Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 32

Orioles Victory Number 32: 11-5 over the Tampa Bay Rays

2007 Upper Deck Sendy Rleal

At some point at the end of March, when the roster had been finalized, General Manager Dan Duquette and shadow GM Brady Anderson had to look forward to weekends like this. They had to know that the team they had assembled would be hard-pressed to compete with the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros, but that with a little bit of luck and some old-fashioned slugging they might be able to contend for a wild card spot.

Unfortunately, as we all now know, that wouldn't happen. Instead the offense disappeared, the starting pitching (while better than last year) was still adequate at best and the bullpen, long a Baltimore asset, was beset by injuries and ineffectiveness. The season was lost by Memorial Day and by the All-Star Game the team was in full rebuild mode.

Yet, for three nights and one day, the Baltimore Orioles showed what could have been. Following a respectful 4-3 loss on Thursday, the offense exploded racking up 37 runs in their next three games. At the center of it was Jonathan Schoop. Mired in a tough season, the second baseman has been scorching hot since the All-Star break (also since his best friend on the team, Manny Machado, was traded). Against Tampa Schoop collected seven hits, three home runs and drove in six runs. He's riding a 12 game hitting streak and has raised his season .OPS from .652 to .720. He's flat out mashing the ball.

Much maligned first baseman Chris Davis had his best three-game stretch with seven hits in fifteen at-bats capping off the weekend with two home runs on Sunday. Almost as important are the five walks against two strikeouts in that time period. An indication that he's finally emerging out of his season-long slump just in time to avoid having the worst season ever.

Along with the rejuvenated offense, the pitching staff has come around as the team picked up decent starts from their big four pitchers. Alex Cobb pitched 6 innings giving up 3 runs in a bit of a hard luck loss on Thursday. Andrew Cashner followed on Friday with a gutty 6 inning outing in which he only let two runners cross the plate. With trade rumors swirling Keven Gausman went out and held the Rays to 2 runs over seven innings.

Also the target of some trade talks, staff ace Dylan Bundy took to the hill on Sunday and produced a typical Bundy-esque outing. He worked seven innings, striking out seven Rays and only gave up four hits. Because he is Bundy three of those hits left the yard. Of the 110 hits Bundy has given up this season 26 of them have been home runs. All three of the home runs were single shots as were the three he gave up in the game before. That's a positive sign amidst a troubling run.

Even with the 3 wins in a row the Orioles still sit a disquieting 42 games out of first place. The best they can hope for is to spoil a few games for the other teams in contention as they did with the Rays outside shot at a wild card spot. That and seeing who might be around next season. The line-up getting rolled out on a daily basis isn't really a building block for the future. This collection of players is pretty much the bungee cord holding your bumper up until you can buy a new car. That new car isn't coming to Baltimore until 2020 at the earliest.

It's not the season anyone, including Duquette and Anderson, hoped for back in April, but maybe it's the one they need. Instead of patching a falling apart car, they finally realize that it'll be better to save and invest in a brand new ride.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 31

Orioles Victory Number 31: 11-2 over the Tampa Bay Rays

2012 Topps Vladimir Guerrero

Two nights, two blowouts. Who are these hitters and what have they done with the Orioles? It's good to see them on the winning side more than once a week. I'm also glad they won last night so that I could post the above card on the day that Vlad Guerrero is officially inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. While Guerrero and fellow inductee Jim Thome may not have had the longest tenures with the Os they did play with the Birds so that means two more plaques will have the words "Baltimore Orioles" printed on them.

The veteran outfielder signed with the Orioles in February of 2011 as part of an influx of veterans brought in by then General Manager Andy MacPhail. The 35-year-old was coming off of his 9th All-Star season and hit 29 home runs and driven in 115 for the Rangers the season before.  Also joining the team that year were Mark Reynolds, JJ Hardy, and Derrek Lee. MacPhail hoped their talents would mesh well with youngish players Matt Wieters (25), Nick Markakis (27) and Adam Jones (25).  It didn't as the Orioles finished fifth with a 69-93 record (oh to aspire to 69 wins).

Guerrero wasn't horrible slashing .290/.317/.416 in 590 plate appearances, but it wasn't quite what the Orioles were looking for after parting with $8 million for the designated hitter. At the end of the disappointing season, the Orioles 14th consecutive losing season, MacPhail stepped down and paved the way for Dan Duquette to remold the team.

