Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
Sports Blitz
News and analysis on the Ravens, Orioles, Terps and more
New Oriole Travis Snider's biggest fan learned of trade from across the world

The Orioles gained a left-handed hitting outfielder with a funny Twitter handle when they acquired former Pirates outfielder Travis Snider this week.

An 8-year-old boy in Thailand via Pittsburgh lost his hero, and his dad wrote about it in a way that will make Orioles fans realize Snider is more than just a ballplayer.

Ted Anthony, an Associated Press news director based in Bangkok, wrote on Medium about how his son took a shining to Snider several years ago after he did what young children do and predicted a grand slam late in a game. Snider actually came through.

The young boy, Wyatt, stood up at the Pirates’ version of Fanfest last winter and grilled the front office about its plans for Snider.

He drew pictures of him, got an authentic Snider jersey and met Snider at PNC Park earlier this season.

He carried his fandom to Thailand, where Anthony and his older son had to break the news of Snider’s trade to his biggest fan.

Social media has had a way of rewarding such honesty when it...

Read more
Game-worn Johnny Unitas jersey could get between $50,000-$100,000 at Super Bowl auction

A game-worn Johnny Unitas jersey from the 1967 season is a last-minute addition to a Super Bowl week auction in Phoenix, Ariz., and is expected to sell for anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000. 

The auctioneer, Hunt Auctions, said the jersey was given to the consigner's family by then-Colts equipment manager Fred Schubach in the Memorial Stadium locker room in 1968. 

The jersey was framed and hung in the consigner's family home, and a photograph of it was featured in a 1978 issue of Sun Magazine.

Unitas, the longtime Baltimore Colts star, earned national renown for his role in the 1958 NFL Championship game, the precursor to the Super Bowl at which his game-worn jersey will be sold.

According to the listing, the jersey "rates as one of only a scant few documented Unitas game jerseys to have entered the marketplace. Museum quality and categorically one of the finest examples in private hands."

Bids can be placed online

Read more
Orioles' one-batter bullpen usage not among league's highest

With spring training just a few weeks away, the onslaught of ideas on how to make this baseball season better has begun.

The baseball Twitter community is buzzing about a proposal, which FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported was floated by Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein this fall, one that suggests relief pitchers should required to face more than one batter in a game.

That would all but eliminate the hyper-specialization of bullpen arms that Tony La Russa introduced nearly a quarter century ago. And it would produce the two-fold result of more offense (with less specialists brought in for a single batter) and a faster pace of play a bit by theoretically reducing the number of pitching changes and mound visits.

The proposal is getting good early reviews by fans and analysts, and based on how the Orioles have used relievers in the past few years, it might even get support here.

Even with his (deserved) reputation as a master strategist, Orioles manager Buck Showalter wouldn’t be...

Read more
Cal Ripken Jr. surprised Pocomoke High students who campaigned for him to speak at graduation

During the Orioles' playoff run in October, students at Pocomoke High School in Worcester County launched a #WeWantCal social media campaign to get Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. as their 2015 graduation speaker.

They posted Vine videos of themselves with Ripken’s iconic No. 8, tweeted at local and national media outlets to gain attention for the campaign and formed themselves in a giant “8” at midfield of their soccer field to show their commitment.

The efforts got on Ripken’s radar, and though a scheduling conflict kept him away from commencement this spring, Ripken paid the 340-student school a visit Wednesday.

The Ripken Baseball twitter account was providing updates of the event, which appeared to include a meet-and-greet with Ripken and a question-and-answer session.

Principal Annette Wallace tweeted that it was the “coolest day ever.”

I bet her students agree.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jonmeoli

Read more
John Harbaugh was top choice for Super Bowl coverage, NBC executive says

When NBC Sports executives began planning their Super Bowl XLIX pregame show before the season even began, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was their top choice as a guest analyst.

It turns out the Ravens’ 35-31 AFC divisional round loss to the New England Patriots was NBC’s, and the Super Bowl viewers’ gain.

“John Harbaugh was our target from before the season began because he’s got Super Bowl experience, and he is an engaging personality,” NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood said on a conference call Wednesday. “It’s an easy selection. After they got knocked out in the divisional round, that was our first thought, to reach out to John.

“Obviously, having just played the Patriots three weeks prior, it gives us an incredible insight on this team and in this time frame,” Flood added. “There’s a real relevance to this, and that’s why we think it’s an extra-good add to the team.”

Flood said Harbaugh will be part of several aspects of the show, including segments with host Bob Costas and the...

Read more
ESPN, Pro Football Focus study says Ravens' roster among NFL's best

While the two lucky teams who actually made the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, prepare for the game Sunday, a recent analysis shows just how close the Ravens’ roster was to carrying them that far.

ESPN and Pro Football Focus collaborated on a study that found the Ravens were among the closest teams, in terms of number of above-average players, to making the Super Bowl. The study found that Super Bowl teams have an average of 40 percent of above-average players among their top contributors, and the Ravens who finished with a 10-6 record, had just more than 36 percent of their players rated that highly.

The Dallas Cowboys had the requisite amount of players, while the Ravens, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles are all tied at two players away from a Super Bowl-caliber roster. That’s not terrible company to be in.

It’s a neat exercise by those involved, and features much more in-depth analysis than what can be provided here, but the...

Read more
Loading