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I Just Want to Thank Everyone that made this Night Necessary

I think that Yogi Berra said it the best when thanking people inSt. Louis when the city decided to honor him when the Yankees came into town in 1947.  He meant to say “I just want to thank everyone that made this night possible” but it came out “I just want to thank everyone that made this night necessary.”

Last night I was promoted to the rank of Commander in the United States Navy.  I’ve been in the military 30 years and this is the first rank that I have not held twice since March 1987.  Since March 1st 1987 I served as an Army Captain and Major and then took a reduction in rank to enter the Navy serve as a Navy Lieutenant and Lieutenant Commander.

Swearing the Oath of Office

It was a special night. The management of the Norfolk Tides was happy to indulge my desire to do the oath behind home plate and throw out the first pitch.  Dave Rosenfield the General Manager approved it early in the season and his staff led by the Director of Community Relations, Heather McKeating made it happen and Linda Waisanen the Box Office Manager helped get the tickets for my guests in the same section.  It was good to see and talk with some of my friends from the Tides that I haven’t seen for a while, pitchers Chris Tillman and Chris George and catcher Adam Donachie.   Of course there were also my friends Elliott, Chip and Audrey the Ushers, concessionaires and members of the Tide Watchers Booster club.

RP1 Nelson Lebron, me and Judy

I had the honor of having my old commanding officer from Marine Security Force Battalion, Colonel Mike Paulovich USMC (Retired) come down from Washington DC to administer the Oath of Office.  Likewise I had my wife Judy, who has seen me through my entire career and endured many separations due to deployments, field exercises and schools at my side.  For those that have not served in the military the stress that our spouses go through is tremendous and many marriages do not survive.  There is a reason that around many military bases you will see bumper stickers that say “Navy wife, the toughest job in the military” or Marine or Army wife.  I was also honored to have my former assistant from EOD Group Two RP1 Nelson Lebron there. Nelson and I went to Iraq together and he is an amazing Sailor and I count him as a close friend.  He was my trusted body guard and I would go to war with him again any day of the week.  Judy and Nelson switched out my shoulder boards before I took the oath.

I also had some very special friends in attendance at the game, people that I really wanted to be there; LCDR Greg Ostrander USN (Retired), Randy and Sandy Smith, Jerry Channell, Denise Denise Özdemir and Karen Johnson and their significant others.  There were some people that because of military duty or other commitments that could not make it, however I know they were there in spirit due to the notes, messages and phone calls.

With Advisers in Iraq

One problem of living on the opposite coast from your family is that it is difficult to have them with you on occasions like this.  My mom, my brother and his family in California could not be here but hopefully if I make Captain in a few years or when I retire they will be able to come.  My dad passed away the day after the selection list was announced in June of 2010 but I know that he was here in spirit.

Me and RP1 Nelson Lebron in Iraq, there is no better body guard

There are people that were there for me at many points in my career that helped “make this day necessary.”  The late Master Sergeant Harry Zilkan from the UCLA ROTC detachment and Sergeant First Class Harry Ball who broke me down and built me up during my ROTC pre-commissioning “Advanced Camp at Fort Lewis in 1982 were early influences.  SFC Ball a crusty Special Forces type with a lot of Vietnam tours had me blubbering “I got nowhere else to go” like Lewis Gossett Jr. did to Richard Gere in the movie An Officer and a Gentleman. Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Lawson my ROTC advisor at UCLA was also helpful during those two formative years.  First Sergeant Jim Koenig at 557th Medical Company taught me a lot about enlisted leadership and helped mentor me as a young Lieutenant while Colonel Donald A. Johnson the commander of the 68th Medical Group showed me how to get the most out of people and the importance of knowing the details of an operation without getting in the way of people doing the mission.  Master Sergeant (Retired) Cynthia Carter was my Platoon Sergeant at 557th and went through a lot of deep waters with me there.  She was at my promotion to Captain at Fort Sam Houston in 1987.  I am still in contact with a good number of my soldiers from the 557th and each of them was helpful in my career.

LTC Ike Adams and me 1987

When I started down the road to becoming a chaplain back in 1987, Lieutenant Colonel Ike Adams, my Executive Officer at the Academy Brigade, Academy of Health Sciences was very important in helping me down that road. He is now a professor at Asbury College in Wilmore Kentucky.  Chaplain, Major Wayne Lura (USA Retired) gave me advice that has kept me out of trouble talking to me about the pitfalls of ministry and chaplaincy even before I even went to seminary.  Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel Rich Whaley saved my ass a number of times at the Army Chaplain school during the Basic and Advanced courses.  I have stayed in contact with Rich, who I believe is one of the finest chaplains that I have ever met and he now is the Endorsing Agent for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints working with LDS Chaplains in both the Military and other Federal Chaplain programs.  Chaplain, Colonel John Price was an Episcopal Priest and the State Chaplain for the Texas Army National Guard and taught me a lot about how to be there for people, especially leaders going through difficult times.  Chaplain, Colonel Paul Howe who I served with in Germany during the Bosnia Operation helped me as a young mobilized Army Reserve Major learn to be a good supervisory Chaplain and look out for the junior chaplains and assistants under my care. He also taught me something important about caring for the sacramental needs of a diverse Christian community.

