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I Guess I am Not a Christian



i think that I am a Christian. I have been baptized, made my profession of faith, been confirmed, married in the church and been ordained as a Deacon and Priest, but I guess to some that isn’t enough. Of course I am talking about the Christian Taliban of the Christian Right, people whose theological knowledge and expression is about as articulate as a hamster on steroids, and who think that only they have the keys to the kingdom of God. 

I have consumed a fair amount of excellent craft beer tonight but even so, my understanding of faith, the  Christian Faith and theology is better than idiots that I encounter. I had it happen again tonight and of course it was some ignorant fundamentalist from Texas who decided that I was not a Christian. 

Frankly I have had it. The ignorance of the supposedly Christian Right, which sadly I have to say I once considered myself to be a part,  has so poisoned discourse in this country that it is embarrassing. If such is the Christian Faith I would rather be be condemned to Hell than to be considered a Christian by their standards. 

As Pedro Cerano (Denis Haysburt) said in the movie Major League “fuck you Jobu, I do it without you.”

Of course I am not talking about Jesus, who I like very much, but who is no help with curveball, but rather the ignorant fundamentalist who sit as prosecuting attorney, jury and judge over those who they hate. Yes I said hate, because that is the only explanation for such behavior. If that means that I am not a Christian, then so be it. 

Pray for me a sinner.

Peace,

Padre Steve+ 

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Woe Woe Woe the O’s Woes Continue to Grow

Earl Weaver like him or not knew how to manage and motivate

“The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.” Earl Weaver

Well if you are an Orioles fan like me you have got to be wondering what is going on in Birdland.  The Orioles sports fans are losing and are patently not following the advice of their legendary Orioles skipper Earl Weaver. After a perfectly miserable 2009 season the Orioles looked like they had righted the ship and were ready if not to be competing for the AL East title at least to be competitive and playing .500 ball.  Veteran hitters like Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins were added to the line-up and last year’s crop of rookies including Catcher Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold were expected to start shining.  Additionally with Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis  and Felix Pie in the lineup the hitting drought of last year was expected to end.  In the pitching department great things were expected as the young arms of the O’s supplemented by veteran Kevin Millwood acquired from the Rangers over the winter were also expected to perform at a higher level than last year.

Matt Wieters is developing well for the O’s

Unfortunately no plan survives first contact with the enemy and it looks like the Orioles who definitely have the talent and potential to be competitive need to find a way to win.  After losing their opener in Tampa they won the second game in that series but haven’t seen a win since. They lost the third game in Tampa and returned home to be swept by both the Blue Jays and the Rays before losing last night in Oakland to the surging Athletics.  With a 1 win and 9 losses the O’s are tied with the Houston Astros for the Marianas Trench of Major League Baseball and as of the moment show no sign of coming out of this crash.

Miguel Tejada brought back for his bat leads the O’s in RBIs but is not hitting well for average…yet

The team batting average is only .232 and the have scored a total of 29 runs in their first ten games and their on base percentage is a mere .309.  Neither are they stealing bases with only 3 stolen so far this year. Felix Pie is leading the team in hitting at .400 with a on base percentage of .455 and slugging percentage of .650.  Miguel Tejada leads the team in RBIs with 7 nearly a quarter of the Orioles total run output.  Matt Wieters is showing signs of maturity at the plate hitting .313 and an OBP of .405.  However some of the bats which are expected to deliver have not woken up yet and maybe it is time to invoke prayers to Jobu to wake them up.  Brian Roberts is now on the 15 day Disabled List and has been replaced at second by Justin Turner called up from the O’s AAA affiliate the Norfolk Tides.

Big Righthander Kam Mickolio was Brought up for injured Mike Gonzales

The pitching staff widely regarded as having some of the best arms and potential in the majors has fared no better with a 4.89 ERA giving up the most hits with 97 hits to their opponents in these ten games and they have allowed 32 walks. In one area the pitching staff is doing well, the can strike out opponents ranking third in the majors with 80.  Kevin Millwood leads the staff with a 2.13 ERA while rookie Brian Matusz has the team’s only win and leads the team with 15 strike outs.  The biggest disappointment has been newly acquired closer Mike Gonzalez.  Gonzales has blown two saves and lost both games and has an 18.0 ERA.  He is on the 15 day DL and the O’s have called up Kam Mickolio from Norfolk as a middle relief man while moving Jim Johnson to the closer role.

