Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nestor Aparicio Comments on the Radio Biz

So WNST's Nestor Aparicio, unsurprisingly, weighed in on  the Orioles switching their radio affiliation from CBS's 105.7 to WBAL. Also unsurprisingly, he somehow made it about himself.

On Tuesday night we learned what we’ve known for months – Peter G. Angelos and WBAL Radio are going back into business together once again for the 2011 Orioles season and beyond. The old man finally gets his eternal wish – to be the king of the AM band on summer nights on a dying radio station that no one listens to anymore but cadavers and people in his age demographic who still think a “smart phone” is one with an answering machine.

Let's address the "dying radio station that no one listens to but cadavers", etc. WBAL is a consistent top ten performer in Baltimore and is no stranger to the top five either (in people meter ratings for ages 12+). That's hardly a dying station. And I would guess that those numbers would have to include a significant percentage of people who are not card-carrying members of AARP.

Say what you will about the AM band but WBAL has put together a lineup of programs that get ratings and generate revenue.

It’s like jumping in and out of sleeping bags for both franchises and these two corporate monoliths as a formerly lucrative revenue stream – local radio rights – continues to dry up as sports fans go to places on the internet like for an honest look at the news, issues and analysis revolving around the franchises and the big business that follows those logos and partnerships.

Well, it's not like Hearst (owners of WBAL) are in business to lose money. And it's not as if CBS didn't want to keep the Oriole radio rights. By all accounts, there were at least two suitors to be the flagship station of the Orioles Radio Network. And one was a station that already performs solidly in the market and didn't need to overpay for the Orioles to improve their brand or put themselves on the map. They evidently believe that they can sell the Orioles 162 nights a year and see that as a viable product, a product with an audience.

And really? Who really listens to baseball or football on the radio with any consistency circa 2011 when you can get a real-time scores, chatter and every situation from your mobile device on websites like

For football, I'll give Nestor a pass. He could be right about that. But baseball? Baseball is a game that lends itself fabulously to radio. I'll take listening leisurely to Fred Manfra and Joe Angel any day over clicking on any website from my smart phone. If I'm not at home to watch it, I'm listening. Guaranteed.

When will our friends (105.7 The Fan hosts) Scott and Bruce and Ed and Steve and Bob and Mark and Damon and Jeremy begin “Uncensored” gameday coverage of the Orioles now that Angelos will do his best to make sure they don’t see a dime of revenue regarding the baseball team?

Good question. WBAL did not have the right to Orioles radio for four seasons. I don't remember them suddenly launching an outrageous sports show to finally "tell it like it is" about the Baltimore Orioles. They were no longer beholden to Peter Angelos. Even if you believe that they would have an ax to grind, what's the upside?

In theory, the upside would be ratings and subsequently, cash.

WNST, as they say, "tells it like it is" about the Baltimore Orioles all the time. Where has that gotten them? Last place. Dead last, consistently, in the Baltimore people meter ratings. You can tell the truth all you want but it doesn't always make for compelling radio. At least not compelling enough to attract a decent audience.

The rest of the post just addresses Nestor's standard grievances with the team. I'd say you've heard them before but evidently, there aren't that many of you listening.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tim Kurkjian Believes in the "Presence" of Vlad

I was over on reading Tim Kurkjian's column where he asks one question of each of the 30 MLB teams as they head into Spring Training. For the Orioles: Is this the year they finish .500?

They scored the second-fewest runs in the American League last year, and didn't have anyone with as many as 77 RBIs. Guerrero drove in 115 runs last season, and he gives the Orioles a presence that they didn't have in 2010.

It's not as if Vladimir Guerrero will just show up with an extra 40 RBIs in his equipment bag. RBIs are useful, if at all, as a team stat only. And Kurkjian knows that. And there's that word "presence" again. What does that mean exactly? Is Vlad a ghostly spirit whose aura will mystically envelop the Orioles lineup? Seems like lazy shorthand for "proven hitter". I know this is just a quick hitter type of column but we expect better from you, Tim!

The rest of the Oriole section opines that with the addition of Vlad, Luke Scott or Felix Pie could be trade bait for another starting pitcher, that the team seemed to respond to Buck Showalter's message and that he believes a .500 season is possible.

However, when the only questions for our AL East rivals are related to bullpen (Red Sox and Rays), 4th and 5th starters (Yanks) and direction of the franchise (Blue Jays and they seem to be headed in the right direction), it's hard to see how Kurkjian could see a .500 season as probable.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Cheer, Andrew Gibson?

When I first started out writing a blog, I was largely unfocused and unsure why exactly I was writing a blog.  It was shortly after I found out that there was a blog about the Orioles called Cookin' With Gas.  It mingled my more in depth interest (and perhaps too strong devotion at the time) to utilizing statistics alternative to those frequently used by more traditional scribes.  That is, why rely on problems with fielding percentage when you can use new things like total zone.  As far as I could tell, it was an oasis in the statistics barren field of Oriole writing.  What was disappointing to me was that the site had been recently defunct. So, I took to periodically writing in 2007 to fill the void. The hope was that my presence would somehow trigger others to write and then I could read them instead of writing my own work. 

It is now 2010 and I think there are several bloggers out there who are interested in the numbers.  Not merely what the numbers say, but how they are crafted, how they are calculated, and how effective they are.  People that seem to share that joy of mine in sitting down and re-engineering statistics.  Yet . . . I still blog.