Army Chaplain School 1990 with Chaplain Bill Blackie (L) and Rich Whaley (Center)

There also was my congregation at Fort Indiantown Gap Pennsylvania, where I served from 1997-1998.  My Commanding Officer, Colonel Tom Allmon, his family and my Parish Council including the late Major General Frank Smoker USAF/PAAirNG, Colonel Ray Hawthorne, USA Retired, the late Major Scotty Jenkes (USAF Retired), CWO4 Herman Bolt, (USA Retired), and Sergeant Bill Ward, and my assistant SSG, now Army Chaplain, Major Steve Cantrell were all instrumental in my success there while General Smoker, Colonel Hawthorne and Colonel Allmon wrote letters to help get me into the Navy.

When I came into the Navy I was helped by Captain John Kaul CHC USN, who served as my Division and MEF Chaplain at Camp LeJeune. He became a model for my Chaplain ministry and has been a great encouragement over the years.  Captain Fred Elkin CHC USN, was my first detailer and set me up for success by sending me to the Second Marine Division figuring that my Army background would help me there.  Fred and I later served at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. Captain, Chaplain Deborah McGuire, CHC USN, was great to work with at the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.  Captain Mike Langston the II MEF Forward Chaplain who I served with in Iraq set me up for success there and Captain Jesse Tate CHC USN was really good in helping me get through the toughest time of my life after I returned to Iraq and was assigned to Portsmouth.  My fellow Chaplains there, Commander Jeff Seiler, Commander Derek Ross, Commander Kevin Anderson, Lieutenant Albert Cross, Fr. Fred Elkin and Chaplain, Captain Jerry Shields USN (Retired) were amazing in helping me get through that painful time.  Then there is my current staff, Lieutenant Shauna Sanders, Captain, Chaplain Vince Arnold, USN (Retired) and Chaplain, Lieutenant Commander Duke Quarles USN (Retired).  I have had a number of great assistants and Religious Program specialists during my time as a chaplain.  Of course there have been others who have along the way been there for me to give advice, encouragement and assistance that are too numerous to name.

USS HUE CITY Boarding Party

My commanding officers that I have served with in Marine Corps and Navy units have been awesome including Marine Lieutenant Colonel T. D. Anderson, Colonel Louis Rachel,Major General Richard Lake, Colonel Mike Paulovich and Colonel Dan Rogers.  Sergeant Major Kim Davis USMC was an outstanding Sergeant Major to work with, the grandson of Brigadier General Benjamin O. Davis, the first African American General in the U.S. Army, he taught me much in caring for Marines and gave me really helpful advice a number of times.  Captain Rick Hoffman my first skipper on the USS HUE CITY and his Command Master Chief, CMDCM Mark Dubiel were awesome to work for with as are my current Commanding Officer at Naval Hospital Camp LeJeune Captain Dan Zinder, MC USN and my current Command Master Chief CMDCM Terry Prince.  Command Master Chief Gerry Pierce, (USN Retired) has been like family since we served together on HUE CITY.

Soul Vikes

Then there are my fellow officers in the Navy, Army and Marine Corps, my shipmates from the HUE CITY and the Sailors, Soldiers and Marines too numerous to mention that have been part of my life for the last 30 years.  Likewise my teachers and professors, LCDR Jim Breedlove and Senior Chief John Ness from the Edison High Navy Junior ROTC program, Gloria Nomura, Coach Duke Pasquini, Dr. Delmar McComb at San Joaquin Delta College, Dr Helmut Heussler at California State University Northridge, Dr. Doyle Young and Doug Dickens at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Steve Ivy at Parkland Memorial Hospital. All of these men and women were amazing in my education and formation as an academic and Priest.

Last but certainly not least are those friends that have been there for me for years going back to my “Soul Vikes” from Edison High School and Stockton Junior High. Those that I went to Army ROTC at UCLA, and those that I have served with over the years in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps as well as seminary classmates, and my colleagues in the clergy from my old church and the Apostolic Catholic Orthodox Church where I serve today.  Thank you Bishop Diana Dale, and my old friends Fr Greg Schluter from the Navy and the Charismatic Episcopal Church, Major Marty Grossman who I have known since my first day on active duty, Dr. Rick Herrera, Gary Vassar and Becky Munoz-Smith who were with me at UCLA and so many more friends, shipmates and comrades that I cannot name them all.

