The Orioles are in New York tonight to open a three-game series against the Yankees, but YES Network analyst Ken Singleton is vacationing with his family in Hawaii.
Singleton isn’t completely detached from the baseball world. For instance, he knew that right fielder Nick Markakis recently passed him on the Orioles’ all-time hits list.
Markakis needs 115 more hits to tie Boog Powell for sixth place.
“I did see it,” Singleton said in a phone interview while, as he described it, gazing at the Pacific Ocean and the palm trees.
I mentioned how I was inside Tropicana Field. He won.
“I had my iPad here and had MLB. I wasn’t watching the game, but I saw it on the archive,” Singleton said.
“He’s been a great player for a long time, and congratulations to him, first of all. The fact that he’s been so consistent, I think that’s one of the things I admire about him. He’s been a very consistent player and certainly somebody who’s been good in the community. I think that’s important, too. I just hope he stays with the Orioles for the remainder of his career.”
We’ll see. There’s the $17.5 million option for 2015 and a couple of ways it could play out.
Anyway, Singleton averaged 145 games per season during his 10 years with the Orioles, and that includes only 103 during the strike-shortened 1981 season and 111 in 1984. He can appreciate Markakis’ “ability to stay in the lineup.”
“I know he’s had a few injuries the last few years that kept out of the lineup, but he’s been very consistent for the Orioles and done everything they’ve asked him to do,” Singleton said. “Bat second, third, fourth and now in the leadoff spot. I think he’s done a good job there, too, to set the table for the other guys.
“The Orioles are one of the most consistent run-scoring teams in the league and I think he has a lot to do with it.”
I brought up the option on Markakis’ contract and how much he’d be worth on the open market.
“I also think one thing the Orioles have to keep in mind is he’s been a lifelong Oriole,” said Singleton, who finished third in Most Valuable Player voting in the American League in 1977 and second in 1979. “An original draft pick of the Orioles, developed by the Orioles, a fan favorite, somebody they’ve been able to count on.
“I know that’s a lot of scratch, that’s a lot of money, but in this day and age, everybody makes that sort of thing. Mediocre players make that and he’s way above that. And when you move up to sixth place with the Orioles, I know the guys ahead of him are a little ways off, but it still shows the value he has to the Orioles over the years.”