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Guess Your Keys: Wednesday, March 12

Good Evening Keys Fans!!

Today has already been a terrific sports day. One of my favorite events, the ACC Tournament officially kicked off in Greensboro, N.C., while my rooting interest, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons successfully advanced out of the opening round (scoring an 81-69 victory over Notre Dame). Although I did not go to school there, I developed a passion for the Deacs after working three years on the team’s radio broadcast. As an added bonus, I can now gloat in the face of my broadcast partner Doug Raftery (who supports the Golden Domers) for at least the next 18 hours or so.

The other big event (at least in the minds of us minor league baseball junkies) was the start of minor league spring training games. I know it was a welcome respite for many of the players, who’ve been playing intrasquad games and participating in drills since the start of camp. We’ll pass along any updates we get, especially in regards to potential/former Keys.

While we are on the topic of spring training, one injury note out of big league camp. Former Key, Matt Wieters, will sit out the next few games due to a right ankle sprain, after rounding third base awkwardly during Tuesday’s Grapefruit League contest. Wieters says it’s nothing major, and ought to return in a few days.

So who can the Keys expect to be behind the plate this season? Well, we’ve got a couple of guesses:

Wynston Sawyer 

courtesy: Baltimore Sports and Life

courtesy: Baltimore Sports and Life

Vitals

Position: C

Age: 22

Height: 6-1

Weight: 181

2013 club: Delmarva

More on Sawyer:

Sawyer has spent each of the last two seasons at Delmarva. With the Shorebirds, he was predominantly a catcher, but also saw some time at first base. At the plate, Sawyer hit .238, but posted a career-high 18 doubles, and showed good plate discipline drawing a personal-best 42 walks. Behind the plate, he committed four errors in 80 games and threw out 28% of all would-be basestealers. Originally committed to play college baseball at UC-Riverside, Sawyer elected to go pro after being selected by Baltimore in the eighth round of the 2010 draft.

William “Steel” Russell 

courtesy: monoblogue.us

courtesy: monoblogue.us

Vitals

Position: C

Age: 23

Height: 6-0

Weight: 192

2013 club: Delmarva

More on Russell:

The son of former Pirates manager and current Orioles bench coach John Russell, Steel hit .236 over 42 games with Low-A Delmarva in 2013. While he excelled offensively at the onset (.306 batting average during his first month) infrequent use in the second-half caused him to hit just .136 over his final 23 games. Defensively, he made six errors and threw out 25% of runners who tried to steal off him. Russell’s draft day story is a memorable one. Taken by Baltimore in the 32nd round of the 2012 draft, Russell was in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park  when he got the call he had been taken by the Orioles. There, he was congratulated by his dad, as well as O’s manager Buck Showalter. Not a bad way to celebrate.

We’ll unveil the name of one other possible backstop later on in our countdown.

Talk soon and shake your keys!!

Geoff

Guess Your Keys: Tuesday, March 11

Happy Tuesday Keys Fans,

And welcome to another edition of Guess Your Keys!! The critically acclaimed show where we peer into our crystal ball and try to pin down a roster for this year’s Frederick Keys.

First of all, thanks to everyone who has spent a couple of minutes to read our posts on a daily basis. Thanks to your support, we have not been stripped of our keyboards just yet.

Before getting to some news, I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the baseball-friendly weather today. It couldn’t have been nicer. I was pleasantly surprised when I started to sweat with my winter coat on, leading me to shed it for an afternoon walk around the ballpark. And while I’m not sure what I’d deem a “Chamber of Commerce” day in March around the friendly confines (mostly because I’ve been in town a month), I’d say today was pretty close:

Who wants to play two?

Who wants to play two?

Sights like these help you remember that opening day is only 23 days away.

In the meantime, we’ll head s0uth to Sarasota, FL, where MLB spring training games are in session and minor league contests are set to kickoff tommorrow.

In today’s game against the Red Sox, the Orioles came up short by a run (6-5). Michael Almanzar tried to spark a comeback effort with a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth, but Boston scored two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth off Alfredo Aceves to hang on for the victory.