Finally there are my readers on this site that have encouraged me with their comments since I started this site in February 2009.

If as Hillary Clinton said it takes a village, I have good sized town that has stood by my side over the years and I am blessed.

Again I just want to thank everyone that made this night necessary.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Military, shipmates and veterans

The Oath: Reflections on the Oath of Office and 30 Years of Service

It was a hot and smoggy summer day in Van Nuys California when drove into the parking lot of the old Armory on Van Nuys Boulevard in my 1975 yellow Chevy Monza with a black vinyl top.  It was August 25th 1981.  That night the San Francisco Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 4-2 and the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Seattle Mariners 6-5 in 12 innings.  In less important news the Voyager II space craft reached its lowest orbit around Saturn.

Getting out of the car I walked into the offices of the Headquarters, 3rd Battalion 144th Field Artillery of the California Army National Guard.  I had in my sweaty hands the paperwork from the Army ROTC detachment at UCLA the “Bruin Battalion” accepting me into the program and allowing me to enlist simultaneously in the National Guard.

I was met by the Headquarters Battery Commander, Captain Jeff Kramer who after my commissioning would allow me to borrow his sword and sword belt to wear at my wedding with my Dress Blue Uniform.  Jeff finished his career as a full Colonel.  He took me to Major Charles Armagost the battalion S-1 who rapidly had a clerk type up my enlistment papers and administered the oath of enlistment below:

I, Padre Steve (I wasn’t one then but it sounds good) do solemnly swear (I don’t affirm because it’s namby pamby) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States (Ronald Reagan) and the Governor of California (Jerry Brown)  and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God.

That was the beginning.  I was taken to the supply sergeant who ordered my uniforms which came as a surprise since I had been issued a set by the ROTC detachment.  Of course the ROTC ones were the green permanent press fatigues which I loved and the Guard ordered the then new BDUs which some Navy units still wear. The Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and parts of the Navy having replaced them over the past decade.  My first drill was when the Battalion went to Fort Irwin for a long weekend in early September; I was on the advanced party and was assigned to drive a M151A1 “Jeep” in the convoy from Van Nuys to Fort Irwin.

Renewing the Oath on my Promotion to Lieutenant Commander 2006

In June of 1983 I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and I took a different oath, an oath of office versus enlistment, I would repeat it again in February 1999 when I was commissioned in the Navy and renew it in 2006 upon my promotion to Lieutenant Commander.

I, Padre Steve, do solemnly swear (again I don’t affirm, namby pamby) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Since I swore the oath the first time I have served in the Army and Navy, in the Army National Guard of California, Texas and Virginia and the Army Reserves. I have spent about six years assigned to the Marines in my capacity as a Navy Chaplain.  I have served in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, at sea and ashore in war and peace.  I have served as a Company Commander and a Staff Officer before becoming a Chaplain and there is no greater honor than to serve this country.

Iraq 2007

It is hard to believe that it has been 30 years.  I do take the oath of office quite seriously especially the part about defending the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.  Since I have served 30 years I have served five Presidents and seen Congress make some fairy wild changes of direction.  That is the thing about our republic our officers do not make their oath to the President or even the majority party in the House of Representatives or the Senate. National Guard Officers also swear an oath to the Constitution of the State in which they serve but their commissions are cognizant on their Federal recognition and thus they like all other officers are sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States above all.

This is a good thing as I have not completely agreed with the actions or policies of each President and Congress that I have served. While I have deeply held political views they have never kept me from serving under administrations that I have disagreed with on major policies.  Officers may have strong political views but those must always be subordinated to our oath to support and defend the Constitution.  General Winfield Scott Hancock said “We are serving one country and not one man.” Hancock was a states rights Democrat who remained in the Union because he did not believe that secession was legal.  He had no political friends in Washington and he served valiantly during and after the war.  When asked about his opinion on what to do when their home state of Virginia seceded from the Union by his friends and fellow officers George Pickett, Lo Armistead and Dick Garnett before the war in California he said “I shall not fight upon the principle of state-rights, but for the Union, whole and undivided.”

This is not the case in much of the world. Many militaries swear allegiance to the ruler, the state, ruling political party or the majority religion.  The officers in many Moslem nations combine their oath with the Bya’ah which includes a personal oath to the King or Sheik and the Islamic statement of faith.

The British military swears an oath to the Queen and her successors:

“I ( name), swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors and that I will as in duty bound honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty, her heirs and successors in person, crown and dignity against all enemies and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors and of the generals and officers set over me.”

