, you have resources to make deals at the deadline. This team could look pretty different come August and September. And that’s a good thing mind, you know, you want to have options, because you know, not everyone’s going to play great the rest of the way, you know, not everyone’s gonna stay healthy the rest of the way inevitably, you’ll have someone else that’s going to go down and tweak a hamstring for a couple of weeks and be on the shelf. So you want to have options. And that’s where the Orioles with their farm system. You know, we’ll see on the trade front, we’ll see on the payroll front in terms of taking on salary. Those are questions that some skepticism is warranted until they prove otherwise. But they certainly have the resources within their system to dip down to the minors and say, Hey, we’re having some issues with our middle infield, we’ll bring up a Jordan Westberg. If we need some more outfield production, Colton Couser has had a great year at triple weigh. So you know Grayson Rodriguez will be back at some point in time. You know, we’ll see about some other arms in the minor league. So you want those options because, you know, as we’ve seen, anyone who watches baseball is watch baseball long enough. You’re 26 man roster is not going to be the same in April as it is come September. And in the case of the Orioles. That potential is there where I look at bringing up a Westberg I look at bringing up a Couser Gunnar Henderson obviously late last year, you want that upside, right? I mean, doesn’t mean that they haven’t been good. They’ve been really good. But how can you get better over the course of the season. And that’s what’s exciting when you have a farm system like this that you can tap into that and upgrade so fun to get a series when an important series win for them on the heels of an ugly Friday, they were able to put that behind them very quickly for the rest of the series. And now we’ll see what Jordan Westbrook looks like. And then we’ll see what this looks like the rest of the homestand with specifically le Dela Cruz and the reds coming in. And boy, he’s been a fantastic story. So looking forward to watching him play this.

Nestor Aparicio  23:12

Well, even my wife knows about him and and the Marlins kid hitting 400. I mean, there’s some stories beyond just the Orioles playing well, but the Reds as an organization as a franchise for their city and what the Bengals have done recently with the Reds with the Bengals never did for 50 years and what the Reds haven’t done in 40 years at this point and being really competitive and winning. And I want to ask you, this is off the field. This has nothing to do with Westberg or even the lineup or whatever. But I’m starting to watch it now that they’re home a little bit. They were in Tampa and I had an unbelievable conversation with Rick Vaughn. I ranted a little bit last week. It’ll run a little bit this week. If you haven’t checked it out, please go to Baltimore positive and check it out. Just about this was substitution of the franchise right? We talked about the ravens and you know, all of their buy individual game tickets and the empty purple seats and whatever. The Ravens still own the city in that way for sure. As we learned with Lamar Athan over the week over the the offseason, but with the Orioles been waiting for them to win. They’re winning. They’re real. They’re not a might be like they were this time last year or they’re coming. They’re here. And I watched every night I look at the crowd I you know, I watched I haven’t been to the games. I watch him on mass and I watched the way they’re shot. I watched the way they put cute kids on eating ice cream and they tried to feature a sprinkling of color at the ballpark that may or may not be reality for being out there. And then there’s just a weird sitting where like there’s all these empty seats in various places to gauge like how many people are really there. You’re there most nights almost every night. You’re and your expectations of mine are different right because I in 19 9293 I saw what the franchise could be what it was. It’s not that anymore, Washington, all of that. But what what is a successful Orioles franchise going to look like on a Friday night on a Sunday afternoon on a day when they’re not given given bobbleheads away on a weeknight in summer where the sensation of the sport is playing and I don’t mean Shohei Otani. He already came last month. But I mean, when there’s, I mean, the red spring, some color here this week, it’s the middle of the week kids are out of school people are at the beach. Ticket prices are what they are the weather’s good enough. How do you feel about the crowds? Or do you think? Is it what you expected? Now would say your bar might be a little lower than mine? Just in the level of, Hey, what’s this going to look like when they’re successful? One day? Well, here we are.

Luke Jones  25:47

Yeah, I mean, are the crowds are better. They’re certainly better. And I’ll say this. And look, this is anecdote, much more anecdotal. This is much more of just my observation. And my experience just sitting in the press box, which is open air. I would even say, just the enthusiasm alone for the people who are there on any given night and day on Saturday, they had 32,000 You know, that 19,000 On Sunday, and it’s Seattle up and I know the mariners