As we approach the middle of March, players start to get shifted from Major League camp to minor league camp. That way players who are not in consideration for roster spots can get there work in, while everyday big leaguers can also get into a consistent routine.

No doubt former Keys Michael Ohlman and Tim Berry have bright futures, but both were transferred to minor league camp and assigned to Double-A Bowie yesterday.

Buck Showalter was particularly impressed with Berry, who was protected on the 40-man roster this winter.

One other former Key we’ve been following is Jonathan Schoop, who is very much in consideration for the O’s starting second base job. Entering Grapefruit League play today, he was hitting .529 (9-for-17) with four extra-base hits and five RBIs. Jemile Weeks and Ryan Flaherty are also competing for the job, in what is truly a wide open race. As Showalter has been quick to remind reporters, all three players have minor league options remaining.

Now that we’ve told you about possible second base candidates for the O’s, who could be seeing time at the keystone for the Keys? Well, one name might sound familiar:

Jerome Pena

Jerome Pena

Vitals

Position: INF

Age: 25

Height: 5-11

Weight: 185

2013 club: Frederick

More on Pena:

A member of the Keys each of the last two seasons, the former TCU Horned Frog hit .222 over 120 games with Frederick last season. A player who hit more for average rather than power his first two seasons, Pena added some pop in 2013. He finished with a career-best 11 home runs to go along with 21 doubles and 52 RBI. Defensively, Pena was solid as well, committing only 11 errors while playing 117 games in the field. Originally taken by the Mets in the 40th round of the 2009 draft, he elected to play a couple years of college ball before Baltimore called his number two years later.

Luc Rennie

Luc Rennie

Vitals

Position: RHP

Age: 19

Height: 6-2

Weight: 200

2013 club: Frederick/Aberdeen/Delmarva

More on Rennie:

The youngest player in the Carolina League at the time of his debut on May 30, the San Diego native won’t turn 20 until April 26. By then, he may have made a couple of starts for the Keys. Splitting time at three levels, Rennie went 1-2 with a 5.56 ERA in three outings (two starts) with Frederick. However, most of his work came with Delmarva, where he posted a 4-5 mark and a 3.91 ERA. A player who hit his stride at the end of last season, the righty posted a 2.18 ERA over his final six appearances with the Shorebirds. A bully on the mound as a senior at Torrey Pines (CA) High School, Rennie went 9-1 with a 0.89 ERA. Offered a scholarship to Ball State, he signed with the Orioles instead after being selected in the 16th round of the 2012 draft.

And there you go. After yesterday’s post and our pilot episode, we now have a “gang of six.” Stay tuned, we’ll have plenty more names over the coming weeks.

Get outside and shake your keys!

Geoff

Guess Your Keys: Monday, March 10

Hello Keys Fans!

Hope you’ve made it through Monday in one piece, and that you managed to catch some of the Orioles game against the Pirates. After four decisive wins where the O’s mounted 44 combined runs, today’s contest was a bit of a white-knuckler.

Up by a run in the bottom of the ninth, Chase d’Arnaud singled for the Buccos to put the tying run on base. However, former Key “Steady Eddie” Gamboa picked off d’Arnaud at first, struck out Robert Andino and got Junior Sosa to fly out to help Baltimore hang on for a 7-6 triumph.

courtesy: Baltimore Sun

courtesy: Baltimore Sun

An outing like that is a huge confidence-boost for someone like Gamboa. A career minor leaguer, the 29-year-old wants to make a good impression in front of Buck Showalter and pitching coach Dave Wallace. But it also serves as validation. Last season, Gamboa made the decision to experiment with  baseball’s most temperamental pitch: the knuckleball. Now fully committed to it, he is closer to the major leagues than ever. No question he’s a guy that you root for.

Speaking of guys to root for, you’re all probably wondering what Keys will I be cheering on in 2014? Well, today marks the return of Maryland’s favorite parlor game. After more than a week-long hiatus, we’re happy to bring you episode 2 of…. GUESS…. YOUR…. KEYS!!!!! (insert thunderous applause and tacky “Price is Right” type music in the background).