The Red Army of the Soviet Union swore an oath to “to protect with all his strength the property of the Army and the People and to cherish unto death his People, the Soviet homeland and the government of Workers and Peasants, also to respond at the first call from the government of Workers and Peasants to defend the homeland, the USSR.”

Germany has had a rather perilous history with oaths sworn by the military.  The Imperial Army swore an oath to the Kaiser but when the Kaiser abdicated and the Weimar Constitution was ratified German Officers and Soldiers took this oath: “I swear loyalty to the Reich’s constitution and pledge, that I as a courageous soldier always want to protect the German Nation and its legal institutions, (and) be obedient to the Reichspräsident and to my superiors.”  The history of the Republic shows that many officers and soldiers, especially those that had served under the Kaiser resented this oath.  In 1933 Hitler changed the oath to this  “I swear by God this sacred oath, that I will render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Fuehrer of the German Reich and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and will be ready as a brave soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath.” The current German military oath states: “I swear to serve loyally the Federal Republic of Germany and to defend bravely the right and the freedom of the German people. So help me God.”

All oaths hold potential dangers but those of theUnited States military officer corps is perhaps the best thought out oath in the world.  The oath is to the Constitution, not a person, political party or religion.  The efficacy of the oath is based on the honor of those that swear to uphold it.  In times of national turmoil it is important for officers and enlisted personnel to ensure that remember that fact.

When a nation is as badly divided as we are at this point in our history there will be divergent views regarding political beliefs in the officer corps.  This has happened before but only one time did it fracture the military and that was during the Civil War.  Many Southern officers in Federal service resigned their commissions and entered the service of their home states as did a number from the North who had family or marriage connections to Southerners.  Those that did so believed that they had a higher allegiance to their states and viewed the Federal government as an oppressor.

My family came from Cabell County Virginia in the far west of the state.  It was one of six Virginia counties to vote to remain in the Union. My family opposed this and sided with the Confederacy.  They owned slaves and sided with their self interests over their neighbors.  I find the talk of secession by some politicians today repulsive and hateful and those that even suggest it should be shunned by every American.

But there were Southern Officers that remained loyal to the Union; the most prominent of which was General George Thomas. Thomas was a highly successful commander who remained in the Army despite having his friends and superiors in the Second U.S. Cavalry Regiment including Albert Sidney Johnston and Robert E. Lee.  He struggled with his decision but kept his oath.  His family was outraged by this and turned his picture against the wall, destroyed his letters, and never spoke to him again.  They also refused his financial help after the war.  He was pro-emancipation and commanded some of the first Black Regiments in battle during the Western campaigns.  Thomas is emblematic of the cost that one can endure in remaining true to his oath.

Politicians, pundits and preachers from both parties will always attempt to peel military personnel, especially officers away from their oath to the Constitution in order to appear strong on defense, more patriotic or ingratiate themselves to them during a time of war.  This is nothing new, George Thomas noticed it after the Civil War and said “I am also afraid that the military arm is becoming more or less infected with politics; let us by all means keep that branch of the public service free from the taint of intrigue and party strife.”

Yes we have problems I this nation, but they are not insurmountable.  A strong and able military that keeps its oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United Statesis necessary to that end; it cannot allow itself to be drawn away from that no matter what our individual political beliefs.  General Winfield Scott Hancock said “The time under our System of Government, when an army becomes political in its character … is about the end of its career.”

I’m proud that I will have a chance to renew that Oath of Office when I am promoted to Commander in the Navy on Thursday.  Technically there is no legal requirement to do this as an officer in continuous service as the promotion is only cognizant on me accepting it and signing the letter of acceptance.  However I do think it important that I renew it publicly to remind me that I serve the people of this country in a time of war and not any political party.

A dear friend, Retired Marine Corps Colonel and former commanding officer will do the honors for me behind home plate at Harbor Park in Norfolk before the Norfolk Tides play the Gwinnett Braves.  We went through many difficult times together and I cannot imagine having anyone else stand with me in reaffirming this sacred oath.

As for the place of the Oath, I could have chosen from several but the Tides and baseball mean a lot to me, after Iraq Harbor Park was one of the few places that I found peace.  When the season ended the team management allowed me to visit and walk the concourse in the off season.  I can’t think of a more fitting place to renew the Oath.

I pray that I will be faithful to the oath and the people that I serve in the coming years.  It is an honor to still remain in the service of this country.  I have served five Presidents and quite possibly will serve under another before I finally end my service. That is a testament to our political system, there have been no purges of the military like in many other nations and the military is not a king maker.  We can be immensely thankful for that.

Those serving in the military come from every walk of life as well as political and religious beliefs.  What sets us apart is that we serve in harm’s way and look out for each other regardless of those beliefs even when they conflict.  I think the rest of the country could learn a lesson from us.

