In looking back at the last week of stories here, we discussed a few interesting topics. Today we present a few of these for further discussion.
* They included the Single-A Frederick Keys being named as one of 42 minor league teams that could lose their big league affiliations. The Keys have been an O’s affiliate since 1989 and they do quite well at the gate. Frederick has ranked first or second in Carolina League attendance the last eight years.
MASNsports.com interviewed Frederick owner Ken Young, who owns five minor league clubs, including the O’s Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk clubs.
“First of all, I do need to preface it with this is a wish list of Major League Baseball, supposedly - but we don’t know this for sure - from the commissioner’s office,” Young said. “And any teams on there, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the end.
“However, I will tell you, Frederick is a great baseball city. It has a good history. I would think that the Orioles would still want to be there. So I was extremely surprised when I saw Frederick on the list. Now that doesn’t mean to me that Frederick stays on the list. But I was extremely surprised that Frederick was on the list.
“I do think it’s really a bogus thing having Frederick on there. Great city. Great baseball city and it’s obviously very close to Baltimore.”
* We recently discussed O’s right-hander Asher Wojciechowski in this space. Last season, he went 4-8 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.312 WHIP. Over 82 1/3 innings, he allowed 80 hits, including 17 homers. He walked 28 batters and recorded 80 strikeouts.
He did a solid job after the Orioles acquired him July 1 from Cleveland for cash considerations. He had played for the Orioles at the Triple-A level in 2018, but the club released him when he took an opt-out that July.
The Orioles were the sixth organization for the well-traveled Wojciechowski when they first added him, following time with Toronto, Miami, Houston, Arizona and Cincinnati. After he left the Orioles in 2018, he played with the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland.
What keeps him going after all that?
“Honestly, I think it’s my love for the game,” he said. “I love to play baseball. It gets tough when you change organizations and each time you think that will be the one and you’ll have a long career. But, you know, as long as I am able to play this game at the highest level and still love the game, I’m going to keep on doing it.”
Mountcastle was an easy addition after a season when he was named both International League Most Valuable Player and the Orioles’ Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year.
Drafted 36th overall out of a Florida high school in 2015, Mountcastle hit .312/.344/.527 with an .871 OPS in his first season at Triple-A Norfolk. He added 35 doubles, one triple, 25 homers, 81 runs and 83 RBIs. Veteran O’s minor league skipper Gary Kendall was his manager this season at Norfolk.
Said Kendall: “He’s very confident in what he does and his approach. But he’s a very humble young man that was raised really, really well. I just saw tremendous growth in him this year. How he handled everything, hit in the middle of the lineup, what kind of teammate he was. Just a real special kid that had a real special year.”
Any comments today about the Frederick Keys, Wojciechowski or Mountcastle are welcome. Or bring up your own topic and/or question for the board to present some O’s takes.
We lost a real pro and friend: Gregg Mace, who served as WHTM-TV/ABC27′s sports director in Harrisburg, Pa., for nearly four decades, died Saturday, according to his son, Kyle Mace. On Friday, Gregg’s son said the sportscaster had been off the air for a number of weeks due to an unspecified medical condition. Mace was a Baltimore native and had covered 54 straight Orioles opening day games.
I pass along my condolences to Gregg’s family and many friends and fans. He was a real pro and a true gentleman. I had just seen him last in September during the Eastern League playoffs. I’ll remember him as a classy gentleman who was always smiling and who loved his job.
With grace and dignity, my father has left us to be with the Lord today. He was surrounded by family and friends that love him. We thank you all for your support, and ask for our privacy at this time. pic.twitter.com/nIUIyAf6TA-- Kyle Mace (@kylemace) November 23, 2019