For those of you new to the game, here’s how it works. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be handicapping the Keys roster, picking out 40 players who are most likely to be wearing a Frederick uniform this year. Then when the club is announced, we’ll see how we did.

I’ll also repeat my earlier disclaimer: no wiretaps have been ordered, no bugs installed, and no hostages have been taken from Orioles management. Instead, the highly trained baseball minds at the Unlocking the Keys blog are spearheading the effort.

I also want to clarify that this list is NOT ORDERED. While Jesse Beal and Hunter Harvey were the first two names thrown out, those two individuals are not seen as “most likely” or “least likely” to spend time with the Keys. It’s simply where we started.

So keeping that in mind, it’s time to roll out two more names:

Matt Taylor

courtesy: milb.com

courtesy: milb.com

Vitals

Position: LHP

Age: 22

Height: 6-2

Weight: 185

2013 club: Delmarva

More on Taylor:

Despite finishing with 13 losses (fourth-most in the SAL), Taylor put together a solid season in the Shorebirds starting rotation. He finished with the league’s 12th best ERA (3.77) and finished fourth in innings pitched (138.1). Brutal against left-handed hitters, he held opponents from the left-side to a .193 batting average. Armed with a two-seam fastball between 90-94 mph and a sharp slider, the lefty was selected by Baltimore in the fifth round of the 2011 draft out of Middle Georgia College. Transferring from the University of Alabama, Taylor went 7-5 with a 3.21 ERA and struck out 128 while walking only 29.

Greg Lorenzo

courtesy: monoblogue.us

courtesy: monoblogue.us

Vitals

Position: OF

Age: 22

Height: 5-10

Weight: 159

2013 club: Delmarva

More on Lorenzo:

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, Lorenzo played his first full-season of pro ball in 2013. With Low-A Delmarva, he hit .241 with 2 HR 41 RBI to go along with 18 doubles. When he got on base, Lorenzo used his speed to create chaos. In 140 games, he stole a career-best 40 bags. It was the most by a member of the Shorebirds since 1999. Rated the #29 prospect in the O’s system by Baseball America in 2013, Lorenzo’s main bugaboo was strikeouts last season. In 489 at-bats he went down 152 times via the K. Those numbers plus his on-base percentage (.281) need to improve as he climbs the ladder.

That’s all for tonight folks. But make sure and stay tuned for episode 3!

shake your keys!

Geoff

Keys Unlock 2014 Promotional Schedule

KEYS UNLOCK 2014 PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE

Plenty of Surprises in Store for Upcoming Season

 

FREDERICK, Md. – Coming off a 25th season celebration to remember, the Frederick Keys are proud to announce a top-flight promotional schedule that will have fans yearning for the start of the season. Complete with great giveaways, several celebrity guests and exciting new features, the Keys have worked hard to make 2014 more exciting than ever.

April 11 marks the start of the first weekend homestand, and the beginning of an exciting new giveaway. Nine fans will have the chance to win $25,000 if Frederick accomplishes a specific feat during their designated inning. The 7 p.m. tilt against Carolina also includes a Keys calendar giveaway courtesy of H.N. Funkhouser and a fireworks display presented by American Disposal Systems.

Other new additions to this year’s exciting promotions calendar include a cruise giveaway on Saturday May 31, thanks to Cruise Holidays of Frederick. Then on June 1 after the 2 p.m. game against Wilmington, youngsters can enjoy a postgame “candy drop” where a helicopter will circle the outfield and drop a cargo of goodies.

As usual, many exciting visitors plan to drop by Harry Grove Stadium in 2014. Duck Dynasty’s Mountain Man will greet fans and sign autographs on July 19, WWE Legend The Million Dollar Man, will be in town for Fredneck Night presented by Yellow Cab on June 27, and on August 16, one of the country’s most entertaining traveling shows returns. An immediate hit since its debut at Harry Grove Stadium in 2012, the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo is scheduled to perform at the Keys 6 p.m. game against Lynchburg. During this see it to believe it display, monkeys dressed as cowboys ride dogs as though they were horses while herding sheep.

