Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Tracking former Keys in the WBC

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Former Key Jonathan Schoop gets congratulated by his Dutch teammates after a going deep against Cuba.

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.

Keys Top 10 Promo Countdown

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#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 & EmergencyInstead 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.

Five for Friday – Schoop on Fire; O’s Reassign Players

Schoop was 3-for-6, including a three-run homer in the Dutch’s upset win over Cuba

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

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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!

Mahoney mashing for Marlins

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Currently in Miami Marlins spring training, Joe Mahoney played in parts of three season for the Keys.

In a perfect world, every Frederick Key that makes it to the major leagues would make it as an Oriole. Homegrown talent, from Harry Grove Stadium to Camden Yards.

But, an imperfect game by nature, baseball does not work that way.

A former Key now outside the organization, Joe Mahoney is making his case for an everyday job with the Marlins.

Mahoney, a Key for parts of three seasons, was claimed off waivers by Miami in November, and the former sixth-round pick of the O’s is already justifying that move. In five spring training games, Mahoney is 5-for-14 — that’s a .357 batting average — with two homers, a double and 5 RBIs.

Mahoney did most of his damage Saturday against the Mets, going deep twice and driving in four runs. Here’s video of his second home run, a three-run dinger:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25649891

Mahoney spent parts of three seasons with the Keys, playing 72 of his 82 games with Frederick in 2010. He hit nine home runs with the Keys that season, batted .299 and drove in 49 runs. Add his numbers with Double-A Bowie that season to those with the Keys and Mahoney slugged 18 homers, batted .307 and drove in 82 runs in 124 games.

That’s the type of power the Marlins hope Mahoney can rediscover after hitting just 21 home runs over the last two seasons with double-A Bowie and triple-A Norfolk. With Miami’s few options at first base, Mahoney could win himself a big-league job if he shows enough pop.

In fact, here’s a Miami Herald story saying just that. From the story by Manny Navarro:

Now 26, Mahoney feels like he’s starting to mature as a hitter. He said he learned a lot from former Orioles teammates Derrek Lee, Nick Johnson and Chris Davis in his three previous springs with Baltimore and has learned quite a bit now working with new Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez.

“I’ve always kind of had it,” Mahoney said of the power. “But now is when I’m really starting to learn pitch selection and letting it translate into games. I’m trying to be an all-around player, be a good hitter who hits for average, drive runners in.”

A 2007 draft pick, Mahoney was called up to the Orioles briefly in 2012, going 0-for-4 in two games. Whether he gets a chance to improve on his major-league numbers to start this season will likely depend on how he finishes spring training following his hot start.

A sign that Mahoney’s opportunity is real — the fantasy baseball community is talking about him.

*2010 and 2011 Key Jonathan Schoop has one hit in the World Baseball Classic — a line-drive home run that almost ended the life of a woman knitting in the left-field stands. He recorded it yesterday against Australia. Watch:

*That bomb helped eliminate Australia and former Key Allan de San Miguel from the WBC in a 4-1 Netherlands victory.

*Richard Salazar, a four-season former Key, will start for Spain in tomorrow’s exhibition against the Orioles, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko.

*Read about all of the former Keys in the WBC in yesterday’s blog post.

*Some notes from Roch Kubatko on O’s minor laegue camp.

*A nice gesture to the troops by the BayBears.

*Looks like we’re going to get snowquestered tonight and tomorrow.

*Just one month before opening night at the Grove.

Shake your Keys.

Five for Monday: Keys in the World Baseball Classic (Updated)

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Former Key Jonathan Schoop is one of six former Frederick players currently playing in the World Baseball Classic.

For those who check this space regularly, you probably noticed I didn’t end last week with the usual Five for Friday post. So, let’s do it now, leading off with what was posted Friday, the day the 2013 World Baseball Classic began.

1. Bumbry’s British baseball experience

Steve Bumbry, a Key in 2011 and 2012, spent the end of last September in Germany playing with Great Britain the World Baseball Classic qualifying round. I talked to Bumbry and his mother, who was born in Wales, about a week and a half ago about their experiences overseas. An excerpt from the story is below:

Steve Bumbry had never even been to Europe before.

