We’re seven days away from opening the 2013 season at Harry Grove Stadium, four days from the first Keys player and coach arrivals and less than a day from KeysFest and single-game tickets going on sale.
Here are five things you should know heading into the weekend.
The Keys’ annual fanfest event takes place tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Harry Grove Stadium. The event is free and will also include the fourth annual Tots2Tweens.com Egg Hunt. There will be free food samples, free games and activities for kids, including a baseball card station and the chance to play catch in right field. Tours will also be available at no cost, along with other activities to get you primed for Keys baseball in 2013.
Check out the final 10 players on our list of potential Keys for the 2013 season here. That group includes:
Tim Berry – He’s ranked the 11th-best prospect in the Orioles system by Baseball America and the 12th-best O’s farmhand by MLB.com. A slender southpaw, look for him in Frederick’s rotation this season.
Jesse Beal – This right-hander missed all of 2011 after having shoulder surgery, but began his comeback in the bullpen with Delmarva in 2012. In 2013, he could be an important piece of the ‘pen in Frederick.
Jason Esposito – He struggled in Delmarva last season, but hit .340 with 22 doubles, nine homers and 59 RBIs in 66 games in college the year prior. Steve Melewski of MASN wrote that the Shorebirds’ third baseman might be moving across the diamond to first this season.
Connor Narron – His father Jerry managed the Keys in the team’s first season and 25 years later, Connor might wear a Keys uniform. A player with the ability to play multiple positions, Narron’s more likely to be promoted to Frederick than start the season here.
Read about those four and the rest of the final 10 here.
3. More roster cuts from spring training
At one point, the Orioles had about 200 minor league players in camp this spring. As a result, the paring down of that bunch to fit regular season rosters has been in full effect over the last week or so. Since March 22, The O’s have released 21 players, according to this Steve Melewski tweet, which came before word of two more releases today.
Among those that have been released are several former Keys and several players that could have landed in Frederick this season, including:
Jeremy Nowak – He led the Keys in batting average and hits last year and was a Carolina League All-Star. Odds are he’ll be picked up by another team.
Joe Oliveira – A Key in 2011 and 2012, Frederick’s catcher hit .209 in 72 games last season.
Buddy Sosnoskie – He has the best name on our list of potential Keys for 2013, but, sadly, it looks as if it name won’t be crammed on the back of a Keys jersey this season. Despite being released, the independent league outfielder was very gracious with his tweets following the bad news.
Other cuts include independent SS Chris Wade, former Keys first baseman Tyler Townsend (retired), former Keys reliever Matt Bywater and independent pitchers Kyle Mertins and Mike Recchia.
4. Keys 25th season gear
2013 marks Frederick’s 25th season of baseball since the Keys inception in 1989. With that silver anniversary comes lots of commemorative swag. A sneak peak of throwback jerseys to be worn on Thursday home games and a 25th season pin is below:
5. A few links
*It looks as if 2000 Key Brian Roberts will move from the top of the O’s lineup to the bottom to start the season, according to Roch Kubatko’s story.
*ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian has love for 2011 Key Manny Machado.
*Watch 2012 Key Johnny Ruettiger lay out and make a nice grab against the Phillies.
Shake your Keys.
A Key for the last three seasons, Tyler Townsend retired yesterday. A third-round pick by the Orioles in 2009, the left-handed hitting first baseman produced well when he was on the field, hitting .295 with 19 homers and 82 RBIs in his Keys career.
Injuries, however, plagued Townsend, 24, and his career lasted just four seasons. Townsend’s best season came in 2011, when he played 67 games for Frederick, batting .317, slugging 24 doubles and 13 homers while driving in 50 RBIs. For his career, he hit .272 with 36 home runs, 64 doubles and 158 RBIs.
MASN’s Steve Melewski wrote a short story about Townsend retiring, which you can read here.
*The plan when the Orioles signed Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia was to have him start the season in double-A Bowie and then quickly make his way to the majors. But visa issues delayed his arrival at spring training, which came on Feb. 28, and reports are that he may start his American baseball career at a lower level — Frederick or low-A Delmarva.
Urrutia, 26, defected from Cuba to the Dominican Republic in 2011, but hasn’t been able to play since 2010, when Cuba suspended him from baseball for attempting to defect. This Baltimore Sun article written by Dan Connolly gives some good background on Urrutia and how he ended up with the O’s.
O’s director of player development Brian Graham told Melewski that Urrutia could start with the Keys or the Shorebirds in this story.
*In another Melewski story, Graham said the O’s could employ six-man rotations with some of their minor league clubs. Given that possibility, let’s try and project the Keys 2013 rotation come opening night.
2012 Delmarva Shorebirds Rodriguez and Bridwell, though both young, seem fairly certain to move up to Frederick this season. Kline, a Frederick native, pitched briefly for short-season-A Aberdeen last season after being drafted out of Virginia and seems like a prime candidate to start the season in his hometown, though he could start the year as a Shorebird.
Berry, Wilson, Howard and Jones all pitched for Frederick last season and all could move up to Bowie. Davies is just 20 years old, but pitched in Delmarva all of last season, his first as a professional, and performed pretty well. Chalas has a little more professional baseball experience, but is also just 20 years old.