Back by popular demand, there will be a pair of bobblehead giveaways during the season. The first takes place on July 26, when Frederick plays Lynchburg at 6 p.m. As part of the team’s Salute to the Orioles Celebration, the first 1,000 fans will receive a bobblehead of current O’s outfielder, and former Frederick Key, Nick Markakis courtesy of Flying Dog Brewery. Meanwhile, Matt Wieters bobbleheads presented by BayRunner Shuttle will be given away on August 30, when the Potomac Nationals visit at 6 p.m.

Some other exciting promotions include Flag Day on June 14, when Keys faithful will receive a Military Card Set Giveaway. On August 8, Kids Club members are encouraged to attend Keyote’s Ninja Turtle-themed birthday party. There will be a pizza party from 6:30-8:30 p.m., a piggy bank giveaway courtesy of Nymeo and a family sleepover after the game. Bark in the Park presented by C.A.R.E will take place on Thursday, May 8, when Winston-Salem visits at 7 p.m., while two days later, the Key City Roller Derby will hold a bout before the team’s 6 p.m. game against the Dash as part of Family Fitness weekend.

Baseball Camp Days courtesy of MMI are scheduled for July 1-3 and August 5-7.

A full list of weekly promotions can be found by visiting frederickkeys.com. Mattress Warehouse Club specials will be released next week.

Opening Day 2014 for the Frederick Keys is scheduled for Tuesday, April 8, when the Carolina Mudcats visit Harry Grove Stadium at 7:00 p.m. For ticket information, please call 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com.

2014 Keys Top 10 Promo Countdown (Day 5)

Happy Friday Keys Fans!!

The weekend is within sight, and it’s already gotten off to a great start with the O’s debut of Ubaldo Jimenez!!

courtesy: veooz.com

courtesy: veooz.com

Over two sharp innings, the righty struck out three and did not allow a hit. At the plate, not a bad day for Nick Markakis: 4-4 with an RBI, heading into the bottom of the seventh. O’s 14 Phillies 4. I think you can close the book on this one.

In other news, the baseball world has lost a pioneer. Frank Jobe, the orthopedic surgeon who invented the transplant procedure known as “Tommy John” surgery (because he first performed the procedure on then-Dodgers star Tommy John), passed away Thursday. He was 88. Over 30 years, Jobe saved hundreds of pitching careers, while he is widely regarded as one the founding fathers of sports medicine.

In July 2013, Jobe received a commendation from the National Baseball Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game. However, I think the Hall needs to take a long look at bestowing upon him the ultimate honor: induction. Without Jobe, many promising careers would have stalled.

Transitioning from baseball news to Keys news, it’s time to wrap up our 2014 Top 10 promotional countdown!! After a long journey, we’re almost ready to hoist the holy grail: the ENTIRE 2014 Keys promotional schedule. But before we do, it’s time to finish off our list:

BOBBLEHEADS!!! 

I scream, you scream, we all scream for bobbleheads! When fans ask about promotions, one of the most typical questions received is: What day are you giving away bobbleheads?!?!

Well, we can finally give you the answer. On July 26, we’ll have a Nick Markakis bobblehead giveaway courtesy of Flying Dog Brewery as part of the team’s Salute to the Orioles Night.

courtesy: Baltimore Sun

courtesy: Baltimore Sun

It figures to be a fun night, with face-painting by Vicki and a fireworks extravaganza courtesy of Flying Dog Brewery also scheduled. Then on August 30, the Keys will pay homage to another former Key:

courtesy: Sports Illustrated

courtesy: Sports Illustrated

Fans will want to line-up early to get their Matt Wieters bobbleheads presented by BayRunner Shuttle. BayRunner will also sponsor post-game fireworks.

FREDNECK Night 

Last but not least, Fredneck night returns to Harry Grove Stadium on June 27. It features a special appearance by WWE Legend The Million Dollar Man (Ted DiBiase) as well as post game fireworks.

Here is a video of some of the Million Dollar Man’s glory days:

And that’s a wrap! For a look at the entire promotional calendar, took a look one post up!!

Have a good weekend and shake your keys!

Geoff

2014 Keys Top 10 Promo Countdown (Day 4)

Hello Keys Fans!

