Frank Who?

Very few supplemental first round picks make waves during their first spring training.

Josh Hart is a bit of an exception.

On Monday afternoon, Oriole-great Frank Robinson paid a visit to Sarasota, Fla to visit with the team. However, when Baltimore’s manager Buck Showalter introduced the 19-year-old to Robinson, Hart had no idea who the Hall of Famer was.

As the son of a high school principal, it should come as no surprise that Showalter told Hart to complete a one-page report on Robinson. Nor should it come as a shock the story garnered national exposure:

Courtesy: AP

Courtesy: AP

If I were Hart, I would have been mortified. After all, his report probably included some of the following about Robinson:

-1982 Hall of Fame Inductee

- #22 on Sporting News List of 100 Greatest Baseball Players

- Finalist for Major League Baseball All-Century Team

-Two-time MVP and World Series MVP in 1966

-9th all-time in home runs (fourth-most at the time of his retirement)

- First African-American to serve as a manager in Major League History

Robinson with the Orioles courtesy: Biography

Robinson with the Orioles
courtesy: Biography

You get the drift. It’s information most baseball fans are aware of. But the reality is, some professional baseball players didn’t grow up as huge baseball fans. The vast majority played multiple sports through high school, and idolized NFL or NBA stars as kids. Some, even got to live out their dreams in multiple pro sports:

Russell Wilson Courtesy: seahawks.com

Russell Wilson
Courtesy: seahawks.com

John Elway courtesy: SI.Com

John Elway
courtesy: SI.Com

Okay, if you’re a Super Bowl winning quarterback I understand why you might gravitate towards football over baseball (Wilson was drafted by the Rockies and selected in the 2013 Rule 5 draft by the Rangers, while Elway played a summer in the Yankees farm-system, FYI).

Still, if you’re going to play baseball, a working knowledge of the all-time greats isn’t asking a lot. Especially, when a host of them have come from your own franchise.  As O’s manager Buck Showalter put it on ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning:

“It’s important that we realize there were some people that paved the way to have that strong fan base, the people that live and die with everything the Orioles do.”

A lesson Hart learned over the course of his assignment. If you’re wondering, his report earned an “A-plus” from the Orioles skipper.

Now that he’s hit the books, Hart will try and open some eyes on the field. Over 36 games with the GCL Orioles and Short-Season Aberdeen Ironbirds in 2013, he hit .218 with nine RBIs and 11 stolen bases.  Rated the No. 13 prospect in the Baltimore system by Baseball America, Hart profiles as a speed guy at the top of the lineup. But with plenty to learn, he’s likely a year away from Frederick at least.

That being said, the Keys can expect a talented group in 2014. Over the next few weeks, we’ll have our predictions, as we continue the countdown towards opening day.

Talk soon, and shake your keys!

Geoff

Turning the Lock: A Glance into the 2014 Frederick Keys

Good Afternoon Keys Fans!!!

There may still be snow on the ground in Frederick, but in 44 days, the Keys will play their first game of the season against the Lynchburg Hillcats at historic Falwell Field. It’s a lovely thought isn’t it? In the meantime, I’m sure many of you are keeping track of all the developments down at Orioles Spring Training in Sarasota. It figures to be an exciting year for the O’s, but it ought to be a banner year for the Keys as well. And as we get closer to the season, we’ll give you the inside skinny on possible Keys players, updates from camp, as well as 2014 Keys promotions and lots more! But before we get to all that, some introductions:

First off, my name is Geoff Arnold, and I am the new Broadcasting and Public Relations Manager for the Keys. I serve as one of the team’s radio voices, and work as the primary liasion to the media. This is my first year in Frederick, but my second in the Carolina League. Last year, I served as the Assistant Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, Advanced-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. In short, I couldn’t have asked for a better indoctrination into the Carolina League. Wilmington’s fanbase was super-passionate, while the front office staff was top-notch.

As an added plus, the Blue Rocks were only a short-ride up I-95 from my hometown of Berwyn, PA. Berwyn is a suburb of Philadelphia and is roughly 15 minutes from Valley Forge (or the King of Prussia Mall if that makes things easier). And yes, for better or worse, richer or poorer, I am a Philadelphia sports fan. I’ve been crushed so many times by the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, but at the end of the day, I still love them. In particular the Phillies. My family has had season tickets for over 30 years.