My guess for the Keys’ rotation on opening day, in no particular order:
Who do you think will wind up in the rotation this season?
*KeysFest is Saturday at 11 a.m. Single-game tickets go on sale at the event at Harry Grove Stadium, which is free. The Tots2Tweens.com Egg Hunt will be held during the event and there will also be free food samples. More info here.
Shake your Keys.
In 2010, Keys outfielder Ronnie Welty finished among Carolina League leaders in home runs, RBIs, hits, extra-base hits, slugging percentage, runs and total bases. His 32 doubles, 86 runs and 142 hits that year all rank in the top six in Keys single-season records.
Sunday, word came down that Welty, who spent the majority of 2012 in double-A Bowie, had been traded to the Phillies for minor league pitcher Julio Rodriguez. To give Welty a proper send-off, let’s briefly revisit his 2010 season.
In 130 games, Welty hit .282, homered 18 times, drove in 82 runs, stole 11 bases and struck out a whopping 159 times. He led the Keys in hits, runs, doubles, triples (3), extra-base hits (53), homers, RBIs, total bases (234), strikeouts, slugging (.814) and OPS (.814). The Keys’ everyday right fielder finished fifth in the Carolina League in hits, extra-base hits, total bases, slugging percentage and games played (130), fourth in homers, third in RBI and second in runs. He also dubiously led the league in strikeouts.
From June 24 to July 9, Welty put together a 14-game hit streak, during which he batted .410, racked up 25 hits and drove in 12 runs. He also had a streak of 15 consecutive away games in which he reached base, hitting .385 over that span. Welty was named a mid-season and postseason Carolina League All-Star.
Welty played 13 games in Frederick last season and hit .415 with three home runs and 17 RBIs. For his Keys career, Welty hit .294 with 21 home runs, 99 RBIs, 98 runs scored and 169 strikeouts in 143 games.
Rodriguez, who has been optioned to Bowie, went 7-7 with a 4.29 ERA last season for double-A Reading
*Welty’s not the only former Key whose baseball career will not be continuing with the Orioles organization. Among the minor league cuts made at spring training this season are 2012 Key Matt Bywater and independent players Kyle Mertins and Mike Recchia, all three of whom have been or were to be featured in our countdown of potential Keys for 2013.
*MASN’s Steve Melewski sat down with O’s Director of Player Development Brian Graham. There are some interesting bits of information in here, including how the Orioles will handle their minor league pitchers.
*KeysFest is Saturday. Buy your single-game tickets when the gates open at 11 a.m. More info here.
* The Grove’s looking frosty this morning:
*11 days until the season starts. Opening Day is almost here.
Shake Your Keys.
Believe it or not, we’re just 16 days from opening night at the Grove. That means no time for chit-chat — let’s get right into it.
*Part VI of our Frederick 40 Countdown is up. A preview:
Nick Delmonico – The son of a college coach and brother of a Dodgers farmhand, this 2011 draft pick of the Orioles collected 88 hits last season, 33 of which went for extra bases.
Wynston Sawyer – This catcher reached Delmarva last season at age 20 and drove in 49 runs in 81 games.
Chase Johnson – A 6-5, 245-pound righthander, he was drafted by the Phillies and spent last season playing independent ball in Pensacola, Fla.
Matt Price – He shut the door for South Carolina on back-to-back College World Series titles and led the Gamecocks to the championship series for the third straight year as a senior in 2012. In 2013, he could be closing games in Frederick.
Jerome Pena – A former TCU Horned Frog, this second baseman was promoted three times in 2012, finishing the season with the Keys and hitting .308 in 20 games.
*The 2013 Keys won’t arrive in Frederick until the start of April, but MASN’s Steve Melewski provided us with a couple of ideas regarding the Keys’ rosters. Here’s his story from Tuesday, in which he writes Nick Delmonico will move to third this season – he played first and second in 2012 – and likely start with the Keys. Also, Jason Esposito, who played third base at Vanderbilt, is expected to start at first in Frederick this year, according to Melewski. Former Keys Aaron Baker and Tyler Townsend and potential 2013 Key Wynston Sawyer are hurt, he writes.
*2012 Key Dylan Bundy was optioned to Bowie over the weekend, while Kevin Gausman, also a 2012 Key, remains with the Orioles. Gausman is sixth in the AL in strikeouts (14 in 12.1 innings) in spring training.
*The O’s have 20 or so independent players in minor league spring training, which is a rather high number. The blog Seamheads.com has taken notice.
*Former Key Jonathan Schoop is back in O’s camp after his World Baseball Classic stint with the Netherlands. He hit .246 with two homers and six RBIs, helping the Dutch to the semifinals. MASN’s Roch Kubatko talked with him at O’s spring training.
*Orioles hall-of-famer bobbleheads. Check it out.
*Join our ‘Beat the GM’ bracket challenge on Yahoo! for a chance to win free tickets to a Keys game. If you top Keys General Manager Dave Ziedelis, a pair of tickets are yours. First, second and third place will also receive additional prizes.
To join, first go to http://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/t1. Then create your bracket and join our group. The Group ID is 56475 and the password is keyote.
*Single-game tickets go on sale at KeysFest on March 30. Festivities, which begin at 11 a.m. and end at 2 p.m., include the Tots2Tweens Egg Hunt. All the info you need is here.