But there he was last September in Regensburg, Germany, he and a few others on the steps of the Bavarian town’s historic cathedral, belting out Britain’s national anthem “God Save the Queen.”

“Oh, God. Yeah, that happened,” said Bumbry, recalling his rookie initiation with Great Britain’s World Baseball Classic team the night before the Brits’ first WBC qualifier. “We were in the Cathedral square, and we’re (singing) on the steps of this cathedral and people are sitting outside cafes eating, drinking and whatever.”

A Frederick Key in 2011 and 2012, Bumbry batted third and played right field for Great Britain in its three qualifying games at Regensburg’s Armin-Wolf Stadium. The Brits blew out the Czech Republic in their second game, but fell to Canada and Germany and were eliminated from the tournament.

While Bumbry’s on-field performance – he tallied just one hit in nine at-bats ­– wasn’t very memorable, he said his entire experience overseas, from playing baseball on that stage to connecting with a part of his heritage, was unforgettable.

If you want to keep reading, the full story is here.

2. Former Keys in the WBC

(Correction: An earlier version of this post stated there were six former Keys in the WBC. My apologies to Richard Salazar and Danny Figueroa.)

By my count and that of a few more veteran Keys employees, there are right former Frederick Keys playing in the World Baseball Classic this month, representing the Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Italy, Canada and the United States. They are:

Jonathan Schoop, 2B (NED) – The Orioles’ top positional prospect is a native of Curacao and batted second while playing second base for the Dutch (1-1) in their first two games. Schoop played 83 games for the Keys in 2010 and 2011 and is hitless with one walk in WBC play. He hit .271 with 37 RBIs in 77 games with the Keys in 2011.

*Here’s an MiLB article on Schoop and the Netherlands.

Allan de San Miguel, C (AUS) – This 2012 Key is a native of Bentley, Australia. He caught the Aussies’ (0-2) second game against Korea (a 6-0 loss), batted ninth and went 0-for-3. As a Key, San Miguel hit .260 with two home runs and 17 RBIs in 30 games.

*Schoop and San Miguel’s countries square off at 11:30 this morning.

Paco Figueroa, 2B (ESP) – Now in the Philadelphia organization, Figueroa played 90 games in Frederick in 2006, hitting .284 and stealing 20 bases (though he was caught stealing 13 times). Figueroa’s twin brother, Danny, played center field for the Keys in 2008. Spain’s first game is Friday against Puerto Rico.

Danny Figueroa, OF (ESP) – The other Figueroa brother patrolled center field for the Keys in 2008, stealing 33 bases in 104 games while batting .239. Selected by the Orioles in the 2005 MLB draft, he was released in 2011 after two seasons in double-A Bowie.

Richard Salazar, P (ESP) – A member of the Keys for parts of four seasons, Salazar has been playing independent baseball since 2008. He pitched in 100 games with the Keys over the 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons, finishing with a 7-6 record and a 4.09 ERA. He threw 171.2 innings and struck out 141 batters in his Keys career.

John Mariotti, P (ITA) – No longer in affiliated baseball, Mariotti played for the Keys briefly in 2008 and for all of the 2010 season. In 2010, his last season in the Orioles’ organization, he finished with a 3-6 record, three saves and a 4.08 ERA in 21 games. He played for independent team Les Capitales de Quebec the last two seasons. Italy’s first game is Thursday against Mexico.

*For those of you who read French, here’s an article from Les Capitales announcing Mariotti making the Italian roster.

Adam Loewen, OF (CAN) – A left-handed pitcher drafted by the Orioles with the fourth overall pick of the 2002 MLB draft, Loewen spent all of 2005 with the Keys. He started 27 games and made one relief appearance that year, finishing 10-8 with a 4.12 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 142 innings. The following March, Loewen started Canada’s 8-6 victory over the U.S. in the first World Baseball Classic. A stress fracture in his left elbow ended his pitching career in 2008 after reaching the majors the prior two seasons and Loewen made the transition to the outfield. He made his major league debut as an outfielder in 2011 with Toronto. Canada’s first game is Friday against Italy.

*I wrote about Loewen’s recent encounter with O’s prospect and former Key Kevin Gausman a week ago.

