Winter Meetings and Greetings


The countdown to the Winter Meetings continues, as we draw nearer to the turning point of the offseason. From here, the rest seems like a downhill ride right into spring training and a whole new baseball season.

Most of you are probably anticipating Roch Kubatko's coverage from the Winter Meetings for MASNsports.com, as he'll be there for every minute of it, catching every rumor and move and pitching them your way from Indianapolis. So check back for updates from Roch throughout the Meetings, and stay tuned for what promises to be some great video coverage from Indy as well.

So from the excruciating calm that is November of the baseball offseason, to the whirlwind of December through February, the fun part of the offseason finally begins. Coincidentally, the O's also have a handful of community appearances coming up soon too.

Two O's hurlers will hit the tennis courts, as pitchers Jeremy Guthrie and Brad Bergesen will participate in this year's celebrity tennis match at Pam Shriver's BCF Tennis Challenge at the First Mariner Arena on Wednesday, December 9.

Guthrie and Bergesen will each be teamed with a tennis pro from the big-name group including John McEnroe, Lindsay Davenport, Melanie Oudin, and John Isner. On top of the Orioles and tennis pros at the event, the Orioles celebrity doubles match will be refereed by Ravens players.

I'm heading to the event to relay Guthrie and Bergesen's skills on the tennis court back here in the Orioles Buzz, but if you want to see for yourself, call 410.547.SEAT or click here to visit www.tennischallenge.org. Tickets range from $25-$110 and proceeds are donated to children's charities in the greater Baltimore region.

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But before the pair of Orioles pitchers try their hands at tennis, they'll be a part of a 15-man roster of current and former Orioles players, coaches and minor leaguers that will gather at the ESPN Zone on the afternoon of the 9th to enjoy a holiday lunch with 80 first graders from Lakeland Elementary Middle School for the 31st annual OriolesREACH Kids Christmas Party.

Each year, OriolesREACH selects a group of kids from a different economically disadvantaged school in the Baltimore area and makes their holiday season just a little bit brighter by bringing them together with O's players and coaches for an afternoon of chicken fingers and interactive games at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore.

O's pitchers Brad Bergesen, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman, Chris Ray, Cla Meredith and Brian Bass; first base coach John Shelby; minor leaguers Brandon Erbe and Chorye Spoone; and former Orioles Rick Dempsey, Dave Johnson, Scott McGregor, Al Bumbry, Larry Sheets, and Bill Swaggerty will spend the afternoon with the first graders from Lakeland.

The group will serve lunch to the kids, play games with them in the "Sports Arena" at the ESPN Zone and sign autographs, before Santa arrives to deliver gifts to each child.

The event is a fun one where you get to see some of the players and coaches in a completely different role than the ones they fill on the field. Though the event is not open to the rest of the general public, I'll be attending with Steve Melewski to bring back some stories, photos and any baseball news Steve can glean from the players there before the party begins.

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