While there weren't many highlights for Guerrero or the Orioles that season, he did record his 2500th hit in a Baltimore uniform - a double against Toronto:

His last major league home run also came in the black and orange - a blast to centerfield against the Angels (another former team):

Nothing he did that year rivaled his greatest highlight in Camden Yards. A feat he accomplished as a member of the Angels:

Seriously, how do you hit a 58-foot curve ball after it bounces in the dirt?

As for Thome - I don't have a card picturing him in an Orioles uniform. As far as I can tell there is only one and it's a 2012 Topps Update short print.

I do not own this card so it doesn't count as a victory card.

Thome's Orioles career was much briefer than Guerrero's. He was acquired in July of 2012 to help the Os fill their DH-void. The 41-year-old was traded for Kyle Simon and Gabriel Lino. Lino was a catcher at the time of the trade who made his way up to AAA in both the Phillies and the Cardinals organizations. He is currently back in Philadelphia's organization with Clearwater.  Simon also peaked at AAA and is now currently playing independent league baseball.

For the Orioles Thome slashed .257/.348/.396 in 115 plate appearances. His final career home run also came in an Orioles uniform:

Congratulations to Vladimir Guerrero and Jim Thome on your Hall of Fame inductions.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 30

Orioles Victory Number 30: 15-5 over the Tampa Bay Rays

2077 Upper Deck Masterpieces Cal Ripken, Jr./ Tony Gwynn

Well now.  That was an emphatic victory. Fifteen runs, a solid start from Andrew Cashner and big games from three of their remaining trading chips. Jonathan Schoop homered (his 6th game in a row with a big fly) among his three hits, Adam Jones hit a 3-run shot and Danny Valencia added three hits. Not a bad day's work against a feisty Tampa team.

Whenever Schoop or Jones has homered over the past few days there is that lingering feeling that it might be the last time they do it in an Orioles uniform. If the brass is serious about this rebuild then Schoop is dealt in the next couple of days or at the winter meetings. With a year of control left he could fetch a fairly decent return. Jones would be solid addition to any team looking for outfield help and then who knows what happens in the off-season.

At the ballgame on Thursday I had the discussion with my brother in law (who was wearing a Jones jersey) about the centerfielder's legacy in Baltimore. While it's unlikely that his number is retired (a honor reserved only for those who are in the baseball hall of fame) there is no doubt he would be inducted to the Orioles Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible. Seventy-eight players, coaches, broadcasters, staff members and fans (Wild Bill Hagy!) hold that honor and Jones would hold his own against any of them.

As for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown...well it could be awhile until another player synonymous with the orange and black will be inducted. Mike Mussina has the best chance, but there is a chance he goes in as a Yankee. If he did it would be one more blow to the collective conscious of Orioles fans in their never-ending battle with New York. After Mussina, there is a whole lot of nothing.

There could be a few players with tertiary ties to the ball club much like Vlad Guerrero (one season, 145 games) and Jim Thome (one season, 28 games). I could see a faded Mike Trout, fifteen years from now, playing out one more season with the Os as veteran leadership for yet another rebuilding team.

Of course, with baseball you never really know. The Orioles might catch lightning in a bottle with one of the hordes of prospects they've brought in or that they've draft over the next few seasons. It's unlikely, but you never know. After all, in 1978 teams thought there were 47 players worth drafting before Ripken and in 1981 57 players went before Gwynn. So, maybe the next great Oriole is lurking in Bowie or Frederick or Delmarva. Time will tell. Until then, fans will have to be content with the bronze statues that are already in Legends Park.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 29

Orioles Victory Number 29: 7-6 over the Boston Red Sox

2018 Topps Team Card

The Orioles picked up their first win since the All-Star Break and the first in the post-Machado era. In doing so they helped the Yankees, who beat Tampa, edge a bit closer to the Red Sox in the standings. Following the game they helped their long time rivals a bit more by dealing Zach Britton to New York for three pitching prospects.

In one week Baltimore has turned two soon-to-be free agents into eight prospects. How will the prospects turn out? It's too soon to tell. I will give credit to Dan Duquette and the rest of the staff for at least pulling in a vast quantity of prospects back even if none of them are sure-fire future superstars. Even with the lack of a Gleyber Torres-esque return, the Orioles have done an excellent job of restocking their average farm system. At least two of the players (Yusniel Diaz and Dillon Tate) will be among Baltimore's top 10 prospects for next season.

