A few Sunday news items and notes:
* The Orioles sure didn’t seem to have any interest in outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who agreed to a one-year deal worth a base salary of $2 million with the Miami Marlins.
Perhaps there was good reason for the lack of interest, starting with the fact that Ichiro is now 41 and his best days are well in the past.
Maybe if the Orioles were out to just “do something” as some fans say, they could have made a play for Ichiro, who has 2,844 career hits. Between Japan and the majors he has 4,122 hits and that is 134 fewer than big league all-time hits leader Pete Rose, who had 4,256 hits.
Last season in 143 games with the Yankees, Ichiro had a .284/.324/.340 slash line with a .664 OPS. In 359 at-bats, he had just 13 doubles, two triples and one homer.
While he did hit .284 and probably could still bring some solid defense at his age, the Orioles were right to pass here, even at the low price.
There are plenty of reasons to respect Ichiro and his career. But for the Orioles right now, better to see what some of their own talent can do rather than hope to recapture some past glory from someone that is now 41.
* The Orioles’ Triple-A Norfolk affiliate announced Friday that it’ll play an exhibition game with the Norfolk State University Spartans. The game will be played at Harbor Park on Tuesday, April 7 at 5:45 p.m.
Advanced tickets for the seven-inning contest can be purchased through Norfolk State University, while fans can purchase tickets on the day of the game at Harbor Park. All seats are general admission with ticket prices $7 for adults and $5 for children.
The exhibition contest will be the fifth in the last six seasons between the Tides and Spartans, who are a member of the MEAC conference. All ticket proceeds from the contest benefit the Norfolk State University baseball program. The previous four contests between the teams have drawn 31,379 fans while averaging 7,845 a game.
The Tides open their 2015 season with a nine-game road trip beginning April 9, with the home opener slated for Saturday, April 18 against Durham at 7:05 p.m. For ticket info, fans can log on to norfolktides.com or call 757-622-2222.
* Outgoing Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement regarding the passing of Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, who was 83:
“Ernie Banks was synonymous with a childlike enthusiasm for baseball. It was not just great talent, but also his relentless spirit of optimism that made him a back-to-back National League MVP, a Hall of Famer, a member of our All-Century Team, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and, indeed, forever ‘Mr. Cub.’ His joyous outlook will never be forgotten by fans of the Cubs and all those who love baseball.
“On a day when I finish my duties as the commissioner of America’s national pastime, I know well that Ernie was one of the special individuals who embodied its goodwill all his life. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Ernie’s family, friends, Cubs fans and his countless admirers throughout our game.”
By the way, Selig’s 22-year plus run as commissioner ended officially yesterday and now Rob Manfred takes over.
* It has been interesting to read the many comments the last few weeks and it has been a mixed bag. Some fans seem upset, almost distraught, that the club has not replaced Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis and Andrew Miller.
Others feel the returning injured players and others will pick up the slack and don’t see the situation in the same light.
The Orioles are not facing any deadline here. They can add players up to and through spring training. They can make in-season trades if they see a need.
Three key free agents are gone and opinions vary widely on what that means to the 2015 Orioles. How do you see it?