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How many hot dogs can you eat?

It’s back. The Keys annual celebration of baseball’s most popular protein returns to Harry Grove Stadium this evening — 50-Cent Hot Dog Night.
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Hot dog consumption begins when gates open at 6 p.m. for tonight’s 7 p.m. game against the Mudcats. The question that remains: How many can you eat?

Are you a lightweight?

Or a champion?

Before answering, some inspiring videos:

And for the ladies:

Best Month Ever: A look back at July’s top blog posts

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The tale of Miguel Chalas and the skunk in Lynchburg was the most-viewed post in this blog’s most-viewed month.

July was a record-shattering month for this blog (Thanks everybody!). And, as I mentioned at the bottom of our last post, Unlocking the Keys was the fifth-most-read blog among all MiLB blogs last month.

Again, you are all wonderful for reading.

So, for your nostalgic reading pleasure, let’s recap the month of July on the Keys blog, one that saw trades, catwalks, polecats, a mascot murder and a near trade of Keyote.

The month begins in style

Thank goodness for Lynchburg, at least for this blog’s sake. After a few days of our typical pregame posts, we took a July 4th blog break and returned on July 9th, a few days after the Keys returned from their well-documented trip to Lynchburg.

Twitter is an amazing thing.

Thanks to the Twitterverse, the team’s impromptu fashion show in Lynchburg was broadcast to the masses and allowed for this post, which took on a life of its own on twitter for about three days and was the second-most viewed post in July. A taste of that post:

BOghKYeCYAAMyzN

According to the people, these two are your winners:

Contestant #4: P Gene Escat

Contestant #8: P Jesse Beal

The skunk post

This was the most popular blog entry of the month and for good reason.

How often does a relief pitcher glove a skunk in right field? Again, thank you, Lynchburg. I will summarize this post with this:

The skunk story got picked up by The Washington Post’s Sports Bog and also by Ben’s Biz Blog in July’s Crooked Nuggets.

Anyway, fans agree that Miguel Chalas was the night’s hero.

Christmas in July, mascot murder and trade rumors, an actual trade and a walk-up song

The skunk and the fashion show carried the month, but a few other posts seemed to be fan favorites as well.

Christmas in July was well received, probably because 1) people enjoy Christmas and 2) Eric Bickel of the Sports Junkies tweeted out the blog. He took photos the game before and we used a couple. They’re good shots. Take a look:

Two things we learned on Clue Night: A lot of people weren’t terribly upset about the murder of rally mascot Frank Key and a Gatorade cooler can be a deadly weapon. Many of you relived Clue Night on the blog, feel free to do it again!

*An update to the Clue Night post — Stadium Butler Apter is debriefed, recalls the entire night:

Fans picked catcher Michael Ohlman’s walk-up song and chose to have him keep the one he started with — Big & Rich’s Save a Horse.

Nicky Delmonico was certainly a fan favorite in Frederick before his trade for veteran Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez. He’s playing for the Brevard County Manatees now and had a three-hit game a few days ago.

And on July 31, the threat of a possible trade of Keyote spiked blog views as his supporters came out in droves to block the deadline deal. Good news came out of that situation when he signed a 10-year contract extension.

Thanks for your continued reading! See you back here soon.

Shake your Keys.

Keys to be on O’s pregame show today

*Watch the interview with Michael Ohlman, Tim Berry and Matt Hobgood here.

*From the MASN O’s Xtra set:

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From left: Tim Berry, Rick Dempsey, Mike Ohlman, Matt Hobgood, Jim Hunter

From left: Tim Berry, Rick Dempsey, Mike Ohlman, Matt Hobgood, Jim Hunter

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——————–

What are you doing this afternoon?

Well, at 3, stop doing it, find a TV and turn on MASN to watch Michael Ohlman, Tim Berry and Matt Hobgood.

Ohlman, the Keys power-htting catcher, leads the team and is among league leaders in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage (.302/.404/.535).

Berry, a left-hander, has been on a roll since the all-star break, going 4-2 with a 2.90 ERA in eight starts. He’s 8-6 with a 3.86 ERA on the season.

And Hobgood, the Orioles’ first-round pick in 2009, joined the Keys in mid-July. In his first season since shoulder surgery sidelined him for all of last year, Hobgood has pitched well in three of his four outings with the Keys. He piggy-backed on Trent Howard’s start yesterday and threw four scoreless innings, allowing just a hit and fanning four.

This is Hobgood’s introduction at Camden Yards back in ’09

So, at 3 p.m., watch MASN. Shake your Keys.

Hoes to the ‘Stros, Keys hope to snap skid in Carolina

When we last left you on the blog, a mascot trade deadline deal for Keyote had just been blocked and Frederick’s mascot signed a 10-year extension with the Keys. Thank goodness. More on that here:

In actual trade deadline news, Oriole and former Key L.J. Hoes, a draft pick and Delmarva Shorebird LHP Josh Hader were traded to Houston for RHP Bud Norris, who made his Orioles debut last night, fanning eight batters and picking up the victory against his former club.

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Hoes, a Key in 2010 who hit .278 while with Frederick, picked up his first major league hit last night off Norris.