With Machado and Britton gone, what next?  There are six days left before the trade deadline so expect more deals. If Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman are indeed on the table then there is a chance the Orioles could add at least one more top-10 prospect to their organization. Other than that, look for more organizational filler or even, God forbid, possibly some international bonus money.

Duquette and company have made the two easy trades and have done alright. And while they have talked about a rebuild they haven't committed to it..not yet. In order to complete the burning of Eutaw Street they have to make some tougher decisions. Trading the aforementioned Bundy and Gausman would signal that the rebuild is truly under way.  So would dealing Jonathan Schoop, Mychal Givens or Trey Mancini. All of these players have control past this year and could be enticing to not only contenders, but also teams that have stumbled a bit but are looking to improve. Trading young, controlled talent for future talent is the sign of a true rebuild.

Trading pending free agents is nice, but if they stop there, they can always walk it back in the winter by going out and signing other free agents. Which, I wouldn't put past this organization.  At this point I would say that anyone on the major league roster is eligible for a trade. To truly rebuild it will take a few seasons at which players Schoop and Mancini are going to be free agents. Why not move them now instead of devaluing them like they did with Machado and Britton.

Schoop for one seems to be trying to play his way off of the team as he has been red-hot since the break. He has regained his stroke and blasted 5 home runs and is hitting about .340 over the last week. Surely some team (Milwaukee) could use a second baseman with some pop in his bat. Move him out.

Other than trades, expect to start seeing some of the actual prospects come up. It might not be until September (can't start that free agency clock too soon!)  but I wouldn't be surprised to see DL Hall make a late-season start or two. It wouldn't be shocking to see Ryan Mountcastle or Cedric Mullins pick up some at-bats as rewards for their excellent seasons.

Stretch out some of the players that have already made the team. I hope they keep Yefry Ramirez in the rotation. Keep sending Tanner Scott out there in relief. He may be struggling a bit, but there is no other way for him to learn how to get major league hitters out other than to face them. Lets find out if he's the next Zach Britton or the next Brad Pennington. The same goes with David Hess and Mike Wright, Jr. The Orioles need to find out if they can pitch well enough to carry them through the dark times over the next two seasons.

If they go through with this rebuild it will be a tough couple of years for the Orioles faithful, but if they start now and do it right, then they can build a team that can compete for several years after that.

JustinG.'s Current Trade Rankings (updated!)
(in order of most likely to be traded)

1. Manny Machado
2. Zach Britton
3. Mark Trumbo
4. Jonathan Schoop
5. Mychal Givens
6. Dylan Bundy
7. Brad Brach
8. Kevin Gausman
9. Danny Valencia
10. Adam Jones

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 28

Orioles Victory Number 28: 6-5 over the Texas Rangers

2017 Topps Updates Jonathan Schoop.

Well, Orioles fans we made it to the All Star break. It was a long, arduous journey from Spring to Summer with too few highlights sprinkled about, but we still made it. The team gets to reset a bit, we can celebrate Manny Machado on the national stage (at least until he is traded mid-game) and then start an earnest look to the future in the second part of the season.

I won't be able to watch much of the All Star Game on Tuesday night (a drawback to working second shift) so it won't have any chance of knocking off my all time favorite memory of the mid-summer classic.  Turn the clock back to 1993 and a young JustinG. (about to enter his senior year in high school) is watching the game take place in his hometown of Baltimore..

The Orioles were playing pretty good baseball as they entered the break with a 47-41 record and only a game-and-a-half out of first place. After a mediocre start they had a scintillating June riding 10-game winning streak to a 20-7 record for the month.

Perennial All-Star Cal Ripken, Jr. was joined on the roster by young right-hander Mike Mussina who entered the break with a 10-4 record. The game would be remembered by most fans for John Kruk wanting absolutely no part of facing Randy Johnson after the somewhat wild left-hander sailed a pitch over Kruk's head:

Oriole fans also remember the game as the birth of the "Cito Sucks" chant. American League manager Cito Gaston, leader of the dominant Toronto Blue Jays, had a couple of chances to insert Mussina into the game. The hometown crowd chanted, "We Want Mike" as the right-hander warmed up in the bullpen during the ninth inning with the AL leading 9-3. Rather than placate the crowd and bring Mussina into the game, Gaston let his own closer, Duane Ward, finish out the game.

