The real excitement came with two outs in the third inning, when Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson tagged out Manny Machado on a fielder’s choice. Donaldson shoved his glove into Machado’s chest, causing the young third baseman to fall backward and land on his butt. Machado flipped his helmet toward Donaldson on the way down, jumped to his feet and went nose-to-nose with him.
Machado held out his arms while coming within inches of Donaldson’s face, and both dugouts and bullpens emptied. It ended so quickly, the relievers never made it to the infield before turning back.
Can’t we all just get along?
If you arrived at Camden Yards before the anthem, you were really treated to an unforgettable moment. One that raises goose bumps and puts a lump in your throat.
Fans gave a rousing ovation to 96-year-old Joseph Oates, US Army, 29th Division. who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Manager Buck Showalter walked him onto the field with an arm around his waist, then turned him toward the crowd and pointed to the spectators who stood and cheered.
Showalter visited with Oates earlier today during batting practice, spending several minutes leaning down and talking to him. Showalter’s father was in Normandy and the manager traveled there several years ago. This has always been an emotional day for him.
You’ve probably heard by now that the Orioles selected left-hander Brian Gonzalez from Archbishop McCarthy High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., with the 90th pick of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
Gonzalez, listed at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, has a fastball that sits at 87-90 mph and touches 91. He also throws a changeup and curveball.
This season, Gonzalez went 10-0 with a 0.50 ERA and 129 strikeouts and tossed a pair of no-hitters. He’s lost one game in three seasons.
Gonzalez, a team captain, has committed to the University of Miami.
Gonzalez also plays first base and would probably be a two-way player at Miami if he doesn’t sign with the Orioles.
“He’s a command and control, big left-handed pitcher who knows how to pitch,” said scouting director Gary Rajsich. “He’s been a winner his whole high school career and we look for good things about him. His upside is tremendous. He knows how to pitch.”
The Orioles also assume he’ll know how to sign a professional contract.
“He indicated he was willing to sign,” Rajsich said, “and that’s why we went ahead with the pick.”
“After two days of the draft, the Orioles have chosen five pitchers and three position players, with seven of the selections being college products. The Orioles selected two right-handed pitchers, three left-handed pitchers, two infielders, and one outfielder. The draft will conclude tomorrow with rounds 11-40.
“We feel very good about the draft today,” Rajsich said. “We went in with a good plan based on our situation this year and we drafted into the strength of the draft. We picked our picks and we were real happy with what we came away with.
Earlier today, Showalter talked about former closer Jim Johnson’s return to Camden Yards with the Athletics.
“Saw Jimmy earlier,” Showalter said. “He was talking to some of our (support staff). Jimmy, whether it’d be clubhouse guys, whether it’d be parking attendants, whether it’d be video (personnel), Jimmy had such a great relationship with so many support people. Especially when you spend that much time here. He treated people well.
“I was coming in the locker room and he was out in the hallway. I almost didn’t notice him. He hollered at me and we talked for a little while. And we’ll talk some more.”
How will fans react to Johnson if he pitches in this series?
“Haven’t really thought about it,” Showalter said. “I think our fans realize how much Jimmy enjoyed being an Oriole and a part of things and the contribution he made. It mattered to him. But he’s a professional. Trust me, he’ll be trying to beat our brains out.”
Showalter reached out to Johnson while he struggled with the A’s, losing the closer’s job, but he chose to keep the exchanges private.
It couldn’t have been easy for Showalter to watch Johnson’s implosions.
“I know how much he cares, almost to a fault,” Showalter said. “I know how much he internalizes a lot of those things. I know it’s tough on him, but I think he’s got so many close people (he’s) been through the battles with in there that I’m sure they and we felt for him. But he’s not looking for sympathy. Jimmy’s not like that.”
If left-hander Tim Berry pitches tonight, he will become the lowest-drafted player (50th) in club history to play in the majors with the Orioles. Infielder Calvin Pickering was a 35th-round in 1995.
Berry is wearing No. 34, but he probably won’t have it for long.
“If everything goes well tonight, he’ll go back after the game,” Showalter said. “He has been and will be told that.”
The Orioles will have to make another roster move Sunday when they activate Tommy Hunter from the disabled list. Evan Meek, who’s contract was purchased today, may not stick around through the weekend. We’ll see.