So long as we remain people of good will and commit ourselves to placing the interests of the nation above our own we shall do well.  That is the essence of the Officer’s Oath of Office.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under History, leadership, Military, philosophy, Political Commentary

Norfolk Tides 2010: The Season in Review

“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.” A. Bartlett Giamatti

Now that the World Series is over it is time for my annual Norfolk Tides photo essay.  This time of year is kind of sad for me because baseball is over until the Spring and one of my refuges from the storms of life goes away for a time. Baseball has its own liturgical cycle beginning with Spring Training moving to Opening Day, the All-Star Game, the Pennant Race, the Post Season and the World Series.

The season began at Harbor Park with the Home Opener in early April and closed on the Road.  From my vantage point in Section 102 I had the opportunity to watch some great baseball, get some great pictures and become friends with some great people.  These photos chronicle the 2010 season at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish and is dedicated to the players and management of the Norfolk Tides.

Opening Day

Left-hander Troy Patton had a rough start but finished strong and ended up in Baltimore

Adam Donachie with kids from a “Field of Dreams team”

Robert Andino hammers a double down the left field line

Twilight at Harbor Park

Jake Arrieta comes into field a bunt

Strike three! Alberto Castillo strikes out a member of the Toledo Mudhens

Close call…Steve Lerud gets a brush back against the Durham Bulls

Saluting the Negro Leagues

Muddy Warrior: Michel Hernandez during a rainy game. By the way the Tides had no home rain outs in 2010

The Mascot: Rip Tide

Adam Donachie tags a runner out at home

Chris Tillman had a great year with the Tides including a no-hitter against the Gwinnett Braves and a one-hitter

Andy Mitchell’s flowing submarine delivery continued in 2010 although he struggled at times. He was the go-to man in middle relief for much of the season and saved many bullpen arms.

Close play at 2nd

Adam Donachie guns down a runner at second

Jake Arrieta jams Gwinnett’s Joe Thurston

Call to the Bullpen: Chris George picks up the call

Blake Davis slides head first into home

Mike Gonzalez making a rehab appearance with the Tides before going back up to Baltimore

Robert Andino goes high to keep a throw from the plate from going into center field

Paco Figueroa slides into home

Michael Aubrey slams one of his 22 home runs

Blake Davis slides into home

Elliott the Usher give his opinion on a call

Alberto Castillo played the setup man for much of the season

Nolan Reimold hits a home-run during a season marked with by early struggles and steady recovery of his 2009 Rookie season in Baltimore

Joey Gathright dodges a pitch

Brandon Snyder played a solid first base and became a solid hitter as the season went on

Nolan Reimold and Rhyne Hughes wait for a pitching change

General Manager Dave Rosenfield

Steve Lerud makes the throw to first after making the force at at home

Matt Angle gets out of the way of Gwinnett catcher J. C. Boscan

Robert Andino and a member of a “Field of Dreams” team

Nolan Reimold tosses to Paco Figueroa for the out with pitcher Mike Hinckley looking on

Jim Miller was moved from being a 2009 AAA All-star closer to various places in the bullpen

Before the storm

Chris George moved from the bullpen to a starting slot

Rhyne Hughes looks on incredulously after a bad call

Celebrating a walk off win

Jeff Salazar drives a pitch into right field

Regina blows a kiss at the home plate umpire

Josh Bell worked his way up to Baltimore where he took the 3rd base job

Brandon Snyder makes the putout at first

Zach Britton moved up from Bowie mid-season did very well and may be a mid-season call up to Baltimore in 2011

Matt Angle makes the throw in from right field

Safe at home on throwback night

Josh Bell singles past a Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees pitcher

The bullpen waits for the call

Jim Hoey fires a strike

Bobby Dickerson has a few words with an umpire

Chris Chambliss and Gary Allenson meet with the umpiring crew before a game

Call third strike

Come backer a visiting pitcher dodges a line drive

Rhyne Hughes rounds third

And the rain comes down

After the rain: The grounds crew hustles to dry out the field

Jeff Salazar chase down a fly ball

The Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish at night

Brandon Erbe struggled much of the year until an injury put him on the DL for the rest of the season

Brandon Snyder takes a lead at first against Gwinnett

Art the Usher with Cow Ripken  in the background

Robert Andino tags out a member of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees

Paco Figueroa tagged out trying to crash through an opposing catcher

Marine Night

Jonathan Tucker takes a strike

Jonathan Tucker safe at home

Armando Gabino was a solid spot starter and reliever. He went 7-0 in games that he started

Another shot of Andy Mitchell the Tides winningest pitcher in franchise history. He declared free agency at the end of the season