*Moving on to current Keys, they’re in Zebulon, N.C., taking on Carolina in a three-game series. Frederick dropped its fourth game in a row last night, falling 9-5 to the Mudcats.

*An interview with last night’s starter Trent Howard from Wednesday. Howard went four innings and allowed two runs last night.

*As for tonight’s game, Tim Berry will attempt to right Frederick’s course, the left-hander 3-0 against Carolina this season and the Keys 14-6 when he starts. Opposing Frederick will be right-hander Cole Cook, making his third start for Carolina this season.

*Fun fact about Tim Berry: Since the all-star break, Berry is 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA in seven starts. Before the break, batters hit .288 against him and after their average is down to .230, despite Berry’s K/9 rate going from 8.6 before to just under 6.0 after.

*Another: He was drafted in the final (50th) round of the 2009 draft by the Orioles after senior season of high school, during which he threw a no-hitter and then had Tommy John surgery.

*Fun fact about Cook: He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 draft by Cleveland out of Pepperdine, where he missed his freshman season in ’08 due to a broken wrist suffered while helping with the tarp.

More on tonight’s game in the game notes:

*Great news! Unlocking the Keys jumped from 12th to 5th in this month’s Latest Leaders rankings among MiLB blogs! Thanks to everyone for reading!

Shake your Keys.

UPDATE: Keyote will not be traded, signs extension

UPDATE (5:15): Keyote agrees to 10-year extension with Keys, and will award a Boog Powell signed baseball to one lucky supporter and four O’s tickets to another. Stay tuned to our twitter @FrederickKeys! Continue voting for Keyote in MiLB Mascot Mania for a chance to win!

UPDATE (4:21 p.m.):  Keyote will not be traded! Overwhelming fan support can be attributed to last-minute decision. Keyote currently working on an extension.

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BREAKING NEWS (11 a.m.):

Rumors are circulating that Frederick Keys mascot Keyote is the target of several teams looking to make a deal before today’s 4 p.m. mascot trade deadline. Keyote, a 20-year veteran of Minor League Baseball and the Frederick Keys, is a coveted asset. Multiple sources have confirmed that among the clubs interested in Keyote are the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL, The University of South Dakota, Cal State-San Bernadino and the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

Sources also say Keyote does not want to be traded. If he remains a Frederick Key after today’s 4 p.m. deadline, he will give away a signed Boog Powell baseball to one of his supporters and four tickets to an Orioles game to another.

*You can help keep Keyote in Frederick! Show your support and prove Keyote’s value to the Keys in two ways!

  1. Help the Keys gain more Twitter followers.
  2. Vote for Keyote in MiLB’s Mascot Mania

Help by retweeting the tweets below:

You can also vote for Keyote here.

Tell your friends!

Howard to the hill as Keys try to bounce back

Before we get to tonight, let’s quickly recap last night, which wasn’t pretty for the Keys in Salem.

A seven-run Salem fourth turned a 4-3 lead into a 10-3 deficit and led to an eventual 13-9 loss. The last time the Keys led was on Jason Esposito’s two-run jack in the top of the fourth. Let’s take a listen:

*More on last night in the game story on FrederickKeys.com

Howard

As for tonight’s game, Trent Howard takes the mound 13 days since he last pitched. He held Carolina scoreless and allowed just one hit and no walks over five innings against Carolina on July 12, a game the Keys won 1-0. As a starter, Howard is 0-0 with a 3.25 ERA in seven starts. As a reliever, Howard is 3-0 with a save, a 0.62 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 29 innings.

With Julio Rodriguez being placed on the DL on Tuesday, Howard could claim a rotation spot, especially if he continues pitching so well. More on everything Keys vs. Red Sox in tonight’s game notes:

*In other Keys news, the Orioles announced that they’ve signed Cuban OF Dariel Alvarez and will assign him to Frederick.

More on that from The Sun and MASN:

*Keys catcher Michael Ohlman wants fans to help him choose his walk-up song when the Keys return home Monday. Vote in this blog post. The choices:

You can vote here, too:

*While you’re in the voting mood, vote for Keyote in MiLB’s Mascot Mania. Vote on MiLB.com by clicking here and via twitter by tweeting/retweeting any tweet with #mascotmania and @FrederickKeys in it. For example:

*Those two were winners of our #VoteKeyote giveaways today. Here’s what they won:

*Keep your eyes peeled to twitter for more #VoteKeyote giveaways tomorrow.

*And our Former Key Highlight of the Day: Look at ’04-05 Key Jim Johnson shut the door on the Yankees in game two of the ALDS.

Shake your Keys.

Pick Michael Ohlman’s walk-up song

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Keys catcher and designated hitter Michael Ohlman wants some help.

The man with the Carolina League’s second-best batting average (.311), slugging percentage (.556) and on-base percentage (.410) would like some help picking out his walk-up song when the Keys return home on Monday to play Lynchburg.

After taking dozens upon dozens of fan suggestions, he’s narrowed his list down to five songs. Vote for the song you want to hear when Ohlman steps to the plate Monday evening at Harry Grove Stadium. YouTube videos of each song are below the poll.