Today, I would like to focus on a writer who has lately emerged and has written several interesting items.  Andrew Gibson has been posting over at Camden Chat.  He is someone to which I think you all should pay some attention.  In today's BORT, I am going to go over his piece on the Orioles Defensive Efficiency right after the jump cut.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Crystal Ball 2011: Luke Scott

It seems like anytime I sit down to write about Luke Scott, I feel compelled to defend him.

This is because the Oriole fan base still underestimates him and they fail to understand what a good hitter he is. The Vladimir Guerrero signing has highlighted this fact yet again. When debating the relative merits of the two players, I was told that I was "way overvaluing Luke Scott" (even though over the past 3 seasons, Scott and Guerrero have exactly the same .845 OPS and that Scott has a better park-adjusted OPS+, 122 vs 121, than Vlad) and that Luke did not "significantly outperform" Vlad in 2010 (even though Scott posted a .902 OPS while Guerrero put up an .841 OPS. I'd call that significant). Just when I thought it was impossible, Luke Scott is getting even less respect than he ever has, even after his best season to date. He's quickly becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball.

I won't even address the assertion that signing Vladimir Guerrero "gives the O's a legitimate clean up hitter which the Orioles have NOT had since Palmeiro" (yes, these are all actual quotes) since I already havea couple of times. Scott was one of the premier cleanup hitters in the American League last season. Period.

But since people are quick to dismiss 2010 as Scott's career year, a performance that he won't be able to repeat...fine. One year means nothing. Evidently, three years means little as well. So let's go back five seasons and see how Luke stacks up.

Looking at all qualified MLB batters over the past five seasons, Scott ranks 27th in slugging and 17th in Isolated Power. That puts him just on the cusp of all the elite power hitters in the game. And he has sustained it for five seasons.

I'm going to quote The Hardball Times' Steve Treder once again as he gives a wonderful definition of the cleanup hitter:

The role has been called "cleanup" since forever for a reason: See the runners soiling the pristine white bases out there? This guy's job is to clean them bases up, get them runners home.

Obviously it's great if a cleanup hitter hits for a high average and/or draws a lot of walks, but if he's doing either or both of those things without hitting for power, he isn't properly performing the cleanup function. Setting the table is a means to an end, not an end in itself; the purpose of getting on base is to come around and score. The cleanup hitter is there to convert baserunners into runs, to finish what the others have started. And that means hitting for power, and plenty of it.

Sounds like Luke Scott to me.

For the past 5 seasons:

                         AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS   OPS+   ISO   2B   HR
Luke Scott 2006-2010    .272  .357  .512  .869   126   .241  131  103

Pretty nice numbers, huh?

I think it's safe to say that Scott is a good bet to at least slug .500 and get on base at a .350 clip. That's a nice floor for a player who continues to be better than anyone will give him credit for.

So if you want to give Mr. Guerrero the label of "legitimate cleanup hitter", that just fine. But just know that now the Orioles have two of them.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Four Quotes about International Talent in the Dominican Republic

A little more depth on these things can be found over at Camden Depot, but I thought this might be a conversation worth having over here.  I should also have another post up here tonight or tomorrow.

Some administration news . . . I'm looking for reader submissions.  If you want me to highlight a news item or you want to take your own take on it for me to throw it up here, email me at camdendepot at gmail.  If  can find a few writers with top notch skills, I'll grant access for them to post at will.

Onto the four quotes:

ESPN's story on the Dominican Prospect League where unsigned Dominican players take part in a 25 game schedule.
"Also, though most teams' scouts have shown up regularly for games, Mejia notes that some teams -- like the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles -- still have not had a regular presence at games."
Roch chasing the story with an interview of International Scouting Director John Stockstill.
"We do have people reporting to us," Stockstill said.

Stockstill also pointed out that many of these players are showcased at other events. "And many of them have probably been at our facility and our camp," he said. "And that's not just Baltimore. That's probably a lot of other clubs, as well."

In other words, the Orioles aren't depending only on this prospect league to evaluate the talent over there. On any given day, you might have 20 workouts taking place at various complexes.
Brian Mejia's, founder of the Dominican Prospect League, response.
This whole DPL and O's presences was blown out of proportion. I was asked a question by ESPN reporter and gave a simple answer. It's not like the O's don't scout, evaluate and sign players in DR. The question was asked, "how many teams are consistently evaluating players at the DPL games". I gave him a simple answer.

The O's have many other things to worry about than being at all 25 DPL games. They do what they do and sign who they like... Budget, sign ability, need and roster spots all come into play when making signing decision in DR. The DR is small but players are everywhere, I'm sure they are doing their due diligence, I'm also sure everyone in BAL FO wants to win asap, any opportunity they have to sign the right guy they will do it.
A year later and this is a quote from Andy MacPhail.
They're not playing baseball anymore. What these guys prepare them to do is to come in all these complexes -- and now we have one of them -- and they'll do workouts. They're not playing the game anymore. They're guys who have been developed over three or four years to look good in a three or four day tryout. And there are those old fashioned amongst us who are concerned that's not really the look we need to make a good read on a 17-year-old kid out of the Dominican. We would much rather see them play games. 
Do these quotes seem as peculiar to me as they do to you?

Camden Depot Articles on this.
Baltimore May Be Dropping the Easy Ones, Too... (January 6, 2010)
Roch Kobatko Chases Down Stockstill about the DPL (January 7, 2010)
The DPL Trilogy: The Agent/Co-founder Responds (January 9, 2010)
Revisiting the Orioles International Effort (February 13, 2011)