The Bowie Baysox, the Orioles' Double-A affiliate in the Eastern League, open their season tonight in London, Ontario, and will play their home opener at Memorial Stadium on April 16. Here's a look at the team that will play its home games in Baltimore this season because its new stadium hasn't been built in Bowie.
Ticket prices Box seats: $7; Adult general admission: $5; Military, students $3; Over 60: $3; Children under 5: free. Call (410) 467-0101 or (800) 956-4004.
Tonight's projected starting lineup Brad Tyler, 2B; Jim Wawruck, LF; T. R. Lewis, DH; Jeffrey Hammonds, CF; Stanton Cameron, RF; Brent Miller, 1B; Tim Holland, SS; Sam Ferretti, 3B; Gregg Zaun, C; Jason Satre, P.
Don Buford, 56, began his managing career last season with the Hagerstown Suns, going 59-80. One of the best leadoff hitters in Orioles history, he was selected to the club's Hall of Fame this year. He averaged 81 runs, 13 homers, 50 RBI, 84 walks and 17 stolen bases from 1968 to 1972.
This spring In Florida, the Baysox (9-4) hit .308, averaged 5.4 runs and had a ERA.
Last year As the Hagerstown Suns, the team finished seventh in the eight-team Eastern League. Before the season, owner Peter Kirk announced he wanted to move the franchise, and average home attendance dropped to about 2,000.
The Baysox can only improve in this department. Injuries battered the staff, leaving only six healthy pitchers at one point, and only one of them, right-hander Jeff Williams, was available for the entire season.
One top prospect is left-hander Rick Krivda, the Oriole Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season (a combined 17-6 at Kane County and Frederick). l Tonight's starter against the London Tigers will be right-hander Jason Satre, acquired in a trade for Rodney Lofton from the Cincinnati Reds system. Satre pitched all last season at Double-A Chattanooga. The remainder of the rotation includes left-hander Terry Farrar and right-handers Kevin Ryan and highly touted Jose Mercedes.
Erik Schullstrom, reclaimed from San Diego on waivers, will start the year in the bullpen and Buford will use a committee to close games, including Rafael Chaves, who led the California League with 34 saves.
Playing at Memorial Stadium -- with its friendly dimensions for pull hitters -- will be a welcome change from Hagerstown's Municipal Stadium, where the Suns had just 11 home runs last year.
"The foul line is only 309 [at Memorial] and it's 360 straightaway," Buford said. "We'll be able to play more long ball." Leading the way will be Stanton Cameron, who had 29 home runs at Frederick and was named the organization's Minor League Player of the Year, No. 1 draft choice Jeffrey Hammonds, T. R. Lewis, Tim Holland and Brent Miller.
The Baysox should be strong up the middle. Rick Dempsey's nephew, Gregg Zaun, is the catcher, Hammonds roams center field and Tyler and Holland form the double-play combination. Holland's shift from third base to shortstop and Tyler's hitting (.405 average, 11 extra base hits) were big factors in the Baysox's 9-4 spring record, compiled mostly without Hammonds.
There is a big difference in Holland, tremendous improvement," Buford said. "He made all the plays in the hole and showed a