Now it is certainly very early in the season but losses in April count just the same as losses in September and losing nine of your first ten games puts you in a very deep hole to start the season.  However at this point one has to start asking what is going on. The O’s are a very talented team and by all rights should be doing much better than their record and statistics suggest.

Orioles Manager Dave Trembley….”Nice guys…finish last?”

At the end of last year I laid the blame on Orioles Manager Dave Trembley.  As I said then:

“The one spot that I think that the team needs a change is the Field Manager Dave Trembley.  Trembley seems to be a good teacher but is not terribly inspirational.  Admittedly he began the year with a weak squad but something is not working and I do like his calm, but I wonder if the teams needs fire rather than calm right now.  My choice would be for the O’s to make a serious offer for Bobby Valentine now that he has returned from Japan.”

From “Oh, Oh, Oh O’s….The Orioles Skid Continues….” September 29th 2009 at  https://padresteve.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/oh-oh-oh-o%e2%80%99s%e2%80%a6-the-orioles-skid-continues-but-there-are-some-bright-spots/

Please do not get me wrong. I think a lot of Dave Trembley, however the team seems to have little life and it is my opinion that a very motivational manager with proven success at all levels of baseball like Bobby Valentine would be an ideal choice to manage the Orioles.  With so much of the season left I do not think anything is gained by keeping Trembley at the helm.  Now is it possible that Tremblay and his managerial style could turn the team around….certainly.  He is popular with the players a gentleman and a very nice person but I’m not so sure that he is the man to make this happen.  In addition to Valentine Clint Hurdle who has managed at Norfolk and led the Rockies to the World Series in 2007 is coaching at Texas and if one wanted a Baltimore connection there is Don Baylor who is currently the hitting coach for the Rockies.  If an interim manager is needed the Orioles could reach down to AAA Norfolk for Tides manager Gary Allenson who has the advantage of having worked with many of the younger O’s for the last four years and managed the Bluefield Orioles of the Appalachian League as well as the Ottawa Lynx before they moved to Norfolk and became the Tides.  He has a long history of managing in the minors and it may be his time to hit the bigs.

Norfolk Tides Manager Gary Allenson might be a good interim manager should the Orioles fire Trembley

Regardless of what course the Orioles take it is imperative that they start winning. Success breads success and as Chuck Tanner said: “I don’t think a manager should be judged by whether he wins the pennant, but by whether he gets the most out of the twenty-five men he’s been given.” Unfortunately I don’t think that Dave Tremblay is getting the most of this very talented young team and even though it is very early in the season it is not too soon to make the change at the top.  As Leo Durocher said “What are we out at the park for, except to win?”

I’m hoping that the Birds will turn it around soon.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Tides Bats Come Back to Life: Tides Crush Knights 9-0

Jake Arrieta Got his First Win of 2010

Well sports fans I was not able to make the afternoon game at Harbor Park this afternoon a little thing called work got in the way, however between counseling young sailors I was able to listen to the game in the internet and thus still kept my finger to the pulse of the Tides.  Speaking of the “pulse” the Tides bats which were dead on arrival last night came back to life as if resurrected by the Lord himself.  Part of this may have been due to the weather which was a bit more temperate and a whole lot less wet than last night proving once again if you don’t like the weather in Hampton Roads wait five minutes.

Tides starter and Orioles hot prospect Jake Arrieta pitched seven innings shutting down the Knights allowing only 3 hits while striking out five.  Knight’s starter, International League MVP and White Sox prospect Carlos Torres who had shut down the Gwinnett Braves last week in his first start of 2010 allowed 4 runs on 6 hits giving up 3 walks taking the loss in front of 3002 fans and one that was not in the ball park.  Guess who?

The game was a study in contrast compared with the last two games against the Knights.  Today the Tides could do nothing wrong and the Knights; well their day was very dark, much like the Tides outing last night only this happened in broad daylight.  The Knights only got 4 hits and were held to no runs by Arrieta and Ross Wolf and had their usually solid Shortstop Brent Lillibridge make two errors on the way to the loss and the Knights left 6 runners on base.  I guess that their prayers to Jobu didn’t get answered.