Nolan Reimold beats out a ground ball at first base

Michael Aubrey and Paco Figueroa shift as an opposing hitter hits a ground ball

An opposing batter swings over a pitch

Dennis Sarfate led the Tides in saves and had an outstanding year, he is now a free agent

Kam Mickolio fires a strike

Harbor Park at dusk

A member of the Charlotte Knights looks on after a called strike

Jeff Salazar greets a runner at home

A season draws to an end

Rip Tide loses again in a race around the bases

Alfredo Simon warms up in the bullpen. Simon went from starter with the Tides to sometimes closer with the Orioles

The season at home comes to an end

Chris Tillman pitches a win against the Detroit Tigers on October 3rd at Camden Yards

And so the season ended and this team will go different ways, many players that I consider friends will move on and others up.  New prospects will come up and some of the team will be back. To my friends and all the 2010 Norfolk Tides have a great off season and my best to you and your families.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Baseball, Batlimore Orioles, norfolk tides, Photo Montages

Bascom Dominates: Tides Sweep Braves Win 6-2

Tim Bascom picked up his 4th win with another strong start

The Norfolk Tides defeated the Gwinnett Braves on Wednesday Night behind the pitching of Tim Bascom who made his second strong start in a row pitching 6 innings allowing a run on 3 hits. Tides’ relievers Kam Mickolio and Alberto Castillo shut down the Braves from the 7th inning on with Mickolio allowing one run to secure the win for the Tides.

The Tides offense went to work early driving out Braves starter Erik Cordier who was making his Triple-A debut.  The Tides blasted Cordier with 5 runs on 2 hits but 4 walks. He was not helped by an early throwing error which sent Matt Angle to third after stealing second base. Cordier would leave the game with 2 outs in the bottom of the first and the Braves relievers led by Cory Gearrin held the Tides to just one more run.

Michael Aubrey Tripled in the 5th inning

The Tides batted around plus some in the first inning sending 10 batters to the plate. Matt Angle led off taking a walk from Cordier and stole second taking third on a missed catch error by Second Baseman Joe Thurman. Paco Figueroa flied out and the Jeff Salazar walked. Michael Aubrey struck out and it looked like Cordier might get out of the inning.  Rhyne Hughes singled to drive in Davis and send Salazar to third bringing up Catcher Michel Hernandez. Hernandez doubled scoring both Hughes and Salazar and then Cordier walked Buck Britton and Adam Donachie to load the bases.  This brought Miguel Abreu up and the newly promoted outfielder singled to score Hernandez and Britton before Blake Davis flied out to end the inning.  The Tides picked up their 6th run in the bottom of the 5th inning when Michael Aubrey tripled and came home on a sacrifice fly by Rhyne Hughes.

The Braves picked up their first run in the top of the 6th when Britton gave up a double to Tides scourge Barbaro Canizares and an RBI single to Clint Sammons.  Kam Mickolio entered the game in the 7th inning and struck out the side.  Sammons was involved in the Braves second run singling in the top of the 8th and advancing to second when Mickolio walked Luis Bolivar. Orlando Mercado grounded out to score Canizares before Mickolio yielded to Alberto Castillo with two outs in the top of the eighth.

Tim Bascom (4-7 6.86 ERA) got the win and Erik Cordier (0-1 67.50 ERA) took the loss. The Tides had 6 runs on 7 hits and one error leaving 6 men aboard.  The Braves 2 runs on 7 hits and one error stranding 11 base runners.

In what to many Tides followers Lou Montanez was designated for assignment to make room for Robert Andino on the Orioles 40 man roster.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Baseball, Batlimore Orioles, norfolk tides

Tides down Braves 5-2 as Tillman Picks up 11th Win: Orioles Promote Reimold, Andino and Snyder

Tides First Baseman Brandon Snyder was one of Three Tides called up by the Orioles Wednesday. He had a 2 run home run in hte 2nd Inning on Tuesday

The Norfolk Tides returned home to the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish and got back on the winning track defeating the Gwinnett Braves by a score of 5-2.  In a game that featured strong pitching by Tillman and the Tides relievers as well as tremendous defensive play especially by Robert Andino who despite his error filled season is when he wants to be is a superb defensive shortstop.

Back in the Big Leagues: Nolan Reimold triumphed over adversity to get himself back to Baltimore

Tillman set and the defense set the pace early by shutting down the Braves until he was relieved for the pitch count and number of innings thrown as he will likely be recalled to Baltimore.   Of note was a tremendous double play began by Robert Andino on a ball hit softly well to his right which he fielded, made a perfect throw to Second Baseman Paco Figueroa who in turn threw a strike to Brandon Snyder at first base to double up Luis Bolivar and Clint Sammons.