No Orioles baseball today on account of inclement weather, as the rains rolled through Ed Smith Stadium early this morning.

But last night, the O’s bats were rolling in Ft Myers.

Johnny Monell  courtesy: mlbreports.com

Johnny Monell
courtesy: mlbreports.com

No Chris Davis? No Nick Markakis? No Adam Jones? NO PROBLEM.

Johnny Monell led the charge, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a 3-run homer which triggered a five-run 3rd for the visitors.

Spring training results may not matter for most Orioles position players, but given that Monell is fighting for the backup catcher job, mozel tov. Still, the New York native is well-aware that it’s his work behind the plate which will determine who gets the nod (Steve Clevenger is the other candidate).

On the mound, former Key Zach Britton looked sharp over two innings, inducing a number of ground balls and picking up two strikeouts.

courtesy: foxsports.com

courtesy: foxsports.com

The only scare was a line shot off the bat of Josh Willingham which hit Britton’s non-throwing wrist. He is expected to be fine.

Don’t forget, Ubaldomania kicks off tommorrow against the Phillies. However, Friday is also a big day for the Keys, as our ENTIRE promotional calendar comes out! In less than 24 hours, we’ll finally open the vault and reveal all of our well-kept secrets.

But as a mid-day distraction, our marketing masterminds have agreed to pull back the curtain on two more of our top offerings this year.

BEACH NIGHT

We’ve got two tickets to paradise!!! Hit it Eddie Money:

Cruise Holidays of Frederick will be giving away a free cruise when the Keys play the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Saturday, May 31 at 6 p.m. With summer on the horizon, fans are encouraged to dress up as if they were going to the beach (Hawaiian shirts,  shorts, flip-flops, etc…). We’ll also be distributing leis before the game.

This theme night also comes equipped with a PROMO CHALLENGE: I will personally give a radio  shout out to ANYONE who applies sunscreen to their nose like the lifeguard from Caddyshack:

Caddyshack

Just be aware, 15 seconds of fame could be followed by 15 minutes of ridicule. So participate “at your own risk.”

Cruise Holidays of Frederick will also sponsor a post-game fireworks show.

KEYOTE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (NINJA-TURTLE THEME)

Ninja Turtle

Come hang out with  Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael, as they help celebrate Keyote’s Birthday! The fun takes place on Friday, August 8 when the Wilmington Blue Rocks visit at 7 p.m. This night is jam-packed with fun activities for the kids.

There will be a Kids Club pizza party in the courtyard from 6:30-8:30 p.m, and the first 1,000 youngsters will receive a piggy bank courtesy of Nymeo. Young fans can also enjoy face painting by Vicki, while after the game, there will be a post-game fireworks extravaganza (one again thanks to our friends at Nymeo).

But once that’s all over, the fun continues!!! There will be a Kids Club sleepover, where families can stay and watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

And there you have it. Believe it or not, we have ONLY TWO promotions remaining in our top 10 countdown. So stay tuned as we wrap up our list,  and unlock the Keys entire promo schedule tommorrow afternoon.

Have a good night, and shake your keys!!!

Geoff

2014 Keys Top 10 Promo Countdown (Day 3)

Happy Wednesday Keys Fans!!

Hope you are enjoying your hump day. It’s hard to believe it’s Wednesday already, but that’s the power of snow days for you.

As many of you know, the big news out of Orioles camp on Tuesday was the signing of Johan Santana to a minor league contract.

Courtesy: outsidepitch.mlb.com

Courtesy: outsidepitch.mlb.com

The two-time Cy Young Award winner missed all of last season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.

The deal is a low-risk proposition, and would pay Santana three million dollars plus incentives if he makes the big league club. However, the Venezuelan has a long way to go in the recovery process. One New York Post report noted that Santana’s fastball was peaking in the low-80s during a late February workout. Although his signature changeup looked good, he’ll need to get his velocity up several ticks to be effective.