Speaking of family, all are baseball FANATICS. My dad coached pretty much every one of my little league teams growing up. My mom coached my sister’s teams, while my brother and sister both played collegiately for a time. I on the other hand, played high school baseball, before switching to baseball umpiring. It was a great way to make money in college, while it provided me with my first “real” job after graduation. Before moving into the broadcast booth, I umpired in the Gulf Coast League in 2011. So if you call out “hey blue, you stink!!!” during a Keys game and see me jerk my head around? Instinctual reaction.

But that’s enough about me. This season, I’ll be joined by two other awesome guys on the blog.  I’ll start with the Garden State’s favorite son. My main man Doug Raftery, who will be my partner on Keys broadcasts this year:

DOUG RAFTERY

My name is Doug and I’m a 23-year-old from Brick, NJ, also known as “America’s Safest City” in 2006 by the Morgan Quitno survey. My house is also partly made of brick, which makes the town name that much better.

I attended Hood College just down the road and graduated with a Communication Arts degree in 2012. While there, I had the opportunity to play collegiate soccer around some knee injuries, and was President of the Student Government Association my senior year.

I’m a big ‘quote’ guy, and my favorite is “You must have long-term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-term failures” by Charles C. Noble.

My family is extremely important to me, as my mom, Patty, and dad, Ron, still live in Brick right on the jersey shore. My sister, who is four years older than me, is in the process of getting her PhD from the University of South Carolina. She is recently engaged to my new brother-in-law David, and I can’t wait until the wedding in 2015!

I can’t wait to interact with the fans this season while on air and at the stadium! Talk to everybody soon.

CHRIS COLLETTI

Hello Keys fans! My name is Chris Colletti, the Marketing Assistant for this coming season. I along with the others here will help with this season’s blog and just wanted to give you an introduction to myself. I am a 2013 graduate from SUNY Cortland in Central New York with a major in Sport Management. As a native of Buffalo, New York I am a lover of three things: Music, Wings, and Sports. Last year I worked with the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, and I can’t wait to bring my experiences to the table here in Frederick. I look forward to meeting you all here at the stadium and I hope you enjoy the baseball this year as well as the events we are planning for you this season. Go Keys!

And there you have it. The talented trio (or duo depending on how you look at it). We look forward to bringing you Keys coverage throughout the season, and we’ll be in touch soon!

Shake your Keys!

Geoff, Doug and Chris

Three More Games

This 25th season of Keys baseball is coming to an end, but we made sure to make it as action packed as possible.  Let’s take a quick look at the happenings at The Grove for the final weekend of 2013.

ET-the-Extra-Terrestrial-006

Your favorite alien, tonight at Harry Grove Stadium.

Before we get into the games, make sure you come out to the final Flying Dog Left Field Movie series showing of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. That is tonight, August 30th, at 8PM with gates opening at 7PM. Even if you have seen the movie before, you probably haven’t inside the friendly confines of your neighborhood baseball stadium. Tickets are cheap and still available ($7 for adults and $5 for youth). You can purchase tickets at the gate. May I also mention, there is FREE Fun Zone for kids, you can have catch in the outfield from 7-8pm and we will also have a special happy hour featuring beer exclusively from Flying Dog Brewery. Great event for the family, so come on out tonight.

aug31-sep2

Starting tomorrow, the 31st, the Keys welcome in the Carolina League powerhouse in the Potomac Nationals. Going into tonight, the P-Nats lead the league with a record of 82-53, winners of the first and second half. They will play Lynchburg in round one of the playoffs. Enough of that yip-yap…let’s get to the good stuff.

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Meet Joe Jacoby and get your hog nose! Gates open at 5PM.

The big event tomorrow night is the appearance of Redskin Hall-of-Famer, Joe Jacoby. Joe will be here from 6-8PM signing programs, footballs or perhaps even your hog nose. That is right, the first 600 fans through the gates will receive the hog nose pictured above. For more information on Joe’s appearance, check out our earlier blog post hereIf you aren’t a Skins fan, make sure to sport your favorite team’s football jersey as part of Salute to the Gridiron Night.

DSCF1242

Tuscarora HS Marching Band played on-field August 9th. Oakdale HS Marching band takes the stage on Satuday Night.