Get excited! The weekly promos have been released. Check out the release below.
Frederick Keys News Release
For Immediate Release: March 15, 2013
KEYS WEEKLY PROMOTIONS RELEASED
Throwback Thursdays pay tribute to early seasons of Keys baseball
FREDERICK, Md. – The Frederick Keys have announced their weekly promotions for the 2013 season, which include Thursday night deals that pay tribute to the Keys’ first season.
Special for Frederick’s 25th anniversary season, Throwback Thursdays presented by 106.9 The Eagle hearken all the way back to the 1989 season at McCurdy Field, featuring rollback prices on food and drinks. Only on Thursdays, the Keys will offer the McCurdy Field Star Dog for $2 in homage to the White Star Hot Dog, the frankfurter from a Frederick culinary institution that filled the bellies of Keys fans 25 years ago. Peanuts will cost just $2 and domestic beers just $3 on Throwback Thursdays.
Promotions returning this season include Kids Eat Free Mondays, Guaranteed Win Tuesdays, Belly Buster Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays and Sunday Funday, each daily deal designed to offer fans a great ballpark experience without breaking budgets. On Kids Eat Free Mondays presented by Key 103, Youths 12 and under receive a voucher for a free hot dog, chips and a beverage upon entering the gate.
For another season, Keys fans can’t lose on Guaranteed Win Tuesdays. If the Keys win, fans will revel in victory. If the Keys lose, each fan’s ticket stub is redeemable for a free ticket to any Monday-Thursday regular season home game for the remainder of the season. The All-You-Can-Eat Belly Buster Picnics return on Wednesdays in June, July and August. For two and a half hours, paying adults and children can chow down on an assortment of ballpark favorites. Tickets for the Belly Buster Picnic cost just $21 for adults and $18 for children.
In addition to ballpark-wide Throwback Thursdays, Thirsty Thursdays in the Mattress Warehouse Club include a game ticket and a spread of food and beer for only $35. Sunday Funday presented by Fun Bus offers fans the chance to play catch in the outfield and meet Keys players on the concourse an hour before first pitch. Player autographs will also be available in the Giant Eagle Fun Zone.
In continuation of long-standing Frederick Keys traditions, kids can run the bases after every home game and kids who come to Harry Grove Stadium in their sports uniform will receive free admission to any Sunday-Thursday regular season game with the purchase of an adult ticket. Kids Run the Bases is presented by Complete Chiropractic and Kids Courtesy Admission is presented by Weinberg Center for the Arts and The Gazette.
On Mondays, the Mattress Warehouse Club will be open to all fans. This weekly special, Monday Madness, allows every fan in Harry Grove Stadium the opportunity to experience the game from the suite level if they so choose. Food and drink will be available for purchase. This season’s recurring menus in the Mattress Warehouse Club include Taco Tuesday, Burger Madness on Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursday and Gone Fishin’ Fridays.
Preparations for the 2013 season are underway and it’s never too early to book your partial and full season ticket plans for the upcoming year at Harry Grove Stadium. For information on ticket plans contact the Keys Group Offices at 301-815-9900 or via the web at frederickkeys.com.
Contact: Mike Mueller, 301-815-9915
Orioles minor league players start their spring training games this afternoon at 1 p.m. against Tampa Bay and Atlanta. Our man in Florida sent us a picture of the schedule, Sundays, however, did not make the photo.
So until we get a new one, here’s the minor league schedule, Monday-Saturday:
*Believe it or not, the Keys’ opening day is just 23 days away. And Keyote is getting restless.
*For those of you who like numbers, equations, advanced statistics and things of that nature, it’s worth taking a look at this milb.com article on Minor League park factors and run environments written by Ashley Marshall. Essentially, the article takes a look at how conducive each Minor League park and league is to offense.
Based on Marshall’s findings, Harry Grove Stadium is the most neutral ballpark in the fairly low-scoring Carolina League. Since 2008, the Carolina League has averaged 4.5 runs per game, which ranks 15th among 21 leagues. Using the equation listed in the story — ((Runs scored at home + runs allowed at home)/(Home games)) / ((Runs scored on the road + runs allowed on the road)/(Road games)) — Harry Grove Stadium’s park factor based on runs scored is 1.002. A neutral park factor is 1.000, representing “an equal number of runs/homers/hits at home as on the road,” according to the story. Factors over 1.000 favor hitters and factors under 1.000 favor pitchers.
While the Grove is neutral when it comes to runs scored, its home run factor is the highest in the Carolina League at 1.689. Winston-Salem is second at 1.189. While the Grove is favorable to dingers, its overall hit rate is just .967. Read the full article here.
*The Orioles held an intrasquad game at spring training yesterday and filled out the lineups with some minor leaguers. Here’s Roch Kubatko’s notes from the game.
*In case you missed it, we released our 2013 promotional schedule yesterday. A taste: Cowboy Monkeys, Peter Bondra, Tim Kurkjian bobblehead, Man on Fire, 50-cent hot dog night. View the schedule on the Keys’ website.
*KeysFest is March 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Single game tickets go on sale at Keys Fest, which is just 17 days from now. All the info on the fan event, which will host the Tots2Tweens egg hunt and national anthem auditions, is here.