David Hernandez, P (USA) – Originally on the Mexican roster before he was ruled a generation too far removed from a native-born ancestor to play for Mexico, the 2007 Frederick Key was added to the American roster to replace Cleveland Indians reliever Chris Perez. Now a key cog in the back-end of Arizona’s bullpen, Hernandez started 27 games and made one relief appearance for the Keys, going 7-11 with a 4.95 ERA while striking out 168 batters in 145.1 innings pitched. The U.S. plays its first game Friday against Mexico.

3. Shaking past 1,000 views

Are you tired of Harlem Shake videos? Good, I didn’t think so.

In honor of passing 1,000 views on YouTube, here is our Harlem Shake video once again. Harlem Shake your Keys.

4. Newsletter

Last week’s Keys newsletter is here.

5. On the links

*2012 Key and baseball’s top-pitching prospect Dylan Bundy was scheduled to pitch Sunday, but was held back because of groin spasms, according to Britt Ghiroli.

*2000 Key Brian Roberts is on fire. Another big spring training game Sunday for the O’s second baseman.

*Steve Melewski has 10 questions for O’s fans, three of which directly involve former Keys.

*Also, here are Melewski’s top 10 current O’s. How many do you think are former Keys?

*Just like at Harry Grove Stadium, no smoking at Camden Yards.

*31 days until opening night at the Grove.

Shake your Keys.

Bundy to pitch against Yankees (updated)

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After being rained out of his scheduled appearance yesterday, Dylan Bundy is slated to pitch for the O’s this afternoon against the Yankees. The 2012 Key is slated to pitch after starter Jake Arrieta (another former Key), according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko. First pitch for the O’s split-squad contest was scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

*Follow Bundy and the O’s live with MLB.com Gameday here.

**Update: Through one inning, Bundy has allowed a walk to Dan Johnson and struck out Juan Rivera. Bundy came in the game to start the bottom of the third inning. He also got Robinson Cano to groundout and Zoilo Almonte to fly out.

**Another update: Bundy gave up a single to start the fourth, but then retired three in a row – two on grounders, the other on a fly ball. Last batter Bundy retired was Yankees speedster Brett Gardner.

**Final update: Bundy has been pulled after two innings. His final line:  2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO

*Yesterday’s post “The Bundy Effect,” which took a look at Carolina League attendance during his starts, was mentioned in today’s bird droppings at O’s blog camdenchat.com. In case you missed it yesterday, here’s the link to the post.

*The final day of the Keys Job Fair is tonight from 6-8 p.m. at Harry Grove Stadium. Stop by and apply and interview for a gameday position with the Keys. More info on that here.

*MASN’s Steve Melewski takes on the critics of the oft-injured Brian Roberts, shortstop extraordinaire for the 2000 Frederick Keys. Read his story here.

*Another O’s blog, Camden Depot, looks at 2011 Key Manny Machado’s rookie season in Baltimore. Check it out here.

Shake your Keys.

The Bundy Effect: putting meat in Carolina League seats

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The ace of Frederick’s 2012 staff was slated to pitch for the Orioles this afternoon against the Pirates at their park in Bradenton, Fla., but rain prevented him from taking the mound. Had the game been played, based on the attendance spikes Bundy caused during his starts in the Carolina League, one would have expected a larger than usual crowd, even on a soggy Tuesday afternoon.

The top-rated pitching prospect in baseball, Bundy, one of four Orioles pitchers set to take the mound against Pittsburgh this afternoon, went 6-3 with a 2.84 ERA with the Keys last season, striking out 66 batters in 57 innings.

Average paid attendance for Bundy’s five starts at Harry Grove Stadium was 7,148. His first start in Fredrick, Thursday, May 26, drew 9,833 people to the Grove, the Keys’ season high. Nearly a month later, on Saturday, June 23, 9,477 came to see the Orioles’ 2011 first-round draft pick. On superhero night (Saturday, July 14), 7,583 came to the ballpark, the first 1,000 receiving a Bundy t-shirt, including this Bundy fanatic:

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Joe Cassitto, otherwise known as Bundy Man

Bundy’s lowest attended home start was his last on Thursday, Aug. 8, when 4,113 came to the Grove. That was his only home start in which attendance dipped below the Keys’ Carolina-League-leading average of 4,724 per contest.

