They are former Orioles and they are still around to help the orange and black.
Over the last month, as some of the organization’s minor league players took part in drills under the stands at Camden Yards, B.J. Surhoff and Mike Bordick have been among those lending a hand.
The group was led by O’s strength and conditioning coach Joe Hogarty and Gary Kendall, who will manage at Double-A Bowie this year. Orioles trainers Richie Bancells and Brian Ebel were at the workouts, along with Short Season Single-A Aberdeen pitching coach Scott McGregor. O’s scout Dean Albany was there for some of the work along with some minor league trainers.
Winter workouts for players at the stadium goes back a long way in O’s history.
“This goes back to when Elrod (Hendricks) and Cal Sr. ran this back at Memorial Stadium. Then there were more major league players because more lived in town then,” Kendall said. “This year was probably the highest attended of the years I go back with it. We’ve had eight to ten hitters and pitchers most days.”
Bordick is now an instructor in the O’s minor leagues and Surhoff handled some special projects for the club last summer. Kendall said the pair has been well received by the young players.
“The players are very receptive, usually to any instruction they are always willing to listen. But coming from those guys, it’s a fresh perspective. B.J. is so well versed in his background. Here’s a guy that played outfield, infield and caught. He can relate with offense and defense,” Kendall added.
Other position players that have been at the workouts include former Towson University players Brian Conley and Gary Helmick. Others taking advantage of the work were catcher Jason Stifler; Marcus Jones, a Gulf Coast League Orioles outfielder last year; and Glynn Davis of Catonsville Community College, who was signed by the O’s after the draft last summer.
O’s director of player development John Stockstill said the insights of the former Orioles are very valuable to the minor leaguers.
“For any player, the biggest help he can get is some sort of shortcut or hint that takes him to the next level. The expertise those guys can pass on to a player is important. They may say something that kid might remember the next 20 years of his career,” Stockstill said. “Their work ethic is second to none. A guy like Bordick can get on a player’s level and B.J. can evaluate a player and let him know what to work on. The kids look up to them.”
As a Baltimore native and someone who was an O’s fan even before he worked for the club, Kendall can appreciate the value and tradition of having a former Oriole player work with one that might be a future Oriole.
“I can remember those guys (as Orioles) coming and doing their workouts and we used them as examples to our minor leaguers at that time as guys to watch. Even as a coach you listen to those guys. It may be something you have heard before but maybe how they say it is a little different. And it gets through to the players a little better, a little easier. Those guys care and that is the greatest thing. They are there to help and make the Orioles a better organization,” Kendall said.