I'll begin today's entry by pointing out that Jami Gertz was on "Modern Family" last night and that did not make me unhappy.
I'm a big fan of her ... work. Yes, we'll go with "work."
Reminder that the Orioles will announce the Derrek Lee signing today and he'll be made available to reporters in a conference call. I'll pass along his comments later.
Left-hander Mark Hendrickson has a unique way of distracting himself during the off-season and not obsessing over his free agent status. In the winter of 2009, he got married and went on his honeymoon. Unable to repeat that move, he instead welcomed his daughter, Sadie, into the world on Nov. 29.
"You've got to try to keep busy," he said, "because if you're not, this stuff can drive you nuts."
The Orioles want to add another left-handed reliever before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, but Hendrickson isn't sure whether there's a match. He doesn't want incremental updates from his agent, Joe Urban. Like former teammate Will Ohman, another lefty still on the market, Hendrickson prefers to be left alone until talks with a club significantly heat up.
"It's gotten to the point where, since I try not to stress much, he'll only call if stuff comes up," Hendrickson said. "I try to follow some things. He touched base after the winter meetings, but not since the holidays because I know most teams tend to slow down during that time. Now, it's starting to pick up. But we haven't had contact in a week and a half.
"The average person can't understand why it takes as long as it does, but that's the way the business goes. Everything kind of plays out accordingly. Some years are faster than others. This year has been a lot faster for sure."
Hendrickson didn't sign last year until Feb. 9, so he's used to waiting. The Orioles declined to pick up his option after he went 1-6 with a 5.26 ERA in 52 appearances, making him a free agent again, and the York, Pa., resident wants to stay with the organization.
The Orioles haven't closed the door on the possibility, but that's as much as I know. Hendrickson declined to name the teams that expressed interest during the winter meetings, saying he wasn't sure if subsequent transactions had changed their intentions.
"I enjoyed my time in Baltimore and I'd love to come back," he said. "I thought the guys played very well toward the end of the year, and I've obviously followed the transactions during the offseason. They've made some really good moves for the upcoming year. I'd love to be part of it. No doubt."
As for Ohman, he indicated that nothing has changed with his situation since I talked to him on Dec. 16. He still doesn't have a feel for where he'll pitch this season.
Here's the list of remaining left-handed relievers on the free-agent market and their ages, courtesy of mlbtraderumors.com:
Joe Beimel (34)
Tim Byrdak (37)
Bruce Chen (34)
Randy Flores (35)
Mark Hendrickson (37)
Ron Mahay (40)
Will Ohman (32)
Dennys Reyes (34)
Bobby Seay (33)
Scott Schoeneweis (37)
Taylor Tankersley (28)
The Orioles will hold the inaugural OriolesREACH Birdland Golf Classic at The Founders Club in Sarasota on Feb. 17 to benefit the Miracle League of Manasota, a new organization dedicated to providing an opportunity for every person to play baseball, regardless of their ability. The event begins with registration and lunch at noon, with a shotgun start set for 1 p.m.
The classic will feature a silent auction and the chance to play a round with current and former Orioles players and coaches. Manager Buck Showalter and current Orioles Jeremy Guthrie, Jim Johnson, Brian Roberts and Matt Wieters are scheduled to attend.
Registration is now open for golfers and corporate partners. There are multiple levels of participation available, including three MVP sponsor packages, which include recognition as a presenting sponsor, a foursome with the opportunity to select your Orioles playing partner, four infield box seats to a 2011 spring training game and more.
For the 14,000 school-aged children with disabilities and their adult counterparts in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the Miracle League of Manasota will build a synthetically surfaced baseball field and all the requisite amenities in Longwood Park, just off University Parkway in Sarasota. Sarasota County has committed $500,000 to the capital improvement of Longwood Park. The opening game of the Miracle League of Manasota is planned for fall 2011. For more information, visit www.miracleleaguemanasota.org.
For more information or to register for the event, contact Tracee Crump at 941-954-4101 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The entry deadline is Feb. 3.
Cal Ripken and Alex Ovechkin teamed up last night for "An Evening with the Great Eights," an exclusive fundraising event for underserved youth at the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C. During the event, Ovechkin was presented with the inaugural Advocate for Youth Award by the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation for his work in the community to serve children in need.
Money raised at the event is benefiting the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, which serves at-risk youth across the U.S., and the Friends of Fort DuPont Ice Rink in Washington. A portion of the money raised will also be used to support the Dynamo Youth Hockey and Dynamo Youth Basketball programs in Ovechkin's native Russia.
The theme of the event was inspired by Ripken, who wore the No. 8 during his 21-year career with the Orioles, and Ovechkin, who currently wears No. 8 playing left wing for the Capitals.
"Cal Ripken is a hero for fans and kids everywhere. It's an honor to be recognized by him and the foundation," Ovehckin said in a statement. "Kids are very special to me and I am excited to work with Cal to help kids use sports to learn things that can give them a chance to have a better life."
Said Ripken: "Alex is such an amazing talent and he uses the platform that hockey has provided him to help others and make a difference. We are thrilled that he is here tonight accepting this award and with his help we are going to positively impact kids here in Washington, D.C., as well as in Russia."
Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards will host a roundtable discussion on Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. with producers and contributors of the award-winning ESPN documentary, "The Band That Wouldn't Die."
Following a viewing of the documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barry Levinson, producers Lee Bonner and Stan Flint, along with the President of the Baltimore Colts Marching Band (now known as Baltimore's Marching Ravens) John Ziemann, and journalist/author Michael Olesker will share their behind-the-scenes experiences related to the film.
The program is free with the price of admission, and the museum is offering a half-priced ticket discount through the month of January in honor of the Baltimore Ravens' third consecutive playoff appearance.
The Bowie Baysox and their partners announced that Louie's Holiday Hope Project helped 20 families in need, including 60 kids, during the 2010 holiday season. The team partnered with Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, the Bowie Police Department and Bowie Youth & Family Services to provide food, winter coats and Christmas gifts to the families, based on each family's needs.
Fifteen of the 20 families were from Bowie. The other families reside in Lothian, Beltsville, Hyattsville, Suitland and Arnold.
The Orioles donated more than 100 items to the program.