In the five road starts Bundy made in the Carolina League in which attendance was reported (Wilmington and Lynchburg failed to do so in his first starts away from home), teams averaged 5,028 spectators per game.

On July 4 in Potomac, 7,442 fans packed the P-Nats’ park to watch the hard-throwing righty. On July 20 (a Friday), 5,843 fans bought tickets in Winston-Salem. Bundy pitched at Potomac, Winston-Salem, Lynchburg and Wilmington last season.

Of the five games with reported attendance, only once did Bundy fail to exceed a team’s average attendance for the 2012 season — Thusday, June 28 at Winston-Salem. Still, 3,857 fans came to that contest, less than 600 fewer than the Dash’s average of 4,428, which ranked second in the league.

Bundy’s effect on Carolina League crowds was obvious — he made them larger. His effect in the South Atlantic League during his eight starts with Delmarva and in the Eastern league in his three starts with Bowie is less clear, though he likely caused an uptick in weekday attendance at those stops.

Bundy averaged 2,116 fans in all of his starts with Delmarva, all but two of which were weekday games, which typically don’t draw as well as weekend contests (Friday, Saturday or Sunday games).  Five of Bundy’s 10 starts in which paid attendance was reported in the Carolina League came on weekends.

In the SAL, Bundy only exceeded attendance averages twice, both times on the road — at Asheville on opening day and at Hagerstown on Sunday, May 20.

His biggest crowd in Delmarva was 3,056 on Monday, May 14, which is still shy of the Shorebirds average of 3,303 last season. Delmarva’s location on the Eastern Shore may have also kept some Orioles fans away. Portions of that group likely came to Frederick to see the O’s prospect.

In the two starts Bundy made with Bowie in which attendance was reported, he drew crowds of 4,847 on a Monday in Richmond and 2,747 on a Tuesday in Bowie.  Both those numbers are shy of the average figures for those clubs.

Regardless, Bundy’s season in the Carolina League brought fans in big numbers to its minor league ballparks.

Attendance during Bundy’s 2012 starts at Harry Grove Stadium:

5/26 – 9833, 6/14 – 4736, 6/23 – 9477, 7/14 – 7583, 8/8 – 4113

Road attendance in Bundy’s 2012 Carolina League starts:

6/2 @WIL – NA, 6/8 @LYN – NA, 6/28 @WS – 3857, 7/4 @POT – 7442, 7/20 @WS – 5843, 7/26 @WIL – 5289,  8/1 @LYN – 2710

Carolina League 2012 average attendance:

Frederick Keys 4,724
Winston-Salem Dash 4,428
Wilmington Blue Rocks 4,235
Carolina Mudcats 3,418
Myrtle Beach Pelicans 3,273
Potomac Nationals 2,953
Salem Red Sox 2,628
Lynchburg Hillcats 2,426

*A Frederick Keys Bundy bobblehead comes free with an ticket plan at Harry Grove Stadium. Ticket plans are on sale now. Machado bobbles are available, too, if you prefer Manny over Dylan. One bobblehead per ticket plan seat.

* Read Bundy Man’s account of his day at the Grove here.

*All the minor league Harlem Shake videos you could ever ask for. Notice that the Keys video is first.

*A man named Hamburger has been suspended 50 games. Where’s the beef?

*The Keys Job Fair is tonight and tomorrow. Come by the stadium from 6-8 p.m., apply and interview for a gameday position with the Keys.

Shake your Keys.

Four 2012 Keys in intrasquad starting lineups (updated)

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Four 2012 Frederick Keys found themselves in the starting lineups of intrasquad games at O’s spring training on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of MLB.com Orioles reporter Britt Ghiroli.

The Orioles played their first intrasquad games of spring training this morning, a pair three-inning contests that began around 10 a.m. To fill out the lineups, six minor leaguers were called up from their minicamp to fill out the starting lineups, four of whom were Keys last season.

Outfielders Glynn Davis, Brenden Webb and Johnny Ruettiger and infielder Ty Kelly started today’s contests after spending time in Frederick in 2012, along with O’s farmhands Buck Britton, a 2011 Key, and 18-year-old Adrian Marin, who finished 2012 in Delmarva and has yet to reach Frederick. Another 2012 Key, catcher Allen de San Miguel, also played in today’s games.