In addition to Jacoby, make sure to also get here early for a performance on-field by the Oakdale High School Marching Band. They will be performing from 5:25-5:35 in right field. There is also a fundraising event going on with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, so all funds from our wheel of fun (located on the 1B concourse) and 50/50 raffle with benefit their cause. It also wouldnt be a weekend night game here at The Grove without a Fireworks spectacular (presented by Verizon Wireless), so make sure to stay in your seats after the final out. Kids, per usual, will run the bases as well.

Picture 259

Sunday marks the 2nd Annual Guns vs. Hoses game at Harry Grove Stadium. Game begins at 3:30PM.

Sunday, we have some early pre-game activities as we host the 2nd annual Guns vs. Hoses softball game. The Frederick County Fire Dept. and Police Dept. will go head to head at 3:30PM. Last year, the Hoses (Fire Dept), came out on top so make sure to come see if the Guns can even the series on Sunday. Tickets will benefit the local police & fire departments and are just $10. For more info on that, head on to their website by clicking hereThe $10 ticket includes admission to the Charity Softball Game and the Keys game against the Nationals that evening. Regular gates open at 5PM for the 6PM contest. Sunday, as always, is Sunday Funday, presented by the Fun Bus. For the final time this season, fans can have catch in the outfield from 5-5:30 and get autographs from two Keys players on the concourse. Pre-game there will be a special Police K-9 demo along with a Police Athletic League Parade. All proceeds from our wheel and 50/50 will benefit the P.A.L. at Sunday’s game, so make sure to show your support. Sunday marks the final fireworks game of the season as well.

DSCN7597

Thank you fans for another successful season!

Monday marks the final game of the 2013 season and a game where we salute to you, the fans. Each fan upon entry will receive a raffle ticket that will be good to win a plethora of available prizes including signed memorabilia from former Keys players and Orioles tickets! The Labor Day matinee will begin at 2PM with gates opening at 1PM. If the Fan Appreciation raffle isn’t enough for you, we will also have another raffle for game-worn 25th season hats. The hats will have the Frederick Eagle insignia on it. Make sure to enter to win a hat at Guest Services when you enter the gates.

birdlogo

Keys players will wear hats with this throwback logo on Monday afternoon.

If you’re wondering what is going to be done with the throwback jerseys the Keys have worn on Thursdays this season, we will be conducting a post-season online auction for those hot ticket items. Stay tuned for more info on that.

Monday is also our final Open Club Day of the year. Anyone with a ticket can check out the Mattress Warehouse Club upstairs for FREE. Enjoy baseball from a great view and purchase food from a phenomenal sports pub menu. Check out that menu hereKids 12 & Under also eat free, courtesy of Key 103. Every kid will receive a voucher upon entry for a free hot dogs, chips and soft drink.

We hope to see everyone here for the final weekend of baseball here in Frederick for 2013. You can buy tickets online 24/7, via the phone at 301-815-9939 or at our box office as well.

Key Notes

*Michael Ohlman & Tim Berry join other O’s prospects this fall in the Arizona Fall League.  Check out that story here.

*Ohlman was honored as the Carolina League’s top catcher as he was the lone backstop selected as a member of the Carolina League Postseason All-Star Team. He leads the league in slugging and is tops in other categories during his best professional season thus far. You can check out the press release for that here.

*The Keys look to get back on track against Salem tonight in their final road game of 2013. Zach Clark takes the hill against the Red Sox Brian Johnson. Clark, the Keys knuckleballer, enters the night with a 9.60 ERA but has improved lately, allowing no earned runs over his last two starts, which covered 11 innings. In case you missed it, Zach was featured in a NY Times article not so long ago. Check that out here.

*Keys pitching coach Kennie Steenstra and pitcher Tim Berry are the latest additions to the twitterverse. Make sure to follow Kennie (@21stra) and Tim (@xTimBerry) on Twitter if you have an account.

*Former Key, Xavier Avery, was traded to Seattle today in exchange for outfielder Mike Morse. Avery hit .280 and swiped 28 bags in 2010 as a member of the Keys. He is the second prospect to be dealt to the Mariners this season. Ty Kelly was traded for Eric Thames back in June.

Shake your Keys.

 

A Hog at Harry Grove Stadium

*WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The hog snouts have arrived. Be one of the first 600 in the gates to get yours Saturday, then meet the Hog himself, Joe Jacoby.

photo

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Get your sundresses, wigs and garden hats ready. We’ll provide the pig noses (to the first 600 fans).