Shake your Keys.
You’ve seen the Keys’ top 10 promotions for the upcoming season, now see the rest of the giveaways, appearances, performances and other promotional happenings slated to take place at the Grove this year. The promotional schedule release is below and can also be read here. A cleaner version of the schedule by date is here on the Keys’ website.
Frederick Keys News Release
For Immediate Release: March 12, 2013
KEYS RELEASE PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE FOR 2013
Unique performances, theme nights, appearances and giveaways on tap for 25th season
FREDERICK, Md. – The Frederick Keys have released their promotional schedule for 2013, their 25th season in Frederick.
The Keys will celebrate their silver anniversary with the city of Frederick all season long, the 25th season celebration reaching its climax on Friday, June 28 at Harry Grove Stadium. Former Keys players, coaches and staffers will be honored in an on-field ceremony, as will long-time season ticket holders. Also, the first 1,000 fans in the gate for the 7 p.m. game against Winston-Salem will receive a 25th season baseball card set presented by Keeney & Basford Funeral Home. The set is comprised of one Keys player from every season, 1989-2013.
After receiving rave reviews in 2012, the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo returns to Harry Grove Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 17. Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard and his dog-riding band of primates will entertain fans during and after the 6 p.m. game against Winston-Salem.
In a similar, off-the-wall vein, the Frederick Keys will host Ted Batchelor, better known as Man on Fire, on Saturday, May 25. In a first for Frederick, Batchelor will set himself on fire and run the bases following the 6 p.m. game against Salem.
Sgt. Slaughter continues a wrestling tradition at Harry Grove Stadium on Friday, June 21, the Keys’ Fredneck Night presented by YellowCab. Jerry “The King” Lawler and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan visited the Grove the last two seasons and this year Sgt. Slaughter will run a Fredneck Boot Camp during the 7 p.m. game against Myrtle Beach, which includes fan-favorite event toilet-seat horseshoes.
The Keys will have three bobblehead giveaways this season, handing out the collectibles to the first 1,000 fans in Harry Grove Stadium before each game. 2011 Frederick Key Manny Machado bobbles presented by BayRunner Shuttle will be given out Saturday, May 11 when the Keys host Wilmington at 6 p.m. 2012 Key Dylan Bundy bobbles presented by Frederick Radiology will be given away on Saturday, July 13, Superhero night, before a 6 p.m. game against Carolina. A bobblehead of ESPN baseball analyst and Maryland native Tim Kurkjian presented by Saint John’s Catholic Prep will be handed out Friday, Aug. 23, when the Keys host Wilmington at 7 p.m.
Former Washington Capitals great Peter Bondra and Caps mascot Slapshot will be at Harry Grove Stadium for NHL Day on Saturday, April 6, when the Keys continue their season-opening series with Salem in a 6 p.m. game. Fans can bring their dogs to the Grove twice this season during the Dog Days of Summer presented by Crossroads Animal and Referral Emergency, Thursday, June 6 and Thursday, Aug. 22.
On Saturday, Aug. 10, the women of Key City Roller Derby will hold a match in the parking lot before the Keys’ 6 p.m. game with Carolina. Keys baseball camps will be held July 1-3 and July 29-31.
One lucky fan will win a three-night vacation to Walt Disney World on the Keys’ Disney Night, Saturday, June 29, presented by Frederick Cruise Holidays and mystery will engulf the stadium on Clue Night, Wednesday, July 17. On Wednesday, July 3, fans 21 and over can party like its 1865 on Taste of History Night presented by Brewer’s Alley and the National Civil War Medicine Museum, which will feature the premiere of the beer Gettysburg Wheat and an assortment of other Civil War era libations.
The weekly promotion schedule at Harry Grove Stadium, which includes season-long food, drink and ticket specials, will be released later this week.
