Familiar Faces in Bowie

O’s from the past and of the future take the field for the Baysox

By Matthew Taylor

“If you don’t see a birth certificate and you just watch Alan Mills out here pitching and running around and playing the game with the guys, he just looks like one of them. That’s a pretty big compliment to him, because for where he’s been and what’s he’s experienced, to come back with the energy that he’s come back with is a real credit to the type of person he is.”
-Erie Seawolves pitching coach A.J. Sager

My reaction in the bottom of the ninth inning of last night’s Bowie Baysox game was the same one most O’s fans would have while watching the visiting pitcher with the familiar-sounding name warm up: “Is that THE Alan Mills?”

A quick flip through the Baysox game day program suggested that the pitcher wearing a number, 39, smaller than his age, 40, could indeed be the former O’s reliever famous for cold-cocking Daryl Strawberry in the Yankees dugout during the Armando Benitez-induced Bronx brawl in 1998. And indeed it was, as confirmed in the appropriately headlined Record-Journal article, “Is it really THAT Alan Mills?”

Mills has recorded 22 saves this season with the Erie SeaWolves, the Detroit Tigers’ Double-A affiliate, with 21 strikeouts in 26.1 innings pitched and a 1.71 ERA. He wasn’t particularly sharp during Thursday night’s match-up with the Baysox, allowing three hits and one run, but he pinned down the 4-2 victory by striking out pinch-hitter Morgan Clendenin, who represented the winning run.

According to the Record-Journal, Mills is cryptic about his reasons for returning to baseball after five years away from the game, stating, “I’ll talk about the team, but I don’t want to talk about myself.”

Mills was the oldest player at Prince George’s Stadium by more than a decade. Meanwhile, Erie manager Matt Walbeck is three years younger than Mills.

Quick hits: Kud-O’s to Baysox GM Brian Shallcross for upholding Minor League Baseball’s fan-friendly reputation. After a bizarre infestation of flying ants at Prince George’s Stadium threatened to make it a very short night at the ballpark for my wife and me, Shallcross kindly relocated us to the club’s luxury box seating. The experience helped lift our spirits, especially after we missed out on the Nick Markakis bobblehead giveaway.

-Other familiar O’s faces at the ballpark on Thursday night included Baysox pitching coach and Oriole legend Scott McGregor; recent Miguel Tejada replacement, shortstop Luis Hernandez; and 2006 call-up, centerfielder Jeff Fiorentino.

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About mptaylor11

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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