Nestor Aparicio  26:16

Sunday felt a little weak for me. The TV on I’m like, yeah, they don’t feel it doesn’t feel like a healthy franchise, when on a Sunday afternoon mariners are in it doesn’t feel like, it feels like there should be more people wanting to go out there than have been in my mind, but then I’m one of them. And I’m like, why don’t I go? Well, it costs money. I went to see the cure, I did other things with money. Like, being there for me is not indicative of my level of interest. I know who they play when they play when their pitcher is on. I just don’t like giving them money. I don’t like get in the car and going down there. It doesn’t feel all that joy is to me, given the family and 30 years of doing it for me. But I watch them on TV every night. And all they do seemingly the television show now with Rob from Rob long on is one big shill to get me to the ballpark. And to say how great the ballpark is we gotta get you. I mean, it really is a sell job. You’re at the game. You’re not watching it. I’m home watching them eight miles away, try to get me to come give them money. And it feels like a television broadcast more than anything. Every part of it. It’s more like the wrestling matches in the day where Vince was trying to get you down there to see Ivan Putski wrestle. The whole idea of the television show was to get you to buy a ticket. That was what Championship Wrestling was for 30 years. it different now it’s a whole different thing with the man but with the Orioles. It feels like it’s come to that it’s feel like it’s come that if you have us on TV, by God, you got to come pay us and come see us because like we need people here. And it’s very evident when you put the games on like they they can have more people at the games. I mean, they especially Sunday I was a little like that, you know, but they have to work at it. And every single way they have to work at it getting people getting me to the game, getting my getting somebody who has a credit card who has money who loves baseball, his last name’s aparece you’re getting me to come and say I want to see this kid from the Reds player. I want to see Jordan Westport, whatever it is. I need the rest of it. Get a bobblehead. Okay, give me an excuse to go. I’m a little disappointed. There aren’t more people there but I know who runs it. I don’t think they’re very good at doing this. I mean, I really don’t. I mean, they have a great team. I don’t think they’re really good at driving the bus for getting people there. Other than begging people on mass and everyday which is their that’s their marketing arm. Their marketing arm is I tripped across the game. Come to the game on Tuesday night Come see Shaquille O’Neal, like all of these things, these offers that they make. I just, I saw Sunday’s crowd and I’m like, Huh, that’s not good. You know, it’s a Sunday game in the middle of a pennant race in the summer. I want to see more people there. And I hope that in August there are Yeah,

Luke Jones  28:53

well, a couple of things here. First of all, games being shown on TV that’s always been now how over the top, you might be about it. But think about it. 4050 years ago, they didn’t show home games on TV. They showed games on the road home games weren’t shown on TV. Why? Because they wanted you to come out to the ballpark. So there’s always been that element. The difference now is we’re talking about in the case of the Orioles where the Angelo’s family owns Masson and you can kind of make it a little more Yeah, not even a little bit more. It’s not objective so you have that part what I will not

Nestor Aparicio  29:28

objective especially when they hire Jason lock and for and put him I mean, you know John’s doing his best to own the market. He made nice with me, but he’s trying to pay everybody else and when you get them on the payroll then they sit at 1257 all afternoon and they cannot criticize the team. So there there is a point where that’s the old Orioles. To me the old Orioles were like how dare you criticize them their family nobody can criticize yours. Somebody better be criticizing them and it better be I will never work for them. I just I if I would live in a trailer park Before I took John’s money to, to unic what we can or cannot say about the baseball team on any given day, but they’re, they’re trying in that way. Like I’m telling you, I sit here watch the television broadcast. And the television, they don’t smack of desperation. But it’s, it’s an infomercial. I mean, it always was. But it was never. It was, hey, let’s watch the game. Now. It’s Hey, don’t you want to come to the game? Really? Well, what will get you to the game, come on down to the game has plenty room with you. There’s a lot more of that in the broadcast. Because it screams that there’s room and it screams that hey, we’re really good. And it screams that, hey, tickets are 20 bucks. Come on down. Now how many people are going to come? And I’d like to see, in general, this is a series where if my dad were alive, my dad would want to see this kid play. Yeah, we would wind up out there because there’s a reason to come other than a bobble head. That’s all. Sure who’s pitching Westberg. I mean, there’s going to counselors come in, there’s going to be reasons, thought it seemed Rodriguez pitch when he comes back, right. So there’s reasons to go to the ballpark. Now there really are every night. There are but the thing

Luke Jones  31:07


I’ll say though, is it’s not a light switch. It’s a dial. I mean, let’s face it, we’re going to use a very simple and I know you love food and you love going to try new places, new recipes