The Keys’ full promotional schedule is below:
April 5 – Opening night, Keys Calendar giveaway presented by H.N. Funkhouser, Keys Magnet Schedule giveaway presented by Kaplan University, Fireworks presented by Frederick Magazine and TransIT, Fun Bus, Keys For Reading (Montgomery and Howard Counties), Boys & Girls Club fundraiser
April 6 – NHL Day, Peter Bondra and Slapshot appearance, MS Walk at Harry Grove Stadium, Keys Calendar giveaway presented by H.N. Funkhouser, Keys Magnet Schedule giveaway presented by Kaplan University, Keys for Reading (Montgomery and Howard Counties)
April 7 – Argo Day, Meet the Team, Keys Calendar giveaway presented by H.N. Funkhouser, Keys Magnet Schedule giveaway presented by Kaplan University, Kids Club Kickoff Picnic, Keys for Reading (Montgomery and Howard Counties)
April 17 – Hispanic Celebration Night
April 26 – Fireworks presented by Amanda Addington RE/MAX Results, Family Fitness Weekend, Youth T-shirt giveaway (ages 12 & under) presented by Amanda Addington RE/MAX Results, American Heart Association fundraiser, Fun Bus
April 27 – Youth water bottle giveaway (ages 12 & under) presented by Amanda Addington RE/MAX Results, Fun Bus, Postgame 1K Fun Run, Family Fitness weekend
April 28 – Zoo and Wildlife Education Day presented by Catoctin Zoo, Fun Bus, Family Fitness weekend, Face Paint by Vicki, Postgame Zumba presented by Fitness First, Catoctin Zoo fundraiser
May 1 – Deaf and Hard of Hearing Night presented by Maryland School of the Deaf, Sign Language Tutorial
May 2 – Senior Day presented by MMI (Mid-Maryland Musculoskeletal Institute)
May 10 – Casino Night, Soolah Hoops, GEICO Gecko appearance, Fireworks presented by Heartfields of Frederick, Keys for Reading (assorted counties), RBBA fundraiser
May 11 – Manny Machado bobblehead giveaway presented by BayRunner Shuttle, Fireworks presented by BayRunner Shuttle, Keys for Reading (assorted counties)
May 12 – Mother’s Day, Brunch in Mattress Warehouse Club, Keys for Reading (assorted counties)
May 22 – $2 Pepsi Bottle Night
May 23 – History Day
May 24 – Fireworks, New Life Christian School fundraiser
May 25 – Man on Fire, Soolah Hoops, Fireworks
May 26 – Girls Night Out presented by Gold Thumb Jewelry, Postgame Diamond Dig, Fun Bus, Fireworks
June 5 – Celtic Night, Pregame bagpipers and dancers
June 6 – Dog Days of Summer presented by CARE (Crossroads Animal and Referral Emergency)
June 13 – Peanut Free Night
June 14 – Going Green Night, Fun Bus, Fireworks, Keys for Reading (Frederick County), LOUYAA fundraiser
June 15 – Jimmy Buffett Night, Soolah Hoops, Fireworks presented by New Life Chiropractic Center, Keys for Reading (Frederick County), Semper Fi fundraiser
June 16 – Father’s Day ticket package, Brunch in Mattress Warehouse Club, Keys for Reading (Frederick County)
June 21 – Sgt. Slaughter appearance, Fredneck Night presented by YellowCab, Fireworks presented by YellowCab
June 22 – Scout Night, Fireworks presented by Wegmans, Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraiser
June 23 – Pajama Night, Soolah Hoops, Meet the Team, Fun Bus, Fireworks
June 28 – 25th Season Night, 25th Season Card Set giveaway presented by Keeney & Basford Funeral Home, Fireworks presented by Keeney & Basford Funeral Home, GEICO Gecko appearance, Heartly House fundraiser, Hat Auction to benefit Heartly House
June 29 – Disney Night presented by Cruise Holidays of Frederick, Fireworks presented by Cruise Holidays of Frederick Keys, Face Paint by Vicki, Seed of Life fundraiser
June 30 – Faith Night, Fun Bus, Fireworks
July 1 – Baseball Camp
July 2 – Around the World Night, Baseball Camp
July 3 – Taste of History Night presented by Brewer’s Alley and the National Civil War Medicine Museum, Fireworks by Mattress Warehouse, Baseball Camp
July 12 – Hot Tub giveaway presented by Browning Pool & Spa, Hollywood Stars Night, Fireworks presented by Browning Pool & Spa, GEICO Gecko appearance, Wags to Hope fundraiser
July 13 – Dylan Bundy bobblehead giveaway presented by Frederick Radiology, Superhero night, Face Paint by Vicki, Fireworks presented by Frederick Radiology
July 14 – Fireworks, Fun Bus
July 17 – Clue Night, $2 Pepsi Bottle Night
July 18 – Super Splash Day
July 19 – Christmas in July, Fireworks
July 20 – Salute to the Orioles, Soolah Hoops, Fireworks presented by Rentals Unlimited
July 31 – Military and Civilians Night presented by En-NET Services, $2 ticket for active or retired military
August 8 – 50-Cent Hot Dog Night
August 9 – Daddy-Daughter Date Night, Fireworks, Soolah Hoops, GEICO Gecko appearance
August 10 – Key City Roller Derby pregame match in parking lot, Cancer Awareness Night, Fireworks presented by Community Radiology Associates, American Cancer Society fundraiser
August 11 – Summer Reading program
August 17 – Cowboy Monkey Rodeo, Rubber Ducky giveaway presented by Precision Heating and Cooling, Fireworks presented by PHC, Soolah Hoops
August 18 – Keyote’s Birthday, Face Paint by Vicki, Meet the Team, Summer Reading program
August 21 – Pirate Night
August 22 – Dogs Days of Summer presented by CARE
August 23 – Tim Kurkjian bobblehead giveaway presented by Saint John’s Catholic Prep, Art in the Park, Jersey Auction to benefit Frederick Arts Council, Frederick Arts Council fundraiser, Face Paint by Vicki, Fireworks presented by Saint John’s Catholic Prep
August 31 – Salute to the Gridiron Night, Fireworks, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser
September 1 – Guns and Hoses Softball Game, PAL (Police Athletic Activities League) fundraiser Fireworks
September 2 – Fan Appreciation Day
Preparations for the 2013 season are underway and it’s never too early to book your partial and full season ticket plans for the upcoming year at Harry Grove Stadium. For information on ticket plans contact the Keys Group Offices at 301-815-9900 or via the web at frederickkeys.com.