The Tides barrage began in the bottom of the second inning when Rhyne Hughes singled to right and Michael Aubrey doubled to right.  If this had happened last night they would have died on the bases but not today.  Robert Andino singled to break his hitless streak and drove in Hughes to give the Tides their first lead in three games.  Adam Donachie hit a sacrifice fly to right which scored Michael Aubrey and the Tides were up 2-0.  Joey Gathright walked and then Jonathan Tucker flied to center advancing Andino to third.  Jeff Salazar singled to center scoring Andino and advancing Gathright to second.  Scott Moore kept up his solid hitting singling on a soft line drive to left scoring Gathright.  Salazar was out at home trying to score to end the inning.

The third through the bottom of the 7th inning were uneventful for both teams with Arrieta continuing to take down Knights batters although the Tides left 2 runners on base in the bottom of the sixth. Wes Whisler replaced Torres for the Knights in the top of the sixth.  In the bottom of the 7th the Tides started took advantage of Whisler surrendering two walks to Jonathan Tucker and Brandon Snyder bringing Rhyne Hughes.  Hughes has hit well for the Tides and today crushed a drive over the right field fence for a three run home run making the Tides lead 7-0.

In the 8th the Tides brought in Dennis Sarfate to relieve Arrieta and following his last warm up pitch he came out of the game with an apparent injury to his side. No details have been released on the Tides website or Facebook page so we will have to wait and see what the injury is and hope that it does not stop him as he has pitched magnificently in his first two relief appearances.  Ross Wolf then came in to relieve Sarfate. Wolf gave up a single but no runs and the Tides returned in the bottom of the 8th to continue their drubbing of the Knights.  Charlotte closer Ryan Braun came in to relieve Whisler and found no success. Robert Andino reached on Lillibridge’s second error of the game going to second on an errant throw to first.  Adam Donachie was out on a fly ball to Jordan Danks in center and both Joey Gathright and Jonathan Tucker walked to load the bases.  Jeff Salazar then walked to bring Andino across the plate and Scott Moore hit a sacrifice fly to center which scored Gathright.  The inning ended when Brandon Snyder flied out to Knights Right Fielder Josh Kroeger.

Wolf came out to finish the game in a non-save situation in the top of the 9th inning striking out Stefan Gartrell and Josh Kroeger to start the inning. Dayan Viciedo singled to right to prolong the inning before Brent Lillibridge grounded to Third Baseman Scott Moore who threw to Jonathan Tucker at second to force out Viciedo to end the game.

Arrieta and Wolf pitched one of the best games for the Tides in recent memory combining for the shutout striking out 8 Knights and walking only 2 while scattering 5 hits. Scott Moore, Michael Aubrey and Rhyne Hughes continue to lead the Tides offense with big hits in key situations.

With the victory the Tides put an end to a three game losing streak and brought their record back to 3 wins and 4 losses.  The Tides travel to Durham where tomorrow for a four game series where they will face the Bulls with Alfredo Simon on the hill for the Tides and Jeff Bennett who the Tides kicked around last week on the hill for the Bulls.

On the personnel side of the house Kam Mickolio was promoted to the Orioles to replace closer Mike Gonzales who was placed on the 15 day disabled list by the O’s joining Justin Christian who was promoted when Brian Roberts went on the DL.  The Tides return to Norfolk on Monday for a four game home stand against the Gwinnett Braves.  In Baltimore the Orioles lost their sixth straight game losing to the Rays 9-1 prior to traveling west for a series with the hot Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners.  The O’s are struggling early to find their center.  They have a tremendous amount of talent and one wonders what is going on in the minds of the Orioles coaching staff and management.  My guess is that if Manager Dave Trembley does not right the ship soon that he may be out sooner rather than later because frankly the Orioles are not this bad of a team.

See you at Harbor Park on Monday where the Weather Channel is predicting a high of 66 with clear skies and evening low of 52.  Of course this is Hampton Roads so keep your weather guessing skills sharp as we might have a blizzard or hurricane instead. If you are around section 102 at Harbor Park come up and say “hello” to me.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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