Nestor Aparicio  31:19

each day. It’s peach cake season

Luke Jones  31:21

the Oreos for it for a long time. But we can go back longer than the last five years. But let’s just use the last five years because that’s a more apt comparison. The Oreos were a restaurant that served awful food for five years, you know, specifically the last five years in particular. Awful, right? Just because the restaurant then suddenly starts serving amazing food. Is it going to be full the first night, the first week, the first month, the first two months that they start serving great food, no words gotta get out. But the food’s better. There’s Exactly. And that’s what it is. And look, the Orioles are better. And look, I’d love to see the ballpark for every night. Do I think it’s ever going to go back to that where it was in 1997. And I’m not suggesting that you’re expecting that either, you know, I don’t think you’re going to ever see to that degree. However, people who do go, they have a good time, they see more. And this is where I talked about the crowd just being more enthusiastic in general, even even some games where they’ve lost and they’ve lost big. I’ve been surprised how intuit the crowd has been compared to being out there when there’s maybe 5000 People literally in the ballpark, and no one’s interested and everyone’s looking to leave in the seventh inning. So you have some of that, and you continue to win. And ya know what they’re doing on mass and by trying to get people out to the ballpark? Shame on them if they’re not trying to do those things? Because have we talked about this back in 2019? Where were the ticket deals? What were you trying to do to get people out to the ballpark? Understanding you’re not trying to win at the major league level, but you’d still you’re still running a business at the end of the day. So they’re doing that and continue to do bobbleheads, do ticket deals, you know, you have the splash zone right next to the bullpen that’s been a hit. I mean, even that section, the bleachers where they have the deal, I think it’s $10, Monday through Thursday, home games, those are pretty full most nights, you know, even if it’s not a great night, overall attendance. So

Nestor Aparicio  33:21

the fact that you can go out there for 10 bucks, if that’s what it’s worth, that’s good. Like 10 bucks might get me and my wife out there to see the Reds this week, like, I might give them 20 bucks, I would consider doing that.


Luke Jones  33:33

Right. Right. So but my point is, you’re not going to get everyone to come back overnight. Because hey, some of what you laid out as far as your reasons. And obviously, you’re a unique case to the average Orioles fan.

Nestor Aparicio  33:45

They treated me worse than everybody else. They just treated you like garbage. They treated me like trash. So give us money to come see awful baseball was there. That was their premise for everybody. That wasn’t your premise for Nesta, it was will lock you out because you’re a jerk. And you, you might report the truth on us, which will lock you out. That’s a whole different level of character and integrity. But that being said, when the food’s good, doesn’t matter who’s serving it. The food’s good right now. The food’s very good right now. And I’m their biggest critic, and I’ll say their food’s good. And everybody should recognize it for what it is. And then I see 19,000 people on Sunday and say, maybe they need to $10 tickets on Sunday to

Luke Jones  34:31

know no question about it or you know, some more, you know, I have a friend who has a small, modest season ticket package this year. One thing that he’s able to do, it’s very flexible. You know, it’s almost like you have a certain amount dollar amount. And you can kind of distribute that however you want to it’s not like the days of well, you have a game on April 13. You have a game on May 20. You have tickets for June 13. And you have tickets for July 2 Now, it’s not like that anymore. So there is more flexibility in that way but That’s what people want in the modern day. I mean, we’ve talked about this a lot with PSLs. And being a season ticket holder for the Ravens. Do people want to be locked into every single home game? Or do you want a case where you can go to three or four home games and you try to sell the rest, or you just don’t have tickets for the rest? So, but my point is, you know, I mentioned it’s a dial more so than a light switch. You know, as far as fans coming back, and some of the reasons you laid out, let’s keep in mind, you still have the Angelo’s family, you still have perception, whether it’s right or wrong, people are going to feel a certain way about coming downtown until their mind has changed. And you know, I was with

Nestor Aparicio  35:39


a friend from out of town, I ran into a friend over the weekend, I was in New York City alarm, and he’s like, I was in Baltimore recently. And I didn’t feel safe. And he’s not being mean, he’s not, you know, he’s not a Republican, or a Trumpy or a guy lives. And he’s a guy who runs around New York City. And he’s like, Hey, I was in Baltimore. And I didn’t like the way it made me feel. You had dinner in the city. And I said, that’s, that’s, that’s terrible, that that’s the way you felt, because like that, I go into the city for four days a week. But there is a if you had an experience, squeegee boy, something happened in the city. You know, I don’t know, maybe you’ll come back for Springsteen. But you’re not thinking about the Orioles on a Tuesday night somehow and the games on TV, and you’re like, it’s easy, it’s cheaper. I’m home, I gave my money to the cure on Sunday night or the Shania Twain or Dave Matthews or whatever. That is one thing as a lazy as 55 year old old man that I am at this point, that the game is here, I don’t, I don’t need to go to the game this week to see this kid play for the reds, and my wife can grill out and we can bring shish kebab in from wise markets and sit here and watch the game on television. They have made that part of it too easy for an old guy like me to give him 10 bucks and get in the car when it’s not there. And I will pitch to the high Hosannas when the game’s not on apple plus or on Peacock, which I’ve done. But that being said, if they say to me, your only option to see the games that come give us money, that would be a 1980s, a level of arrogance that none of us would accept, right? We didn’t accept it the last couple of weeks when they’ve bagged the Friday night game or Sunday game on us. But there is a point where when you pay for it, you have it on television, you kind of have it, you have it, you don’t miss the game by not going into the game. And then you say to yourself, well, if I go there, it’s like, should I listen to the cure on CD? Or should I go sit on the hill and pay 16 bucks for a beer to do it, which would bring me more joy, baseball’s easy from home. And that’s part of what they’re up against. I mean, it’s still, it’s too easy on a 90 to 90 degree night to just put it on if you know you have it.