Contact: Mike Mueller, 301-815-9915
With the first round of the World Baseball Classic complete and the second round underway, let’s revisit the list of former Keys playing in the international tournament.
The former Key with the most impressive line so far belongs to Netherlands second baseman Jonathan Schoop. The Orioles’ top positional prospect and a Curacao native, Schoop, a Key in 2010 and 2011, started slow but has helped power the Dutch to a WBC semifinal berth. The Netherlands stunned Cuba for the second time in the second round this morning, winning 7-6 on a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth and eliminating Cuba.
Schoop went 1-for-3 in the Dutch victory today — he singled and then was caught stealing second base– but went 3-for-6 with a homer, a double and 4 RBIs in the Netherlands’ 6-2 defeat of the Cubans earlier in the second round.
Entering today’s game, Schoop was hitting .235 with two home runs, six RBIs and a slugging percentage of .647. He started the competition 0-for-6 in the Dutch’s first two games, but then went on a power surge against Australia and Cuba. Schoop and the Netherlands will play Japan (which beat the Dutch 16-4 over the weekend) tomorrow at 6 a.m. to determine the winner of their four-team pool and their semifinal seeding.
The rest of the former Keys:
Allan de San Miguel, C (AUS) – The Australians went winless and were eliminated in the first round and de San Miguel, a 2012 Key, went 0-for-4 in two games. He was also reassigned to minor league spring training last week.
Paco Figueroa, 2B (ESP) – Spain’s second baseman went 1-for-12 with a walk in Spain’s three games, all losses. Now in the Philadelphia organization, Figueroa played 90 games in Frederick in 2006. The Spanish have been eliminated.
Danny Figueroa, OF (ESP) – Paco’s twin brother went 1-for-5 for Spain with a walk and a run. He patrolled center field for the Keys in 2008.
Richard Salazar, P (ESP) – Spain’s southpaw pitched once during Spain’s WBC run, throwing five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two. Salazar pitched in 100 games with the Keys over the 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons.
John Mariotti, P (ITA) –Mariotti got throttled in his start against Mexico, but bounced back to pitch a scoreless inning of relief against the U.S. on Saturday. Against the Mexicans on Thursday, a game the Italians won 6-5, Mariotti lasted 1.2 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits and two walks. Of the five outs he recorded, three came via strikeout. Italy advanced to the second round and plays the Dominican Republic tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Adam Loewen, OF (CAN) – The Canadians were eliminated by the U.S. Sunday, ending Loewen’s WBC experience. Now an outfielder in the Blue Jays’ organization, Canada’s left fielder went 2-for-4 with two RBIs Sunday. Loewen went hitless in Canada’s previous games and finished with a .200 average and three RBIs. A former Keys pitcher in 2004, 2005 and 2008, a stress fracture in his left (pitching) elbow ended his career on the mound.
David Hernandez, P (USA) – A 2007 Frederick Key, Hernandez made his lone WBC appearance for the U.S. so far against Canada, pitching two-thirds of an inning while allowing three hits and a run. The U.S. opens second-round play against Puerto Rico tomorrow at 8 p.m.
*Since we’ve started updating this blog more frequently in mid-February, we’ve noticed quite the uptick in readership. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding: after being unranked among the top 50 MLB pro blogs, Unlocking the Keys finished 31st in page views for February. More proof we have arrived: we beat out a blog devoted to the Philadelphia Phillies’ ball girls by three spots.
Thank you guys for reading!
*Former Key Xavier Avery was optioned to triple-A Norfolk along with two others, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko. X-man was a Key in 2010 and will move from big league camp to the minor league side for the remainder of spring training.
*More love for Schoop, courtesy of MASN’s Steve Melewski.
*25 days until opening night at the Grove.
Shake your Keys.
#1 – Keys 25th Season Celebration – On Friday, June 28th at 7PM, we will celebrate 25 seasons of Keys Baseball. While not all of the festivities are finalized, we do have a very exciting night planned. The night will have pre-game ceremonies honoring long-time season ticket holders and players from the past 25 years. Former Keys coaches and players will be in attendance with the possibility of a big name. Thanks to Keeney & Basford Funeral Home, not only will there be post-game Fireworks, but the first 1,000 fans will receive a 25th Season Commemorative Card Set, with one player from each of the last 25 seasons. If you want to enjoy this special night in style, check out our Gone Fish’n menu that is on tap in the Mattress Warehouse Club.
#2 -Team Ghostrider – Cowboy Monkey Rodeo – Making a return to the promotional schedule is the popular traveling act, cowboy monkey rodeo! On Saturday, August 17th at 6pm, Team Ghostrider will kick off the beginning of a seven-game homestand for the Keys. If you missed the show from last year, we have a highlight video that can be found here. In addition to the main event, Precision Heating & Cooling will be sponsoring the post-game Fireworks show and a Rubber Ducky giveaway for the first 1,000 fans through the gates. For more information on Tim Lepard and the history of Team Ghostrider, check out his website here.