Yes, former Hog and Washington Redskins great Joe Jacoby will be in attendance for Saturday’s 6 p.m. game against Potomac, which will serve as our annual Salute to the Gridiron Night. He’ll be signing autographs from about 6-8 that night and all Hogettes (see picture above) are more than welcome to attend.

As I mentioned in the second sentence of this post, we’ll be giving away free hog snouts to the first 600 fans in the gates, which open at 5 p.m. More on Joe Jacoby below and you can get your tickets here. Read the press release here.

joejacoby

*If you need a Joe Jacoby reminder, it’s probably best to start with the what is maybe the greatest play in Redskins history:

It’s 1983, 4th and 1 in the 4th Quarter of Super Bowl XVII and the Redskins trail 17-13. The play call, “70 Chip,” a handoff to John Riggins right behind Jacoby, the left tackle:

Note how Jacoby blows his man off the line and flattens him, clearing the way as the rest of the ‘Skins hold their blocks. A good article on the play was published last in 2012 in The Sporting News. Jacoby’s quote in the story:

“I didn’t know (Riggins scored) until I looked up and saw him down in the end zone, because I was in the bottom of the pile in the mass of humanity that was all piled up there,” Jacoby says.

More footage of Jacoby and the Hogs blasting holes in the Dolphins’ defensive front.

*Things to know about Joe Jacoby:

  • He went undrafted out of Louisville in 1981 and signed with the Redskins as a free agent that year
  • An offensive tackle for essentially his entire career, Jacoby played all 13 years with Washington, winning Super Bowls in 1983, 1988 and 1992
  • He was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl in four consecutive seasons (1983-86) as a left tackle
  • Named an All-Pro in ’83 and ’84
  • Selected to the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team
  • One of 45 players, coaches and owners that have been inducted into the Redskins Ring of Fame at FedEx Field
  • Nickname during playing days was “Jake”
  • One of the original five Washington offensive linemen that became known as The Hogs, a dominant, bruising group that cleared the way for the Redskins’ rushing attack and protected quarterbacks Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien in the early ’80s through the early ’90s
  • Jacoby helped lead the way on John Riggins’ iconic touchdown run in Super Bowl XVII, in which the Redskins set a Super Bowl rushing record, one they would break five years later in Super Bowl XXII
  • Retired from the NFL in 1993 and currently coaches the offensive line at John Handley High School in Winchester, Va.\

*Did you know that after 30 years, the Hogettes retired in January?

See you Saturday. Shake your Keys. And Hail.

Tonight only at The Grove: Tim Kurkjian (life-size?) bobbleheads

When gates open this evening at 6 p.m., 1,000 of these will be given away:

If you can’t tell by its likeness, that’s a bobblehead of ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian, who will be at Harry Grove Stadium tonight when the Keys host Wilmington in a 7 p.m. game. Thanks to St. John’s Catholic Prep, we’re able to give away one beautiful bobble to each of the first 1,000 fans through the gate tonight. On Art in the Park Night, Kurkjian, the David to our Michelangelo, will be at The Grove throwing out a first pitch, signing autographs and meeting and greeting fans.

TimKBobble

*If you’d like a Kurkjian bobblehead (and of course you do), here are some tips:

1. Get here early. The earlier the better. There will be a line and it will be long, like a Chris Davis home run to straight-away center field in San Francisco.

Ok, maybe not that long, but you get my point. Get your tickets and get here early.

2. We give out one bobble per warm body through the gate, not per ticket purchased.

3. Bring some water, sunscreen, maybe an umbrella in case of drizzle. Stay hydrated and protected from the elements while you wait.

4. Bring a magazine or something to entertain yourself. Might I suggest watching Tim Kurkjian’s son, Jeff, who interned with us this summer, taste the field during the Taco Bell Sauce Race.

*Tim Kurkjian chatted with former Keys broadcaster Tim Murray on his show on ESPN980 last weekend about many things, including his Keys bobblehead. Listen here.

* In-non Kurkjian news, the Keys will be wearing these fashionable jerseys tonight and then they’ll be signed and auctioned off to the highest bidders:

photo

*Keys players also painted baseballs, which will also be auctioned off during the game.

Shake your Keys.