Luke Jones  37:45

Right. That’s part of it. You still I mean, I mentioned the perception of coming downtown, whether it’s right or wrong, if someone’s going to feel that way. You’re not going to intimidate them into or guilt them into coming back. You have to provide more incentive if you’re the club with more giveaways, more ticket deals, you know, all those types of things. And where am I parking?

Nestor Aparicio  38:03

Where am I park? We’re gonna need a white guy and there’s where am I parking? That’s the most part of it. A lot of people.

Luke Jones  38:09

It’s part of it. It absolutely is. You still have a lease situation that’s unresolved. I did that last week. I’m not doing that this week. And I’m not but that’s part of it. Right? And we all have what is offensive,


Nestor Aparicio  38:22

it’s offensive. The Angelus family is highly offensive to me, and should be offensive to almost everybody in the community. So they’re trying to sell against that for a lot of people. Right? So So you have

Luke Jones  38:31

these, these bear these obstacles in the way of fully embracing the team on the field right now. And you mentioned TV TVs, a big part of it look, say what you want about other elements of the telecast. I thoroughly enjoy hearing Kevin Brown do games with Jim Palmer or Ben McDonald? I mean, I do I think I think the broadcast in game play by play in game broadcast is good. I enjoy hearing them do the game. So. So that element, yeah, the TV elements part of it in the same way that every sport is dealing with that, right? We’ve talked about the NFL, how good of a product is on television, and you’re not dealing with beer lines and be paying $50 for parking and all the different things. So look, these aren’t excuses. These are all variables that explain why you’re not selling out the ballpark every single night in the way that you did in 1997. And oh, yeah, there’s a team right down the road that wasn’t there in 1997, as well, we’ve documented that and we’ll continue to talk about that to varying degrees. But my overall point is, attendance is better. Can it get better? Should it get better? Does it need to continue to get better? Absolutely. But it’s a dial we’re still only talking about being this was a year ago at this time was when they went on their winning streak where, hey, this team’s not so bad. It was a year ago at this time that they really started turning it on. And then we saw them look like they did in the second half of last season and they’ve carried that over so you continue to win coupled with continuing to make the efforts that they need to make in terms of deals, promotions, different things of that nature, people will continue to come back now. I can’t sit here Nestor and say I know what that ceiling looks like in terms of attendance for a full season, but it’s gotten better. It needs to continue to get better. But again, it was always going to take time when you’re talking about just how lousy The food was over the last five years specifically,

Nestor Aparicio  40:30

he is Luke Jones he is Baltimore Luke you can find them Luke at wn st dot they could find probably sitting in the press box is weak. The ravens are out Luke is in and if you’re looking at max pizza and Wildwoods some point in the next 10 days you probably find Luke there are you pepperoni two straight cheese. How do you go down there?

Luke Jones  40:48


At max at St cheese? All right.

Nestor Aparicio  40:51

Well, I was in New York over the weekend and I had five slices of pizza. My wife was appalled but none of them had anything but cheese and tomatoes on them. So I went Margarita I went non meat this week because I’m gonna be eating crab cakes all week on Thursday. We’re gonna be families during the early crab cake tour all the brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery. I’ll have some scratches. We did have some lucky winners and spirits West last week we’re over Wilkins Avenue with Ricky hoe and we had a chat weaseling and had an unbelievable conversation Chris pike as well. Chris came over to his side of town on Mount St. Joe just some great great stuff on the air. Luke and I are going to abstain from all things football this week and let’s the Ravens make us talk about it. Focus on the Cincinnati Reds this week as the the Orioles play some home baseball here and Luke will be doing some getaway. We’re doing some heritage fair this week. Shout out to wise markets and our friends at Dundalk. I’ll be down there for crack the sky on Sunday night. So if you see a guy with long hair in the beer garden Yep, that’s me. I’m Nestor we are wn st a 1570, Towson Baltimore and we never stop talking Baltimore positive

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