#3 – The Man on Fire – This is a Frederick first. On March 30th, when single-game tickets go on sale, make sure to mark down Saturday, May 25th (6PM) as a must-see. Ted Batchelor, the man well-known for setting the Guinness World Record of longest full body burn without oxygen, will be at The Grove. In 2004, He was on fire for an astonishing 2:38 seconds. This broke Denmark’s great stuntman Stig Gunther’s Record of 2:06. Local act, Soolah Hoops will lead into Batchelor’s post-game frenzy with a fiery hula hooping show. If that isn’t enough “fire” power for you, we will also be shooting off Fireworks after the game. To get single-game tickets for this game, come out to our Keys Fanfest event on March 30th from 11-2. The free event is for all ages! Click here for more details on that.
#4 – Bobblehead Giveaways – 2012 saw the Keys season go by without any bobbleheads, so this year, we wanted to change that! Up first is 2011 Carolina League Championship Series MVP and current O’s third baseman, Manny Machado. Thanks to Bayrunner Shuttle, the first 1,000 fans on May 11th at 6PM, will receive bobbleheads. Bayrunner will also be the sponsor of the post-game Fireworks show. Last season on Superhero Night, Dylan Bundy made his first start as a Key. So this season, on July 13th at 6PM, the first 1,000 fans will get a Bundy bobble, thanks to Frederick Radiology. They will also sponsor the post-game Fireworks. Per usual on Superhero Night, we will have a courtyard meal deal where fans can get autographs from their favorite heroes! If you cannot make it to one of the bobblehead nights, check out our Ticket Plans! Each ticket plan comes with your choice of a Bundy or Machado bobblehead. For more info on that, contact our groups department at 301-815-9900.
#5 – Fredneck Night featuring Sgt. Slaughter – Last year, Hacksaw Jim Duggan was the WWE star to come to Frederick and this year it will be Sgt. Slaughter on June 21st at 7pm. On our annual Fredneck Night, Sarge will be on the concourse signing autographs and taking pictures, like most guests. The cool part about what will go down throughout the game is a Fredneck Boot Camp, run by Mr. Slaugher. In-game promotions run by Sarge, including a fan favorite – toilet seat horseshoes. Following the game, thanks to Yellowcab of Frederick, Fireworks will light up the skies of Frederick. Also, it will be the Gone Fish’n menu in the Mattress Warehouse Club. Click here to see what that entails.
#6 – NHL Day – A year after Rod Langway made his way to Frederick, Caps great Peter Bondra will be at the Keys game on April 6th beginning at 2pm. Bondra spent 14 seasons with the Caps over his 17 seasons in the league, where he tallied 503 goals, 30 playoff goals and 389 assists. Bondra will be joined by the Caps mascot, Slapshot. In addition to NHL festivities, it is also Montgomery and Howard County Keys for Reading Weekend. Keys 2013-14 Calendars will be distributed to fans, courtesy of H.N. Funkhouser along with Keys Magnetic Schedules, courtesy of Kaplan University. You can get tickets for Opening Weekend today with our Opening Weekend Package. Click here for more information on that. Earlier in the day, Harry Grove Stadium will play host to Walk MS.
#7 – Disney Night – On June 29th at 6pm, we are bringing Disney Night to a whole new level. Thanks to Cruise Holidays of Frederick, one lucky fan will be going home with a trip for two to Disney World! It is a three-night trip that includes park tickets and a choice of hotel on the Disney property. Cruise Holidays of Frederick will also be sponsoring the post-game Fireworks show after the contest between the Keys and the Winston-Salem Dash. From 3-4:30, Challenger Little League will be on the field for their annual outing and Face Painting by Vicki will be in attendance for kids. Disney Night will also include a courtyard meal deal to meet-and-greet with Disney characters such as Prince Ali, Snow White and more!
#8 – Pajama Night – Get your stylish PJs ready, because on Sunday, June 23rd at 6pm, the Keys are having Pajama Night at The Grove! Whether you have footie pajamas, Winnie the Pooh pajamas or plain pajamas, this night is the one to wear them to the game! To go along with the PJ theme, we will also be offering Breakfast for Dinner in the Mattress Warehouse Club and the Courtyard. Also, because it is Sunday, it is Sunday Funday presented by FunBus! That means that you can play catch on the field from 5-5:30 and get autographs from two select Keys players on the first base concourse. But wait, there is more! It is also a Meet the Team day! From 5-5:30 on the warning track behind home plate, you can get autographs from the entire Keys team, players and coaches. If that doesn’t get you to the game, then maybe this will…Fireworks will light up the skies of Frederick following the game. So come out to the ballpark in your PJs, meet the team, play catch on the field, eat some breakfast for dinner and enjoy yourself some Frederick Keys Baseball!
#9 – Clue Night – On Wednesday, July 17th at 7pm, we will be paying tribute to a great 1985 movie and a well-known board game. When you walk through the gates of Harry Grove Stadium, in-between inning events will follow a mystery theme with stadium characters Keyote, Frank Key, Hot Dog man and more! Bring along your magnifying glasses and follow along throughout the night to as we uncover an unsolved mystery to on July 17th. Want to enjoy Clue Night with some great food and club seats? For just $31, Burger Madness Wednesday in the Mattress Warehouse Club offers burgers, hot dogs and a plethora of toppings to choose from to make your stay at the game a memorable one. To view the Burger Madness menu, click here.