After the fact Mussina claimed that he was just getting his regular work in since he was scheduled to start the first game after the break for the Orioles. It has been suggested though, that Mussina was trying to force Gaston into inserting him into the game. By warming up in the very visible bullpen, he knew that the crowd would start cheering for him and Gaston would have to bring him in. He didn't, and the fans weren't happy. 

Gaston claims that he had informed the Orioles starter that he would only pitch him if the game went into extra innings so that by warming up on his own he was trying to show the Blue Jays manager up. Despite both sides trying to downplay the incident, they both became a little irritated with the matter as the season went on with Gaston reportedly saying, "By standing up, he showed me he's a person with little class. Screw him. I just won't take him {on the all-star team} next year. ... He showed very little class as a person."

Mussina, who had intended to apologize before hearing that quote begged off by stating that he didn't want to "make any more of a problem". For the record, Gaston managed the AL squad again in the 1994 All-Star Game and did in fact invite Mussina. He actually had him pitch as well. Mussina threw one inning, gave up a hit (Dante Bichette) and recorded a strike out (Barry Bonds). 

None of the above contained my favorite moment. The lasting memory for me came the day before during the Home Run Derby. I had secured a ticket somehow, I really don't remember now and sat in the left field stands to watch the stars of the day belt pitch after pitch out of the ball park.  The line-up included Albert Belle, Cecil Fielder, Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, David Justice, Mike Piazza, Ken Griffey, Jr. and the winner - Juan Gonzalez.

That's right, Griffey didn't win the contest despite having the single-most remembered home run of the contest. On that warm summer day in July, Griffey was the first and only player to hit the warehouse in competition.

That wasn't my favorite moment - in fact it took awhile for the folks in the left-field stands to even know he hit the warehouse due to the angle of the seats. It wasn't until the roar went up from the crowd that we knew what had happened.

My favorite moment was the home run hit by Juan Gonzalez. A blast that sailed over us in the lower left field seats, over the fans in the second deck of left field and crashed off the facing of the third deck - 473 feet away from home plate. To this day it's the longest recorded home run in Camden Yards history and an ungodly testament to what a human being trained in the art of hitting a baseball can do to a batting practice fastball (the home run comes at :50 of the below clip).

It remains the hardest ball I've ever seen hit live in person (and as a left-hander who occasionally caught too much of the plate with some mediocre fastballs I've seen a lot of pitches crushed) and I'll argue it's one of the hardest balls ever hit in the history of the game.

Gonzalez is sometimes forgotten about when it comes to the fearsome sluggers of the early-to-mid 1990s. His inclusion in the Mitchell Report and in Jose Canseco's book have tarnished his legacy quite a bit (and kept him out of the Hall of Fame), but in his day he was down right scary as an opponent.  Yet, by all reports he was one of the nicest players to ever break your heart with a booming home run. (Late in his career I was lucky enough to get his autograph before a game. He signed for about 30-40 folks at a game against the Rays during his second stint with the Rangers).

He never played more than 155 games in a season due to a variety of injuries, but he still managed 434 home runs. Unlike today's all or nothing home run hitters, he also had a respectable .295 career batting average, a .343 on-base percentage and a .904 OPS.  In 1998 he mashed 47 home runs AND 50 doubles in route to his second MVP award. He was a monster - no wonder he was nicknamed "Igor"

Whenever I see the highlight it also reminds of what it was like to watch the game as a kid. These guys were still heroes to me. I was still playing the game with some inclination of possibly being a major league player (that didn't work out - again the mediocre fastball) and possibly sharing a field with some of those very players. 

This was before the strike and before steroids were a thing (although look at that line-up, someone was most likely juicing already). For me there was still more joy in the game than frustration. Hopefully, those moments are still available to young fans. I think there needs to be that belief in the fun of the game and a little bit of hero worship in the younger generations before the jaded skepticism kicks in. Because it is moments like that that carry us through the tough times. A Gonzalez blast or Ripken spearing a ground ball up the middle and spinning a throw over to first are the memories that help when I read about the depressing things associated with modern athletics.

