Here's why Double-A Bowie is giving away Jake Arrieta T-shirts

Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta warms up in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 4.
Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta warms up in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 4. (Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

The Double-A Bowie Baysox are a minor league baseball team, which means they hold giveaways, because people like free stuff. They opened this season with magnet schedules. The next night featured photos commemorating their 2015 Eastern League championship. In August, it's bobbleheads of Manny Machado-as-Minion.

On Sunday, Bowie is honoring another of its most high-profile alumni. He just happens not to play for the Orioles anymore.


Cue the faux outrage!

Arrieta started 11 games for the Baysox in 2009, going 6-3 with a 2.59 ERA before being promoted to Triple-A Norfolk and then to the majors in 2010. He was 20-25 in parts of four Orioles seasons, and his 5.46 ERA was, according to Sports Illustrated, the worst in franchise history (minimum 60 starts).

Now he's maybe the best pitcher in baseball, and the Orioles have a rotation of unremarkable arms, and the wounds are still fresh.

"I can understand where people are coming from," Baysox promotions manager Chris Rogers said Tuesday. "This wasn't meant to shock. This was meant as a celebration."

A celebration of Arrieta, the Baysox pitcher who made good in the majors.

Not necessarily of Arrieta, the Chicago Cubs beast and Orioles bust.

"Obviously, doing what he did last year, he's there in the news and we're ultimately trying to get butts in the seats and trying to get people to see what we were doing last year," Rogers said.

Bowie's connections to its pros are not severed when Peter Angelos stops signing their checks. In the Prince George's Stadium concourse, Rogers pointed out, are banners recognizing former Baysox greats.

There's one for Manny Machado, Matt Wieters and ... Jayson Werth, among others. Werth, a former first-round draft pick of the Orioles, even got a Bowie bobblehead giveaway during his first season with the Washington Nationals.

"For us, it's trying to find the guys that our guys identify with and remember fondly and try to get them to come back and participate in the nostalgia," Rogers said. He added: "It's just a matter of us celebrating alumni that have gone on to good things."

Most of the time, Rogers said, those alumni are Orioles. And when they're not, well, you can't do much better than the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner.

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