The Tides struck early in the second inning off Braves starter Jose Oretgano.  Ortegano walked Nolan Reimold and then Brandon Snyder hit what appeared to be a routine deep fly ball that just kept going until it landed in the Straub Beer Party Deck to give the Tides a 2-0 lead.  In the 6th inning the Tides stretched the lead. Matt Angle got aboard when Braves Center Fielder Antoan Richardson who dropped a routine fly ball.  Robert Andino then had an infield single to advance Angle to second base.  Ortegano then tried to pick off Angle and threw the ball away, Angle went to third and then Shortstop Joe Thurston rushed the throw to third and threw the ball away allowing Angle to score to give the Tides a 3-0 lead.

Robert Andino proved to be a clutch hitter despite problems in the field

Tillman struck out the first two batters that he faced in the 7th inning and was relieved by Armando Gabino who retired Antoan Richardson to ground out to shortstop Robert Andino for the third out.  The Tides added two insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning. With one out catcher Adam Donachie walked and Paco Figueroa then doubled to score Donachie and advanced to third on the throw home.  Figueroa scored on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Salazar who had come into the game as a defensive substitution for Matt Angle in the top of the 7th inning. In the 8th Gabino ran into a problem walking Wes Timmons with one out and the giving up a 2 run home run to Joe Thurston before pitching out of the inning.

The Tides sent Dennis Sarfate to the hill to close the game and Dennis struck out the side on 11 pitches to get his 19th save of the year.  Chris Tillman (11-7 3.34 ERA) got the win giving up 5 hits in 6.2 innings work striking out three braves.  Jose Ortegano despite on giving up 3 hits in 5.2 innings work got the loss with his record going to 3-10 with a 6.12 ERA.  The Tides had 5 runs on 5 hits with no errors leaving 3 men on base. The Braves had 2 runs on 7 hits leaving 7 men aboard but made three critical errors that helped give the Tides some additional help.

The teams meet tonight at Harbor Park for the final time of this season with Tim Bascom (3-7 7.31 ERA) coming off an excellent start against Charlotte on the road pitching for the Tides against Erik Cordier making his first start at the Triple-A level.

In personnel moves the Orioles called up Robert Andino and recalled both Nolan Reimold and Brandon Snyder in the first of their September call-ups. I expect that Chris Tillman and at least two other pitchers will be called up, my money would be on Armando Gabino and either Dennis Sarfate, Kam Mickolio or Frank Mata.

See you at the game,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides doubled up by Braves Sunday and blanked Monday end Road Trip 4-4

Chris Tillman makes what should be his last appearance in a Tides uniform tonight

The Norfolk Tides looked to be a winner on Sunday leading 4-0 in the 6th inning when things began to come apart. The Tides had taken a 3-0 lead in the top of the 3rd inning when Paco Figueroa singled and Matt Angle reached on an error and Figueroa advanced to 3rd base.  With runners on 1st and 3rd Robert Andino singled to bring home Figueroa. Michael Aubrey struck out for the second out before consecutive singles by Nolan Reimold and Lou Montanez which scored Angle and Andino to give the Tides a 3-0 lead.  In the top of the 6th the Tides added to their lead as leadoff batter Lou Montanez reached second on a throwing error by shortstop Luis Bolivar.  With 2 outs catcher Michel Hernandez delivered a single to score Montanez to give the Tides a 4-0 lead.

Starter Troy Patton who pitched a shutout for five and two thirds innings gave up a walk to Troy Glaus and then a home run to Barbaro Canizares.  He got out of the inning with the Tides still leading 4-2 and would be relieved by Pat Egan in the 7th.  Of late the Tides relief pitching has been exceptional often going long and shutting out the other team to keep the Tides in the game.  It was not so Sunday as nearly every reliever struggled to some degree in the 7th inning.  Egan allowed 2 runs on one hit but only one was earned getting only 1 man out. Alberto Castillo fared no better allowing 2 runs on 2 hits again getting only one man out and finally Jim Hoey who allowed 2 runs on 2 hits but got the final out.  Castillo (1-2 4.58 ERA) would get credit for the blown save and the loss and Braves middle reliever Michael Broadway (3-0 5.68 ERA) took the win. The Tides had 4 runs on 6 hits with no errors leaving four men stranded. The Braves 8 runs on 10 hits with 2 errors leaving 8 men on base.

