Don’t be shocked if it’s a figment of someone’s imagination.
This doesn’t sound like Andy MacPhail’s kind of guy, but it’s worth looking into. Nothing surprises me anymore.
Yes, Howie Clark has resurfaced. He played for the Rochester Red Wings from 1998-2000 and again in 2002 while they served as the Orioles’ top affiliate. He’s going to be wearing their uniform again, unless he manages to make the Twins out of spring training.
It won’t be spring training for me without seeing Whiteside sitting at his locker on catchers row, his gray hair making him appear much older. He never had a shot at making the roster, and he symbolized the lack of catching talent in the system, because the Orioles didn’t have anyone considerably better in the minors before drafting Matt Wieters this year. (I don’t count Brandon Snyder, since he’s destined to be a corner infielder/DH).
Nice guy. Decent arm. That’s about it. But we’ll wish him luck in Rochester.
We braced for the worst. I remember telling an editor late that night, after The Sun’s deadline had passed, that I’d be writing an obit in the morning.
I had seen Bechler over the winter at a holiday gathering, and he teased me about carrying a beer in each hand. I explained that one of them belonged to a friend, but he wasn’t buying my story. We shook hands and spoke again on the first day that pitchers and catchers reported to camp. We already began to form a bond after the Orioles called him up to the majors, and it was getting stronger. I covered the minor leagues and had interviewed him in the past. He seemed comfortable with me. He was going to be one of my go-to guys, someone I’d look forward to seeing each year.
I never could accept that he was gone. It was all so sudden, so senseless, so tragic. And the memory still haunts me to this day – especially now.