*I’ll update with any Keys-related info from the intrasquad games as it becomes available.

–Davis was the only 2012 Key to make it into MASN writer Rock Kubatko’s notes from the intrasquad game. Kubatko noted that Davis struck out against Baltimore free-agent acquisition Jair Jurrjens. His article is here.

–Marin, who could potentially see time in Frederick this year, caught O’s manager Buck Showalter’s eye today. Here’s his quote about the Orioles’ 2012 third-round pick in another Kubatko story:

“You can see why everybody’s so high on him. He’s got nice actions, real calm,” Showalter said. “He’s got a little Bordy (Mike Bordick) look to him.”

–Eduardo Rodriguez, one of our 40 potential Keys for 2013, is slated to pitch in Thursday’s six-inning intrasquad game, according to MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli.

–Ruettiger reached base and nearly scored, but was gunned down by fellow minor leaguer and 2010 Key L.J. Hoes.  San Miguel made a nice scoop and applied the tag, according to Baltimore Sun reporter Ed Encina and columnist Peter Shmuck. Shmuck’s take is here.

A few more bits and pieces on this Wednesday:

*Another reminder that the Keys Job Fair will be held Tuesday and Wednesday Feb. 26 and 27 from 6-8 p.m. each night at Harry Grove Stadium. More info here and here.

*The Keys opening weekend ticket package is on sale. Four tickets to any of the three games, four Esskay hot dogs and four drinks for a low price. Check it out here and reserve your seats.

*2012 Key Dylan Bundy, baseball’s top pitching prospect, got some more media love today. Read Steve Melewski’s story here.

*Britt Ghiroli wrote a good, lengthy piece on Nolan Reimold (Frederick Key in 2005 and 2006) working back from the career-threatening neck injury that ended his season in 2012. Read it here.

*The No. 10 promotion in our countdown of 2013′s top 10 promotions at Harry Grove Stadium was unveiled yesterday. No. 9 will be released on the blog this afternoon.

*44 days until opening night.

Shake your Keys.

Minor’s brief pro basketball career

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2013 Keys Manager Ryan Minor starred for the University of Oklahoma basketball team and had a brief pro career on the basketball court. This is his NBA rookie card.

A two-sport star at Oklahoma, Ryan Minor had two obvious career options during the summer of 1996 — move to Philadelphia and try to make it in the NBA or join the Orioles’ minor league system and pursue the majors.

Eventually, Minor settled on baseball and had a brief major league career. But in ’96, the 2013 Frederick Keys manager actually gave both pro sports a try.

Minor, named the Keys manager in January, was a basketball star at Oklahoma. He started for three years as a Sooner and averaged 14 minutes per game coming off the bench as a freshman. Listed as a 6-7, 220-pound forward, Minor was named an All-American as a junior after he averaged 23 points and eight rebounds. Led by their big man, the ’95 Sooners went 23-9, 15-0 at home and earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, though they were upset in the first round by Manhattan College.

Had Minor, a forward with a soft touch from 3-point land, left for the NBA after his junior year, speculation suggested he’d have been a lottery pick. But Minor chose stay in Norman for his senior year.

Obscured by the basketball hype surrounding Minor was his ability on the baseball field. A member of the OU team that won the 1994 College World Series, the Mets selected Minor in the seventh round of the 1995 MLB draft. Again, he chose to stay in school.

In 1996, Minor became the first player in Oklahoma history to score 1,800 points, grab 700 rebounds and total 150 steals in his career. His draft stock, however, fell and he was taken in the second round by the 76ers. The Orioles, who also drafted Minor as a shortstop out of high school, also drafted him that summer, in the 33rd round.

Minor played 25 games with the O’s rookie league team in Bluefield, W. Va., — missing workouts with Philadelphia to do so — and hit .253. Then, he decided to give basketball a try. He signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Sixers, played in seven preseason games and was cut.

He averaged 2.4 points in less than eight minutes per game and shot just 18.5 percent from the field in his brief, preseason NBA career.

News of Minor’s release led to speculation that he might return to Oklahoma to play in the Continental Basketball Association, which is exactly what happened.  Saying he was “focused completely on basketball,” Minor spent the end of ’96 with the Oklahoma City Cavalry (rocking a fantastic 90s practice jersey) but didn’t stick.