Blue Rocks Barking Up the Wrong Tree

The Keys take on the Wilmington Blue Rocks tonight for the second game of the three game home stand.  The opener last night was an exciting one to say the least as the Keys played the role of the comeback kids; scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Keys trailed 3-1 in the top of the 8th but thanks to an RBI single by Tucker Nathans followed by another single by Dariel Alvarez which scored two runs, and finally a two run double by Travis Adair, the Keys gained a four run lead over the Blue Rocks. Matt Hobgood got the win on the night, which was his second of the year, and Gene Escat got the save, his sixth of the year.

Howard

The Keys are handing the ball off to left hander Trent Howard, who has yet to lose a game this season. The twenty three year old has an impressive ERA of only 2.0 paired with an equally  impressive sinking fastball.  The Keys will  be facing the Blue Rock’s left hander, Angel Baez. Baez is a twenty two year old from Puerto Rico with a record of 6 and 7 and 3.17 ERA. Wilmington sure is barking up the wrong tree tonight!

The Key’s line up is looking sharp tonight, check it out!

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Want more game info? Here are the game notes -

Tonight is also the seasons last Throwback Thursday! Be sure to come out and check out the Keys players rock their Throwback jerseys for the final time.

Aug_22_Promo_1am3c0hn_6wz72oxm

Be sure not to leave your four legged best friend at home on your way out the door because tonight is Dog Days of Summer brought to you by Crossroads Animal Referral & Emergency. Did you register your beloved dog? Let’s hope so because it’s the last Dog day of Summer of the season! The game is set to start at 7PM, gates opening at 6PM.

See you and your dog at the ballpark!

We need more dogs!

As stated in the video above, we need more dogs!

Tonight is the final Dog Day of Summer at Harry Grove Stadium, your last chance this season to bring your pooch to the park. Give us a call at 301-815-9906 to register and make sure to have your rabies tag certification number handy.

If you don’t swing by for tonight’ s 7 p.m. game against Wilmington, you’ll miss out on all of this:

Doggy fashion

dogfashKanine athletics

catch-dog

dog-catch-a-ball-from-snow

best-gifs-pt-14-dog-running-after-ball-catapult

Belly rubbing

And butt sniffing

Also, Keys baseball. Watch Johnny Ruettiger get creative and tie up last night’s game in the eighth.

Pirates Life for the Keys

Yo ho,  yo ho, it’s a pirate life for the Keys tonight at the Grove. Players will be turning in their bats for swords and their baseball caps for captain hats; it’s Pirate and Swashbucklers theme night! Make sure to stop by guest services to get your treasure map and help Keyote find the gold loot that’s been hidden in the stadium.

The Keys will be crossing swords the Wilmington Blue Rocks in the first of a three game series. The Blue Rocks have a record of 23-35 in the second half of the season and will be handing the ball to the twenty three right hander, Leonel Santiago. Zach Clark, also a right handed pitcher, will  be on the helm tonight for the Keys, who is looking for his first win. For  more details on tonight’s game, check out the game notes below.

Sails will be hoisted at seven with gates opening at six. Grab your bandannas and swords and come out to the stadium for a night for swashbuckling adventures! Staff and interns are ready to set sail  and will  be on the lookout for keys fans in buccaneer attire.

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Shake your keys or ye be walking the plank!

Keyote gets a birthday card

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Keyote had a great time celebrating his birthday Sunday afternoon with a whole cast of his mascot buddies.

Today, he received a belated Happy Birthday from Chloe in New Market. He took a break from reviewing Keys stats at his desk to open it:

Thanks, Chloe!

Rounding the Bases with Chaz Packan: Michael Ohlman Q&A

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

Michael Ohlman leads active Keys with 12 home runs and 48 RBIs.

On Thursday, July 18,  I had the chance to sit down with Keys catcher Michael Ohlman for a “Keys Q & A” for this week’s edition of Rounding the Bases.

Chaz Packan: How do you feel about playing in the Australian Baseball League last winter?

Michael Ohlman: “It was fantastic the whole experience and the culture were amazing, I got setup with a great host family and the guys on the team were great”.

CP: What has been your key to success at the plate this season so far?

MO:  “Not getting myself out and getting good pitches to hit”.

CP: What was your first reaction to being drafted by the Orioles in 2009?

MO:  “It was one of the best feelings I have ever had, I had a chance to attend Miami which is a great school but I have no regrets.”

CP:  What Was Your Favorite MLB Team Growing Up?

MO:  “At first I was an Atlanta Braves fan because there was no teams in Florida, then the Rays came and I became a Tampa Bay Rays fan”.

 

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