Maybe there was some kid in D.C. on Monday night that was awed by the display Bryce Harper put on and will carry that on as a lifetime memory. Or maybe Machado will do something spectacular in his last game representing the Orioles that will help us get through the back part of this season.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 27

Orioles Victory Number 27: 1-0 over the Texas Rangers

2018 Topps Zach Britton

We're hitting that point of the season where I'm starting to wonder if anything matters at all.  Yes the Orioles won, which is always nicer than them losing, but still what does it all mean? In about a week the roster is most likely to be decimated. There is a good chance that Manny Machado is still in the organization only so that he can represent the Orioles at the All Star game,  which may be the dumbest reason yet for the Orioles to delay a trade.

The things this management staff does is mindbending at times. Take for instance the handling of Zach Britton. He should have been traded last year and he wasn't because of concern over the health of some of the players coming back in the deal, one of which was Colin Moran. Moran has since been traded to the Pirates and the third baseman has put up a slightly below replacement level season (-0.1 WAR) hitting .262 with 8 home runs and and a .336 on base percentage. If you were wondering yes those numbers are better than either Tim Beckham (by a long shot) and Danny Valencia (comparable).

Since then, Britton ruptured his Achilles which disrupted any chance of trading him in he off-season. It also took him out of action until mid-June. A point at which the Orioles were well out of the hunt for the playoffs. As a left-handed reliever who had a history of being dominant he was, by his very nature, a valuable trade asset. The only question involved was how the injury affected his performance.

For the most part it seems that he is getting back to his pre-injury ability. In fourteen appearances he's allowed runs in only two of them but he struggled with his control early in his return. Luckily for the Orioles (and his trade value) he's shown signs of his old dominance since the calendar flipped to July. In six appearances he's worked six innings, struck out six, walked one and allowed one hit. He's also induced 8 ground balls and allowed only 2 fly balls which indicates his sinker is back to it's pre-2017 nastiness.

So why hasn't he been traded yet? There is no reason to hold on to him, it's not like he's an All Star. Waiting is going to only invite the potential of another injury or bad outing. For the good of all things holy don't make the same mistake two years in a row.

And that's what we've come to. Any good performance by a player is now viewed through the lens of it improves his trade value, not as hope for the future. Valencia hits a home run - trade him. Jonathon Schoop singles to the right side to win a game - trade him. Chris Davis makes contact with a pitch - trade him.

Trade them all now. Blow this thing up in spectacular fashion. Trade everybody and call up the entire Norfolk roster. If someone wants Dylan Bundy and is offering a top-50 prospect, do it. Same with Kevin Gausman and Trey Mancini. Let's burn this thing to the ground. It's not going to make that much of a difference in the standings.

OK.  I'm done.

JustinG.'s Current Trade Rankings (updated!)
(in order of most likely to be traded)

1. Manny Machado
2. Zach Britton
3. Mark Trumbo
4. Danny Valencia
5. Mychal Givens
6. Jonathan Schoop
7. Brad Brach
8. Kevin Gausman

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 26

Orioles Victory Number 26: 5-4 over the New York Yankees

2018 Topps Living set Manny Machado

Even in the darkest of times there can be a little bit of light. The Orioles are on pace to win about 46 games this season. That means they are on pace to lose....well a lot. There are many nights where they don't play very well. There is an overall lack of excitement in regards to most of the players in the line-up (I like Jace Peterson as much as the next fan, but he's not exactly a building block). The bullpen, once a strength is a rotating cast of characters struggling to string together three outs at a time.

Yet, on a night like last night, baseball can still be fun. The best player in a generation for the team belts two home runs including a Ruthian shot that landed over 440 feet from where contact was made. A struggling hitter slapped a ball the other way to score the winning run. The bullpen held it together and a once-dominant closer showed flashes of his old self in locking down the win. Best of all it came at the expense of the Yankees.

It's small moments like this that will get you through the season.

Seriously, how much fun was that first home run? That baseball was destroyed. Manny Machado took all of his recent frustration with the trade talks (for the first time this season it seems like it might be getting to him) and unloaded it on that innocent baseball. It's good to see his power coming back down the final stretch of his Orioles career.

It might have been the last great game he will have in the orange and white of the Orioles. So remember it fondly. There might not be that many more like it this summer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 25

Orioles Victory Number 25: 5-4 over the New York Yankees

1985 Topps Mike Boddicker

The Orioles snapped another lengthy losing streak on the backs of home runs by Mark Trumbo and Danny Valencia. For once, there were actual runners on base when the balls cleared the fence and provided enough runs for the Os to edge out the one-run victory.