More relevant to Keys fans, yesterday was the official report day for Orioles minor league position players. Here is a complete list of O’s minor leaguers in camp courtesy of MASN’s Steve Melewski: O’s MiLB Spring Training Roster

Among last year’s Keys in attendance:

Dariel Alvarez

Dariel Alvarez

Zane Chavez

Zane Chavez

Brenden Webb

Brenden Webb

Just to name a few.

No doubt the O’s talented farm system is one reason for excitement at Harry Grove Stadium. But another, is an outstanding list of promotional offerings. And this year, the Keys highly-touted marketing team has been working harder than ever.

Let’s take a look at two more of our top upcoming promos for the year:

$25,000 GIVEAWAY

Money, Money, Money, MONEY!!! Just the thought of this promotion has me humming the O’Jays Classic (better known as the Apprentice intro song)

This first-time promotion has the chance to be a grand slam. It’s scheduled for Friday, April 11, when the Keys host the Lynchburg Hillcats, and the rules are pretty simple.

During the game, nine people will have a chance to win $25,000. Each lucky contestant will be assigned a specific inning, and if the Keys accomplish a certain feat (such as back-to-back home runs, a grand slam, etc…) that person will be making a hefty deposit.

But that’s not all! There will be a pre-game Keys calendar giveaway sponsored by H.N. Funkhouser and a post-game fireworks courtesy of our friends at ADS.

So don’t miss your chance to hit the jackpot!!

MOUNTAIN MAN

Fan of the popular TV show Duck Dynasty?

Duck Dynasty

Then you’ll want to be in attendance on July 19, when the Keys host Winston-Salem at 6 p.m. The title is a bit of a giveaway, as Tim Guraedy (aka Mountain Man) will be in attendance to sign autographs and more.

Additionally, there will be a post-game fireworks.

For those of you who don’t watch the show, here is a little video which highlights Mountain Man’s unique personality:

That’s all for now. And don’t forget, on Friday our ENTIRE promo schedule comes out.

Talk soon and shake your keys!

Geoff

2014 Keys Top 10 Promo Countdown (Day 2)

Happy Tuesday Keys Fans!!!

Hope you’re done shoveling, and that you enjoyed your pseudo three-day weekend. Personally, I enjoyed the chance to watch some spring training baseball on MLB.TV. For those who missed it, it was a pretty historic day. Following months of planning, managers and umpires took instant replay for a spin

As a historical footnote, the first challenge occurred in the bottom of the fifth inning in a game between the Blue Jays and the Twins. After a two-minute and 34 second review, the call was upheld. Not too bad.

On the Orioles front, former Key Nick Markakis had a terrific day against the Twins, going 2-for-3 with a run scored, while another ex-Key Jonathan Schoop continues to turn heads in camp. Following another multi-hit game, some have even speculated whether the Curacao native could force his way into Buck Showalter’s opening day lineup.

Schoop and Manny Machado as members of the Keys. O's double-play combo of the future?

Schoop and Manny Machado in their Keys days. O’s double-play combo of the future?

Something to ponder.

As well as this: the Keys are currently three days away from the release of their 2014 promotional schedule. So how will the team make season #26 one to remember?

Well, our marketing team has agreed to step out of its war room for a minute and unveil two more of its Top 10 promos for the 2014 season.

SUPERHERO NIGHT

Superheroes

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superhero night!!! So come dressed as your favorite character with other-wordly powers on Sunday, July 27, as the Keys play host to the Lynchburg Hillcats at 6 p.m.  Over the years, we have seen some pretty original costumes, but maybe none as unique as “Bundy Man” in 2012:

Bundy Man 1 Bundy Man 2

Sadly, with Bundy Man in attendance the Keys are 0-1 (though Dylan Bundy was pretty awesome that night, tossing 5 innings of 2-hit baseball with 8 strikeouts).

Nevertheless, we love creativity. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to your costume choice. A couple of added bonuses: prior to the game there will be a Kids Club Picnic which includes a meet-and-greet with an assorted gang of superheroes, every Keys player will have special head shots which reflect their superhero preferences, while the likes of Batman, Superman and Iron Man will be roaming the concourse throughout the game. And…..

It’s a Sunday Funday! That means families can partake in a pregame catch for the first 30 minutes after gates open, plus some of your favorite Keys will be signing autographs before the game.

