Tag:Matt Wieters
Posted on: March 4, 2011 5:34 pm
 

Stuff my editors whacked from the column


SARASOTA, Fla. -- Outtakes from hanging with the team that once went to World Series' with Earl Weaver, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer. ...

-- Strong, and interesting, words this spring from veteran second baseman Brian Roberts in assessing newcomers Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Vladimir Guerrero and, of course, manager Buck Showalter: "This is the most excitement, I think, that I've seen in my 10 years here. There's been some good excitement in the past, like when we got Sammy Sosa, but as far as realistic excitement, this is the most I've seen."

-- It's easy to get impatient with catcher Matt Wieters, 24, partly because it seems like he's been around longer than he has. We've been hearing about him for so long, a good year or more before he landed in the majors in 2009, that last year's .249 batting average, 11 homers and 55 RBI in 130 games sure seems ho-hum. Especially given that those numbers are down from his 86-game debut in '09: .288, nine homers, 43 RBIs.

"I don't give a lot of to Matt," Showalter says. "He's going to be as good as he's capable of being. Challenges off the field, physical toughness, mental toughness ... he brings all of those things. Like I was telling him last year, 'Matt, you make between 100 and 200 decisions a night with your fingers. You get four at-bats. You do the ratio of how much you impact this club.'"

As the Orioles' culture shifts into a new year, Showalter also is looking for his catcher to be more of a leader this year.

"I told him at end of year last year, the gloves are coming off," Showalter says. "You can't fool me. I know it's there. As long as you're not asking anybody else to something you're not willing to do yourself, then you're covered. If all of a sudden you go half-assed down the line, don't be saying anything to me about it. I want him to start taking more of a role in what's best for the Orioles."

-- For his part, Wieters should be more comfortable with Lee, Reynolds, Hardy and Guerrero around because it helps shoulder the load.

"It's big from an information standpoint," Wieters says. "It's big in that they've been on winning ballclubs. They let you know, this is no longer a rebuilding phase. It's time to win and win now. This is definitely a different camp this year."

-- And Wieters on Showalter: "He's probably the most prepared manager I've ever been around. You're going to come to the park and have a chance to succeed. That's the biggest thing. Every piece of information is there."

Sunblock Day? So far, there have been no days where you didn't need to slather on the sunblock this spring. Just gorgeous.

Likes: David Letterman's top 10 the other night, things you don't want to hear during spring training. Loved No. 9: "Instead of Tommy John surgery, I had Elton John surgery." For the whole list, check out our Eye on Baseball blog. ... A.J. Pierzynski getting pulled over and ticketed for speeding while wearing his White Sox uniform en route to a Cactus League game against Cincinnati. Classic story. And Pierzynski reports that the Arizona police still have not returned his insurance card. ... Boston's on A1A in Delray Beach, Fla. Great food, great atmosphere. ... Weather warm enough to wear shorts, and drive barefoot. ... Mavis Staples' disc You Are Not Alone, produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. Great, great stuff from a true -- and underrated -- soul legend.

Dislikes: Staying at the hotel in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., next to the Wackenhut corporate headquarters. The hotel is good. But seeing the Wackenhut building just gives me the shivers from a long ago time in my life. Scrounging for work the summer before going off to college, I got a job as a security man -- employed by Wackenhut -- at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Power Plan outside of Monroe, Mich. Now, here I was, an 18-year-old kid, working the graveyard shift (something like midnight-8 a.m.) making rounds to protect a nuclear power plant. There was a another security outfit, from what I remember, whose employees actually carried guns. Me, no. I just made rounds and reported anything suspicious. Fortunately, I found another job and only lasted, as I recall, about a month in that gig. It helped build character, no doubt. But I sure hope security has improved since those days.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The pretty little raven at the birdbath stand
"Taught him how to do the bop and it was grand
"Start goin' steady and bless my soul
"He out-bopped the buzzard and the Oriole"

-- Bobby Day, Rockin' Robin

 

Posted on: May 27, 2009 7:50 pm
 

In Cubs vs. Umps, umpires will win

Maybe the Chicago Cubs are right and they've been hosed by a rash of bad umpire calls lately.

Or maybe they're dead wrong and totally delusional.

Whatever, one thing could not be more clear in the midst of the emotion:

The Cubs are going to have to get a grip, because there is no way they can win this battle.

While Carlos Zambrano's sensational meltdown against Pittsburgh on Wednesday will be grist for video highlights and high entertainment the rest of this season and beyond, it was the Cubs' third major incident with an umpire in the past four days.

One day after being called out on strikes by plate umpire Doug Eddings, Milton Bradley on Sunday told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that, following an April 16 run-in with umpire Larry Vanover that resulted in a one-game suspension for Bradley, Vanover's colleagues are out to get him.

Monday night, starting pitcher Ted Lilly was ejected for chirping at plate umpire Bob Davidson over balls and strikes calls from the dugout. Lilly wasn't even the starter that night -- he had pitched Sunday in San Diego. Lilly told reporters that he was run after telling Davidson to "concentrate" more.

Tuesday, Davidson accused Lilly of lying, telling The Tribune's Sullivan that "everything [Lilly] said was bull. Everything I read in the paper that he said was untrue. He never said one of those words. What he said to me, you couldn't print in the paper."

Wednesday came Zambrano's tirade against plate umpire Mark Carlson. Zambrano was just activated from the disabled list on Friday. Now he's certain to miss more time with a hefty suspension.

One thing manager Lou Piniella liked about the addition of Bradley was that he thought the outfielder might bring an edge to the club that at times was soft last year. But they can't keep going on like this.

Losers of eight of their past 10 games, clearly, the Cubs are frustrated. But right now, they have the look of a team that's totally out of control.

If this persists, say goodbye to the notion of any close call going in their favor. The umpires have the final word. Teams have to figure out a way to get along with them. It's just the way it is.

Likes: Zack Greinke just keeps on rolling in Kansas City. He's now gone 14 consecutive starts without allowing a home run. That's a good baseball city in need of a good story, and good for Greinke. ... Baltimore set to summon catcher Matt Wieters from the minors on Friday. The Orioles continue to sail north under president/GM Andy MacPhail, even if they are fifth in the AL East. In Wieters, Nick Markakis and growing star center fielder Adam Jones, and with some young pitching developing quickly in the minors, this is a team that's a year -- maybe two at the most -- away. ... Texting taking a toll on America's teenagers? Very interesting story in the New York Times the other day.

Dislikes: You get the DVD from Netflix, you set aside for a few days, you finally pop it in and sit down to watch it one night and ... it's cracked and unplayable. At least Netflix is terrific in quickly solving the problem, and it happens only very rarely. But you've still gotta come up with Plan B that night.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

" If you want you can get to know me well
We get along so we shouldn't argue
And I don't know, said I don't know
All these feelings, cloud up my reasoning"

-- Matchbox 20, Argue

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com