On Monday night the teams played the final game of the series with the Braves shutting out the Tides 4-0. Zach Britton pitched well for the Tides giving up only 1 earned run in 5 innings work but victimized by errors committed by Blake Davis and Robert Andino.  Tides hitters were shut down by Braves starter Scott Diamond (4-0 2.41 ERA) who pitched a complete game two hit shutout. The Tides mustered no runs on 2 hits and committed two errors leaving 3 runners aboard while the Braves had 4 runs on 10 hits with one error. Barbaro Canizares homered for the Braves.  The teams meet tonight at Harbor Park with Chris Tillman (10-7 3.53 ERA) making what will likely be his final start for the Tides before going to Baltimore as a September call-up facing Jose Ortegano (3-9 6.31 ERA).  Other Tides will likely make the trip to Baltimore over the next couple of days and if I was a betting man I would guess that pitchers Armando Gabino, Frank Mata and Kam Mickolio who are all of the 40 man roster get the nod as well as Nolan Reimold, Brandon Snyder and Lou Montanez.  I would like to see a few others get called up in some case as nothing more than for loyally staying in the organization. I would like to see Dennis Sarfate, Andy Mitchell and Jim Miller get the call although only Sarfate has the numbers to support a call up. I would also like to see Paco Figueroa and Matt Angle get a few swings in the majors.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Another Comeback: Tides Scalp Braves 5-4 on 8th Inning Rally

Kam Mickolio picked up his 4th win of the season in relief against the Braves allowing just one hit

The Norfolk Tides won their 4th game in a row on the road their longest road winning streak of the year against the Gwinnett Braves at Cool Ray Field in Lawrenceville Georgia. Early in the game it did not appear that the Tides would come out in the win column as the Braves scored early against Tides starter Chris George who was victimized, as so many other Tides have been by errors by Shortstop Robert Andino.  The Braves scored twice in the second inning on consecutive errors by Andino to give the Braves a 2-0 lead.  The Braves scored again in the 4th inning when Wilkin Ramirez singled and Clint Sammons homered to give the Braves a 4-0 lead.  Chris would give up the 2 earned runs on 8 hits in 5 innings work before coming out in favor of Kam Mickolio in the 6th inning. Mickolio pitched two strong innings of relief giving up 1 hit and no runs.  During the first 6 innings Braves starter Todd Redmond had the Tides number as he has throughout the year giving up no runs on 5 hits a walk while striking out 8 Tides.

Brandon Snyder had his 7th home run of the season 41st RBI

The Tides began their comeback in the top of the 7th against reliever Michael Dunn who had gone 2-0 with a 0.98 ERA in the International League and a win with Atlanta before Saturday and this game would be different.  Brandon Snyder crushed a pitch by Dunn over the left center field wall to put the Tides on the board and cut the Braves lead to 4-1.  Mickolio held the Braves scoreless in the bottom half of the inning and the Tides came back up to the plate in the top of the 8th.  In that inning the Tides struck hard. After Matt Angle was put out on a bunt ground ball Robert Andino singled. Jeff Salazar then walked and Braves Manager Dave Brundage decided that Dunn was done bringing in Stephen Marek who in 45 appearances for the Braves had a 2-1 record with a 1.15 ERA but who gave up 2 runs to the Tides and registered his only loss of the season the last time he faced the Tides on August 17th at Harbor Park.  Marek got Nolan Reimold to pop up on the infield fly rule but then with Lou Montanez batting Andino and Salazar executed a double steal to put them both in scoring position.  Montanez singled to score Andino and Salazar bringing Rhyne Hughes to the plate.  On a 1-1 count Hughes homered to right to give the Tides a 5-4 lead.

Rhyne Hughes hammered his 9th home run of the year in the 8th inning

Frank Mata relieved Mickolio in the bottom of the 8th and put the Braves down in order.  The Tides were silent in the 9th inning and the Tides brought Dennis Sarfate into the game to attempt the save. After getting Wilkin Ramirez to pop out and Clint Sammons to ground out Dennis gave up a two out single to Nate McLouth. He then retired Matt Young on a fly ball to left fielder Jeff Salazar to end the game and give the Tides their 4th win of the road trip. Kam Mickolio (4-3 6.32 ERA) got the win for the Tides and Dennis Sarfate got his 18th save. Stephen Marek (2-2 1.51 ERA) took the loss his second to the Tides in 10 days.  The Tides had 5 runs on 9 hits and Andino’s two errors stranding 5 runners. The Braves had 4 runs on 10 hits with no errors leaving 7 men on base. The teams will meet Sunday afternoon with Troy Patton (7-11 4.67 ERA) taking the hill for the Tides against Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy (2-0 2.67 ERA).

The Orioles transferred Jason Berken from the 15 Day to the 60 Day DL.  In Anaheim the Orioles defeated the Angels 5-0 on a strong performance by Kevin Millwood. Former Tide Josh Bell had his 3rd homer of the year a 2 run shot against Angels’ starter Scott Kazmir.  Jim Johnson made his first relief appearance since coming off the DL shutting down the Angels in the 9th inning to give the O’s a 2-0 series lead and their 5th win in a row over the Angels.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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