Yea.  Twenty-five wins. On July 9th. That's so very, very bad. Sadly it might get worse. How? Well, the trades should start happening any day now. That means players that have been good enough to warrant attention from other teams will soon be playing for those other teams leaving holes in the Orioles line-up that will presumably be not as good as those that they are replacing.

One of those players is, of course, Manny Machado. The widely talented shortstop is the most sought after asset on the trade market this summer. There are reports that seven teams have made former offers for Machado and that the deal could come down this week.

That would lead to yet another wonderful slap in the face for the 2018 Baltimore Orioles. Their lone all-star representative, Manny Machado who was voted in by the fans on Sunday, could be playing for another organization by the time the game rolled around. A game taking place just down the interstate in Washington, D.C. none the less.  Great times.

This has happened in recent memory. In 2014 Jeff Samardzija was traded from the Cubs to Oakland after he had been named to the team but before the game was played. For the game Samardzija was deemed ineligible and wore a generic uniform and hat.

Photo by Jesse Johnson USA Today Sports

With the Dodgers as one of the leading contenders for Machado's services, history could repeat itself. As the game no longer determines home field advantage as it did in 2014, the league may let him play for the either team. In fact, they should lean into it and play it up. Maybe the winner of the home run derby gets to pick which team he plays for or there is a pre-game coin toss for his services.

The Cubs were still represented at the Mid-Summer Classic in 2014 as Anthony Rizzo made the squad. Will the Orioles be so lucky? Probably not, there really isn't a healthy player on the roster that has earned that distinction. So they could theoretically not have a player in the game.  That would be awesome.

Things could also come full circle if the Cubs end up snatching Machado. One of the players that is rumored to be on the way to the Orioles would be Addison Russell. The Cubs shortstop was one of the key players that went to Chicago in the 2014 Samardzija deal.  That would make me smile. 

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 24

Orioles Victory Number 24: 8-2 over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1981 Topps Dan Ford

Is this technically an Orioles card?  No, no it's not. I don't care. This is my blog and my rules. I have no idea who defaced this card of Disco Dan Ford. I don't think that's my handwriting (plus I would have been all of 5 years old and living in Germany when this came out). Could I have defaced it at a later date? It had to have been done sometime between 1982 and 1985 since those are the years he was with the Os.

Does it bother me that a card has been "ruined" like this? No, not really. I'm pretty sure I could snap my fingers and find a replacement in near-mint condition for this 37 year-old card. That someone (possibly me) took the time to scratch it out and "update" it makes it more endearing to me. Ford was a good player, and a key platoon player during the 1983 championship run, but he was no superstar. So it's not like someone scribbled all over a '52 Mantle.

In fact, it reminds me of a simpler time of collecting (caution - old man waxing nostalgic) when I was more concerned with getting cards of players that played for the Orioles. If you had offered me Ford, an Al Bumbry card and a couple of other no-name Baltimore players for a 1981 Tim Raines rookie, I would have made the trade in a heartbeat. After all, who cares about some guy playing in Montreal?

I have no doubt that this card was once wrapped in a rubber band and thrown in a shoe box. As a kid I just liked having cards, there was no need to worry about their condition. That didn't come until much later. Cards were to be looked at, traded and thrown in a box and stuffed in a closet when it was time to go to school.

Part of me wishes we could go back to that - get away from the "mojo" hits and $1,000 eBay sales  - but that's not going to happen. Heck, I'm as guilty as the next person to hoping that any pack I open has a Mike Trout short-print or insert in it that I can flip for a few bucks in the ol' PayPal account. Still, I almost get as big a thrill when I pull a Johnathan Scoop base card - just because it has the Orioles logo on it. Maybe I should find an Andrew Cashner base card and break out the ballpoint pen for old times sake.

Oh, in regards to the game - Mark Trumbo ups his trade value with two bombs and Kevin Gausman had another solid start.  Way to break another losing streak, boys.

JustinG.'s Current Trade Rankings (updated!)
(in order of most likely to be traded)

1. Manny Machado
2. Mark Trumbo
3. Brad Brach
4. Danny Valencia
5. Mychal Givens
6. Jonathan Schoop
7. Zach Britton
8. Craig Gentry