Vote until Monday morning!

Keys open four-game set at Salem

Before we get started with the usual pregame blog post, here’s a highlight for Nicky Delmonico, who was traded to Milwaukee last night during the Keys’ game at Winston-Salem:

Plenty more on the Delmonico trade is in our earlier blog post here.

Last note on Delmonico in this post : Keys broadcaster Adam Pohl talked Delmonico’s trade on 1570 AM The Score in Appelton, Wisc. Listen via the link below.

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Zach Clark starts for the Keys tonight.

*The Keys got thumped 13-2 in Winston-Salem last night, the highlight of the game Sammie Starr’s diving grab at shortstop:

*If you want to read about last night’s game, do that here.

*Tonight, knuckleballer Zach Clark starts against the Red Sox, five days since they put up six runs in four innings against him. The Keys actually won that game, 9-8 in what was an odd series. The Keys were outscored by 13 runs in that four-game set against the Salem last week, but pulled out a split against the Sox. In the series opener, the Keys were no-hit for the first time since August 7, 2002. In the finale, the Keys mustered just two hits in a 9-0 defeat. Sandwiched in the middle, the Keys won a pair of one run games. On Friday night, the Keys surrendered four runs in the top of the first inning but battled back and won in walk-off fashion, 9-8, in 10 innings. The Keys have won three games via walk-off hits against the Red Sox.

More on tonight in the game notes:

Tonight’s lineup:

*As of Monday, Keyote is fifth in the Carolina League in fan votes in MiLB’s Mascot Mania. He needs your votes to charge back and take the crown on Aug. 1! Vote here an unlimited number of times and on Twitter up to 25 times a day. To vote on twitter, just include @FrederickKeys #mascotmania in your tweet or retweet. See the tweets below.

*We’ll be doing giveaways for voting for Keyote all week long via twitter. Today, we gave away this vintage signed Keyote baseball card:

*And lastly, your Former Key Highlight of the Day: Hello, 2009-10 shortstop Pedro Florimon!

Shake your Keys and #VoteKeyote.

Delmonico traded to Milwaukee for K-Rod

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Big news broke for Orioles, Keys, Brewers and Nicky Delmonico fans around 7 p.m. Tuesday night. Delmonico was traded to the Brewers for their closer, veteran reliever Francisco Rodriguez straight up.

Delmonico, who entered the season rated as Baltimore’s No.4 prospect by Baseball America, batted .243 for the Keys and led the team with 13 homers. He was in the game at Winston-Salem’s when the trade happened and was pulled.

Steve Melewski then talked with Delmonico about the trade. From the story:

“I didn’t know I was traded straight up for him,” he (Delmonico) said. “I thought there might be a couple other guys. But when you see it on paper, it’s pretty cool.”

Dan Duquette talked about the deal in these stories from Britt Ghiroli and The Baltimore Sun:

And some player and coach reaction to the trade. From teammate Michael Ohlman:

From Keys hitting coach Torre Tyson:

From Frederick native and Delmarva Shorebird Branden Kline:

We, too, wish Nicky the best. And he’s already rated the No.3 prospect in the Brewers’ system by MLB.com.

Nicky’s final homer as a Key came on Sunday, June 30 vs. Winston-Salem:

An interview with Nicky on May 17:

Keys broadcaster Adam Pohl talked Delmonico’s trade on 1570 AM The Score in Appelton, Wisc. Listen via the link below.

As for the other half of the trade, here’s K-Rod on joining the O’s:

A month ago, he racked up his 300th save:

Shake your Keys.

Baker, Ohlman spark offense in last night’s win

Michael Ohlman hit his 12th homer of the season in Monday's win at Winston-Salem.

Michael Ohlman hit his 12th homer of the season in Monday’s win at Winston-Salem.

There’s really only one way to start today’s post.

First, watch Michael Ohlman smack this game-tying three-run homer in the eighth. Was it fair? The umps said so and that’s really all that matters.

Now, listen to Aaron Baker drive home the go-ahead runs in the ninth:

That’s how the Keys won it last night, beating the Dash 6-4 after trailing 4-1 after the seventh. More on how they got it done in Tim Murray’s recap on FrederickKeys.com.

As for tonight, Zach Davies takes the ball, looking for his first win in four tries against the Dash. He’ll be opposed by Jake Cose. Good news for Davies is Baker’s three-hit outburst last night could be the start of an offensive tear for the big first baseman. After going 0-12 in his first four games since being transferred to the Keys from Double-A Bowie on July 15, Baker belted two doubles and drove in three runs last night. Last season, Baker hit 22 homers and drove in 72 runs in 89 games for the Keys.

More in today’s game notes:

Tonight’s lineup:

*Today’s Former Key Highlight of the Day: If you hit it toward Manny Machado, just head for the bench.

*Broadcaster Tim Murray sat down with Keys manager Ryan Minor yesterday. Catch up with the Keys manager by listening below.

*VOTE FOR KEYOTE

*Vote again by retweeting this:

*Miss Clue Night? Well, we put it all on the blog. Play along here.

Shake your Keys.

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