But that’s not the only Sunday Funday you won’t want to miss:

CANDY DROP

Candy Land

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, be sure to circle Sunday, June 1 on your calendar, when the Keys entertain the Wilmington Blue Rocks at 2 p.m. Families and Kids Club members are encouraged to attend as it’s Macy’s “American Family Day.”

Prior to the game, there will be a meet and greet with members of the team (1-1:30 p.m.) and if you’re in the Kids Club, there will be an ice-cream social!

However the highlight will be afterwards, when a helicopter will sprinkle the outfield with your favorite goodies.

Additionally, there will be face painting by Vicki, and who knows, maybe we’ll even bring back the “Candy Lineup”

Hopefully things will turn out better than they did for our friend Mr. Costanza.

That’s all for now! We’ll continue our Top 10 Countdown tomorrow. Also, keep an eye out for episode 2 of “Guess Your Keys.”

Talk soon, and shake your keys!

Geoff

2014 Keys Top 10 Promo Countdown

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!

Well the snow is back:

photo (1)

The bane of a groundskeeper’s existence (right Mike Soper?)

Hopefully you’ve dug yourself out, and are preparing for a lazy afternoon. Snow aside, it’s important to note that we are officially one month away from the start of the 2014 season. And to keep getting you ready, we’re going to pull back the curtain on some of the Keys 2014 promotional offerings!

Starting today, we’ll begin a Top 10 countdown of the team’s best promotions for the season. Then on Friday, we’ll unveil the ENTIRE promotional schedule.  Don’t worry, it will be worth the wait! This year the Keys are pulling out all the stops to make the team’s 26th season one to remember.

Alright, enough with the chit-chat it’s time to start the countdown.

We’ll begin with one of my personal favorites:

TEAM GHOSTRIDERS-THE COWBOY MONKEY RODEO

courtesy: Milb.com

courtesy: Milb.com

It’s one of the wildest sights you’ve ever seen: Monkeys dressed as cowboys riding dogs as though they were horses all the while herding sheep. Get all that? It’s the spectacle of the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo, and it returns to Harry Grove Stadium on Saturday, August 16, when the Keys host the Lynchburg Hillcats at 6:00. In addition to the main event, local act Soolah Hoops will wow the crowd with a hula-hooping extravaganza AND there will also be post-game fireworks sponsored by Precision Heating and Cooling

Tickets  will go fast, so make sure to call the box office at 301-815-9939 or our groups office at 301-815-9900 to get your seats. If you haven’t seen it, you DON’T wanna miss out.

To get you excited, here is a video from one of Team Ghostrider’s recent trips to Harry Grove Stadium: Team Ghostriders visit Harry Grove Stadium. You can also learn more about the origins of the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo by visiting the website of Tim ‘Wild Thang’ Lepard, the owner and operator of Team Ghostriders.

STAR WARS DAY

Star Wars

Don’t miss the chance to mingle with Han Solo, Jedis and other members of the Rebel Alliance when Star Wars invades Harry Grove Stadium on Saturday, April 26 at 2pm. Prior to first pitch against the Carolina Mudcats, fans can greet their favorite characters from the George Lucas brainchild, while there will be light saber battles throughout the game. Plus, the highly-popular Rebel Legion will be in attendance.

Fans are encouraged to come as their favorite Star Wars characters, with the hope that trusting “the force” will guide the Keys to a win over Muddies. April 26 is also a Keys for Reading Weekend, so fans from Howard and Montgomery Counties bring your bookmarks!

Here is some more info about Keys for Reading.

We’ll continue our Top 10 promo countdown tommorrow. Also, be on the lookout for episode 2 of “Guess your Keys.”

Happy shoveling and shake your keys!

Geoff

Guess your Keys: Friday, February 28

Hello Keys Fans!

You made it to Friday. Now with the weekend on the horizon, we’ll try and make your day go a little faster with….

ROUND 1 OF GUESS YOUR KEYS!!!