#10 – The Dogs Days of Summer – Because Bark in the Park is such a fan favorite, we would like to introduce to you the Dog Days of Summer presented by Crossroads Animal Referral & Emergency. Instead of having just one day where dogs will be allowed into “The Grove”, we will have two! On Thursday June 6th and Thursday August 22nd, fans will have the opportunity to bring their pooches to the park. Activities, per usual, include a pre-game doggie fashion show, frisbee dogs in-between innings and plenty of booths on the concourse that want to fit your pet needs! Both nights are also Thirsty Thursday in the Mattress Warehouse Club. So, if you do not have a dog, enjoy a great menu that includes beer for just $35! Click here for the Thirsty Thursday information.
1. Jonathan Schoop leads the Netherlands in a WBC upset
The most notable among Orioles prospects in the World Baseball Classic this year is infielder Jonathan Schoop. In last night’s 6-2 upset win over Cuba, Schoop brought the Netherlands to the brink of a semifinals berth after their impressive run in the 2009 Classic. Mixing in some great play at second base, Schoop’s three-run homer sparked the Dutch to victory.
Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop had a three-run home run in the sixth and finished a triple away from hitting for the cycle to help bring his nation to the brink of a berth in the semifinals with a 6-2 win over Cuba in the first game of the second round on Friday at Tokyo Dome.
“It’s a great moment for our country,” Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens said. “We have the momentum on our side right now. The guys are playing great. They’re scoring first to keep the pressure off the pitching, they play great defense.”
Find the entire recap, including video of the game, here.
2. Wright, Rodriguez and de San Miguel reassigned
MASN Sports Oriole’s columnist Roch Kubatko reported that some cuts were made by the O’s yesterday and some former/future Keys were among those removed from big league camp.
Mike Wright, who went 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA in eight games in Frederick this season, was reassigned to minor league camp after three appearances with the O’s in spring training. Through those three games, Wright compiled a 5.14 ERA over seven innings of work. After an injury plagued year in Double-A (5-3, 4.91), Wright will likely see time with the Baysox again to start the season. O’s manager Buck Showalter was impressed at what he saw from the young farm-hand.
“Very similar stuff (to Rodriguez), except we just want to get him back on track,” Showalter said. “He was a good-looking pitcher last year when he left here. Still have some high hopes for him. We had some periods where he got out of whack last year. Good to see him finish on a high note today.”
Eduardo Rodriguez (19), a potential Key for 2013 and a top pitching prospect behind Bundy and Gausman, saw some time for the O’s in an intrasquad game and the exhibition game again Spain, where he pitched a scoreless inning. It seems likely he will don a Keys uniform this season, after appearing in a game late last season in Frederick. He went 5-7 with a 3.70 ERA for the Low-A Shorebirds in 2012. Buck shed some light on the 19-year old prospect after his short time with the big club.
“Just being around the atmosphere here, and a little bit of the professionalism and kind of what’s got to go on, that was really what I wanted him to get more than anything else. That was a common denominator I was getting back from our people below. That’s something he needed. He needed to really see routine, things like that.”
Catcher Allan de San Miguel was also reassigned. He saw time in the Austrailian League with the Perth Heat and with the Australian World Baseball Classic team, before they were knocked out by Schoop’s Netherlands team. He did not register a hit in four at-bats in the WBC but did hit .294 with five homers and 30 RBI for the Perth Heat, who fell just short of their second title in as many years. San Miguel spent 2012 with the Keys and Baysox, where he hit .239 combined.
For the entire article on the O’s spring training cuts, including more quotes on prospects from Showalter, click here.
3. 22 days until KeysFest
On March 30th from 11am-2pm, the Keys will be holding a fan-focused event that is free to the public. The biggest aspect of this event is the release of single game tickets to the public. One different part of the event this year is the addition of the 4th Annual Tots2Tweens Egg Hunt. The Keys and Tots 2 Tweens have partnered this year to make KeysFest extra special. The first 500 fans through the gates will receive goody bags and kids will get their chance to take pictures with the “Bunny” along with Keys mascots Keyote and Frank Key. Vendors will be all over the concourse and there will be food sampling, custom baseball cards and more!
For the complete press release on KeysFest, click here.
Think you are talented enough to sing the National Anthem at a game? Pre-register today and audition at KeysFest! The form can be found here and can be mailed, e-mailed or faxed.
4. Teeing off with the Newsletter
This week’s edition of the Keys newsletter, including the first information on the annual charity golf tournament can be found here. Never heard of the Keys Care Charity Golf Tournament? Check out last year’s video feature below.
The 2010 highlight video can be found here.
5. Link it up!
Miss any of our Top 10 Promo Countdown? Check it out here and stay tuned for the #1 Promotion today at 4pm.
The fifth part of our possible 2013 Keys players is out – read it here.
In Britt Ghiroli’s latest Orioles post, Manny Machado talks about his high spring workload.
In case you missed it, there was some Orioles magic in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays. See Ryan Flaherty’s walk-off bomb over the fence in right field by clicking here.
Is your kid a member of the Jr. Keys Club? If so, we are holding a Kickoff Picnic! For complete details, click here.
Our weekly Former Frederick Friday contest takes place this afternoon, so head over to our Facebook page for that.
Only 28 days until Opening Day at ‘The Grove’!
Have a good weekend and Shake Your Keys!