Myths, misconceptions about some former Orioles players

As various cable networks keep reheating old broadcasts to satisfy the need for sports, I'm certain that the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network will skip the night of Aug. 14, 1997.

Unless fans want to wait through a 2 hour, 25 minute delay while sitting at home. For a game that wasn't played.

Then again, it could be part of a tribute package for Cal Ripken Jr. Include a silly rumor, which turned into an urban legend, with the 1983 World Series, 2,131 and the home run in his final All-Star Game.

The Aug. 14 game against the Mariners was postponed and rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader after a bank of lights malfunctioned behind the first base dugout. Discussions were held among players, umpires, team executives, the Maryland Stadium Authority, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and American League president Gene Budig.

Crew chief Al Clark finally sent everyone home at 10 p.m. after determining that the shadows at home plate created unsafe conditions. Meanwhile, the Mariners had already started to shower and dress about an hour earlier.

There were liability issues if someone was injured, whether on the field or in the stands. And the Orioles didn't look forward to facing Randy Johnson in dim lighting.

cal-ripken-waves-dugout-2131.jpgBut what's remembered most about that night was the accusation that the Orioles purposely shut off the lights to preserve Ripken's consecutive-games streak. Some nonsense about how he was spending the night in jail or just unable to come to the ballpark after getting into an altercation with actor Kevin Costner.

Puts a whole new spin on "Dances with Wolves"

Or maybe it should be "Field of Drama"

Meanwhile, Ripken stood on the field with Brady Anderson during the delay to check whether it was too dark to play the game. And while doing some research over the weekend, I stumbled upon a wonderfully detailed article from Joe Strauss in The Baltimore Sun that included the following paragraph:

"At about 9: 20 p.m., Orioles starter Scott Kamieniecki began walking toward the bullpen as Cal Ripken emerged to soft toss along the first-base line."

So yes, Ripken was at Camden Yards, in plain view of everyone.

The ballpark was packed. There had to be witnesses beyond officials, players and the media.

The actual cause of the malfunction was a ground fault interrupt that kept tripping the circuit breaker. Surrounding businesses didn't experience any problems, which some people tried to use as proof of Orioles shenanigans, because the ballpark was on a separate portion of the city's power grid.

So, no, you don't know a guy who knows a guy who's seen the police report. It doesn't exist.

They really are "Hidden Figures"

Given the many lies told about Ripken that night, I'm going with "Bullcrap Durham"

Now that I'm warmed up, let's take a look at the misconceptions about a couple of players I've covered over the years. I'm here to tell you that:

* Mark Trumbo wasn't a joyless grouch who killed the pie celebrations.

Trumbo isn't animated, tends to speak in a monotone and lists his favorite pizza topping as "cheese." That doesn't make him angry or moody.

And his reaction to a postgame pie in the face - he simply thought the MASN interview was over and removed his headset - didn't prompt the Orioles to nix the idea. There were injury concerns. I've heard that one player required some sort of treatment. But it wasn't Trumbo and he wasn't a killjoy.

The perception became an annoyance to Trumbo, who left the club as a free agent over the winter and remained unsigned as baseball shut down. He was a valued leader in the clubhouse. Players liked and respected him. Manager Brandon Hyde liked and respected him. And he was accessible to the media, usually sitting at his locker as the clubhouse opened to us.

Trumbo was good for a quote or an off-the-record conversation. Just a bit misunderstood.

* Erik Bedard wasn't always difficult with the media.

Bedard was a friendly young pitcher working his way up the farm system after the Orioles selected him in the sixth round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft. He dealt with some injuries in the early 2000s, including to his knee and oblique, and underwent Tommy John surgery at 23.

(Bedard was tossed into the pile of injured Orioles pitching prospects that also included Matt Riley, Mike Paradis, Beau Hale, Richard Stahl and Josh Cenate, among so many others. Even pitchers obtained in trades broke down, with 2000 deadline acquisitions Luis Rivera (labrum), Mark Nussbeck (labrum) and Pat Gorman (elbow) undergoing surgery that cost them the 2001 season.)

The left-hander would smile and agree to interview requests seeking updates on his condition.

Then he became difficult and took tremendous pleasure in offering the shortest answers at his locker after starts. A couple of words, followed by a slight grin as the media backed away that wasn't nearly as inviting as the earlier smile.

"Stupid question, next," was one of his go-to responses. Not that he was always wrong. And he could be fine in a casual one-on-one setting.

Many fans don't care about player-media relations, but I found his interview act tiresome, while some others were amused, because it prevented me from doing my job to the fullest. I didn't appreciate the show and eventually refused to participate beyond just listening.

Bedard made a bad first impression on Seattle reporters after the Orioles traded him to the Mariners in February 2008 - one of the best deals in franchise history because he netted Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and George Sherrill, along with two minor league pitchers.

As the story goes, Bedard offered a set number of questions that he'd field in the group setting. When someone asked why, he replied, "That's one."

OK, that was funny.

Bedard admitted much later that he felt anxiety in large interview groups. Maybe that was it. Or he felt burned by an article many years earlier and held a grudge. I've also heard that one.

Perhaps it was a combination of both.

I just know that he was really good with the media and then he wasn't.

Brandon Hyde, Mike Elias and Chick-fil-A make dona...
Zimmerman's take on the Zoom video call to celebra...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to