Before heading to the ballpark...

I just hope I can find my way. It's been a while. I might have to stop and ask for directions.

It's called Camden Yards, right?

I freaked out this morning when I pulled back the curtains in my bedroom and saw a bright light. It momentarily blinded me and forced me to shield my eyes. I hadn't seen anything like it. 

Turned out it was only the sun.  
I don’t often provide links to other blogs at my paper – it would take six months to recognize them all - but I’m making an exception so you can read Kevin Van Valkenburg’s moving tribute to a former co-worker, Chris Ewell, who passed away over the weekend. I had to wipe away a few tears by the time I reached the end. It’s beautifully written and truly captures the qualities that made Chris so special, including courage that, while facing his own mortality at such a young age, I can’t even begin to fathom.

It also makes me step back and appreciate all that God has given me, including my health, my loving and supportive parents and sister, wonderful friends who occasionally pick up a bar tab - though not nearly often enough - and a beautiful daughter who, though still unable to pick up the wet towels on her bedroom floor or take the six steps necessary to deposit her trash in the appropriate receptacle, remains my single greatest accomplishment.

Changing my blog photo would be No. 2.

For all the angst over the stretch of 17 road games in 20 days, the disappearing offense, Steve Trachsel’s early exits, Jamie Walker’s sudden vulnerability against left-handed batters, a thin bench and the nagging injuries, the Orioles are a .500 team on May 13 and only 3 1/3 games out of first place.

Raise your hand if you would have gladly settled for this back when we were dissecting the club over the winter.

Me, too.

Julio Lugo leads the majors with 11 errors. Jonathan Papelbon has blown two of his last three save opportunities.

The Orioles’ strategy should be obvious: hit a lot of ground balls to shortstop and don’t fall behind by more than three runs going into the ninth inning.

The Red Sox have activated first baseman Sean Casey from the disabled list and designated reliever Julian Tavarez for assignment – giving him the chance to go elsewhere and disappoint his ninth organization.

Said Red Sox manager Terry Francona: “We thought we can win more games with other pitchers.”

True. And three of them currently have mothers who pass out snacks after their games and car-pool their teammates back to their parents’ homes.

Single-A Frederick is 2-2 on its current road trip. The Keys have scored 19 runs in their two wins, and none in their two losses.

Brandon Erbe allowed six runs in five innings last night, leaving him 3-3 with a 5.53 ERA. He’s shown improvement over last season, but he’s still got a long way to go at age 20.
He also illustrates just how advanced Chris Tillman is by comparison. Tillman turned 20 last month and is 3-0 with a 2.87 ERA in seven starts at Double-A Bowie. He allowed one hit over six innings in his last start.

Hopefully, they’ll both be in the Orioles' rotation in a few years, along with Troy Patton and Matt Albers. And Radhames Liz and Hayden Penn. And Jake Arrieta and Tim Bascom. And Chorye Spoone and Pedro Beato. And David Hernandez and Brad Bergeson.

And we’ll still be debating whether the Orioles should trade Daniel Cabrera.

Scott Moore hit his second home run last night at Triple-A Norfolk. Oscar Salazar went 2-for-4 with a double and his fifth RBI. He’s batting .307.

Craig Anderson served up four home runs in 2 1/3 innings. He allowed nine runs (eight earned) and 10 hits, walked three and staggered away with his ERA at 10.13.

Bob McCrory, reminded what it’s like to pitch in a game, struck out two in a perfect inning. He threw 10 of 13 pitches for strikes.

That’s the guy we’re expecting to see the next time he’s in Baltimore.