I know, it sounds like a game show that all the networks passed on. But for our purposes, it’s a pretty fitting title. Over the next few weeks we’ll unveil a list of 40 possible Frederick Keys for the 2014 season. Then when the opening day roster comes out, we’ll see how we did. Now, the question some of you might be asking: I thought a Carolina League roster could only consist of 25 guys, why list 40?

First off, we like to give ourselves some wiggle room. While the MLB roster is mostly set, minor league rosters are a little tougher to pin down. Second, we want to prepare Keys fans for the entire season as best we can. As many minor league baseball fans know, just because a player starts on your roster, there’s no guarantee he will FINISH on your roster. Injuries, promotions, trades and the like tend to disrupt continuity.

Now before we begin, one disclaimer:

We HAVE NOT wiretapped the offices of Orioles Executive Vice President  Dan Duquette or Director of Player Development Brian Graham. We’d like to keep the FBI on our good side. Instead, our crack staff of experts here at the Unlocking the Keys blog have worked to compile the list.

So without further or due, it’s time to unveil the first two players we expect to grace Harry Grove Stadium at some point this season. We’ll begin with one member of the 2013 Frederick Keys:

JESSE BEAL

Courtesy: Orioles-Nation.com

Courtesy: Orioles-Nation.com

Vitals 

Position: RHP

Age: 23

Height: 6-7

Weight: 217

2013 club: Frederick

More on Beal:

After missing all of 2011 on account of right labrum surgery, Beal returned to form in 2013 with the Keys. He pitched in a career-high 40 games, logging a 4.71 ERA over 40 games pitched. The higher ERA was due in large part to extreme home-road splits. In 20 games at other Carolina League parks, the 6-7 righty tallied a 3.35 ERA compared to a 6.17 ERA at hitter-friendly Harry Grove Stadium. Still, Beal’s progress out of the bullpen was encouraging. His August was terrific (9G, 1-1, 3.46 ERA), while he worked two or more innings in 24 of his outings. That’s versatility that any manager can appreciate. Armed with excellent command (his strikeout-walk ratio was almost 3:1 last season), Beal’s fastball sits in the low-mid 90s, while he features a sharp 11-5 curveball.

HUNTER HARVEY

Observernewsonline,com

Observernewsonline.com

Vitals 

Position: RHP

Age: 19

Height: 6-4

Weight: 178

2013 club: GCL Orioles/Aberdeen

More on Harvey:

Considered one of the jewels of the Orioles minor league system, Harvey made a strong impression in his first professional season. Selected by Baltimore with the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft out of Bandy H.S. (NC), the 19-year-old went 0-1 with a 1.78 over eight starts between the GCL Orioles and the Short-Season Aberdeen Ironbirds. Equipped with a fastball that has touched 97 mph, Harvey often overwhelmed his opposition. In 25.1 innings, the righty struck out 33 and held opponents to a .223 batting average. He also walked only six over that stretch. Not too shabby.

Rated the No. 4 prospect in the Orioles system by Baseball America, scouts have given Harvey high marks for his maturity, despite being less than a year removed from high school. Described by Aberdeen’s manager Matt Merullo as a pitcher “who looks like he’s 14, but pitches like he is about 34″, Harvey’s poise can be traced to strong baseball bloodlines. Father, Bryan, was a two-time MLB All-Star and saved 177 games over a nine-year career with the Angels and Marlins, while older brother Kris was a former Pirates and Marlins farmhand. Both ought to be invaluable resources for the youngest Harvey, as he begins his trek to the majors.

Without any full-season experience under his belt, Harvey is expected to begin the season at Low-A Delmarva, but some such as MASN’s Steve Melewski, believe a promotion to Frederick could come in the second half: http://www.masnsports.com/steve_melewski/2013/10/a-take-on-the-orioles-minor-leagues-pitcher-hunter-harvey.html

We hope you enjoyed the inaugural edition of “Guess Your Keys.” Episode two will come your way early next week. In the meantime, enjoy the O’s spring training opener this afternoon! The team will make the 45-minute trek up to Port Charlotte to take on the Rays at 1:05. Chris Tillman makes the start, while former Key Zach Britton is expected to throw second.

Talk soon,

Geoff

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