In February of ’97, he re-signed with Baltimore.

*In 45 days, Minor will begin his Keys managerial career (barring rain, of course). He also played for the Keys for two games, both on the road, in 2000.

*You may have read the former Key and current Oriole Manny Machado missed workouts yesterday at spring training. No worries, folks, it was apparently just acid reflux. Thank goodness.

*No. 10 in our countdown of the Keys’ Top 10 Promotions for 2013 will be on the blog this afternoon. Make sure to click over to that.

*For all you longtime O’s (and Keys) fans, you’ll enjoy this column from MASN’s Steve Melewski. Check it out: What defines a great Orioles fan?

Shake your Keys.

Frederick Flashback: The Presidential Visits

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President George H.W. Bush dons a Keys hat while at Harry Grove Stadium on August 14, 1992.

On June 8, 1991, the Frederick Keys played the Durham Bulls in front of a crowd of 7,912.

Among those in the stands at Harry Grove Stadium — and the reason they were so packed that day — was serving U.S. President George H. W. Bush.

On the 22nd Presidents Day since the 41st President’s inaugural visit to the ballpark in Frederick, let’s look back at his two trips to the Grove.

It’s no secret that the Bush family are avid baseball fans. Bush’s son and former President George W. used to own the Rangers. George H.W., an Astros fan, has been spotted at major league games in recent years.  Back in 1947, he played in the first College World Series as a first baseman at Yale. Though the Bulldogs would fall in the best-of-three series to California, he fondly recounted playing in the championship in this 2007 Sports Illustrated article.

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George H.W. Bush in his Yale baseball uniform.

President Bush trekked from Camp David, the presidential retreat located in northern Frederick County, to the Grove twice during his presidency — for the Durham game in ’91 and again on August 8, 1992. (Camp David’s only about a 26-mile drive from the Keys’ stadium.) For his second Keys outing, Bush brought along the First Lady and several of his grandchildren.

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President Bush watches the Keys take on Durham on June 8, 1991 at Harry Grove Stadium with M.J. Grove, son of the stadium’s namesake.

Bush sat in the suite level at Harry Grove Stadium for both games. Obviously, security at the ballpark increased during his visits, with Secret Service agents manning doors and scattered elsewhere throughout the stadium.

The President’s security detail was particularly cautious with one Orioles Scout who came to the park with his radar gun in 1991. Jim Gilbert’s story, as told by The Baltimore Sun’s Pat O’Malley, is here. An excerpt from O’Malley’s July 28, 1991 column:

Gilbert, who resides in Hagerstown, was scheduled to work in Frederick that night and rate a pitcher. He shows up at a backdoor to the clubhouse only to be met by some huge, hulking guy who wanted to know what he wanted.

The guy happened to be a Secret Service agent, but Gil, unaware of the president’s visit, had no idea why he was guarding the door.

An argument ensued, and when the Secret Service man wanted to look in Gil’s black bag, all hell broke loose.

Gilbert told the guy that he had a radar gun (to clock the velocity on a pitcher’s fastball). With that, the agent shouted out, “A radar gun? What kind of gun did you say, a radar gun?”

Within seconds, Gilbert was surrounded by about 10 agents who wanted to see his radar gun. According to Gil, the agents didn’t have a clue what it was for.

As they started tugging at his bag, Gil grabbed the radar gun and ran across the room shouting “Wherever the gun goes, I go!”

Despite the Keys’ close proximity to Camp David, President Bush remains the only Commander-in-Chief to stop by the Grove for a ballgame.

Regarding non-presidential matters:

*Baltimore’s spring training minor league mini-camp opened today with 29 farmhands slated to participate. That list includes several former Keys and several more who will likely don Frederick orange and black this season.

*The Keys Job Fair will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 26-27) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each night in the Mattress Warehouse Club at Harry Grove Stadium. More info about the job fair is here.

*2012 Key Kevin Gausman found a high-calorie surprise in his locker at O’s spring training this weekend. Baltimore’s pitching prospect had a well-publicized habit of eating powdered mini-donuts before taking the mound in college, which Orioles center fielder Adam Jones parlayed into this clubhouse prank.

*46 days until opening night at the Grove.

Shake your Keys.

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