by Matthew Taylor
The Birds are in the thick of the not-as-interesting-now-that-the-novelty-has-worn-off Interleague portion of the schedule, which means two things: 1. Three straight promotional nights at Camden Yards, and 2. A search for interesting storylines between two teams with little shared history.
The most obvious storyline for Houston’s visit to town is, of course, Miguel Tejada’s return to Baltimore. Cheer? Boo? Who cares? What I want to know is why the O’s aren’t giving away Glenn Davis bobbleheads, or at least letting the guy toss a first pitch. You wanna talk history? That’s shared history.
Strap on your Steve Finley, Pete Harnisch, and Curt Schilling throwback jerseys, O’s fans, as Roar from 34 takes a look at what’s being said about the other, more popular storyline that’s dominating the headlines for this series.
Tejada makes his first trip back to Camden Yards on Tuesday night when the Astros try to snap a season high-tying five-game skid in a matchup with his former club.
Tejada signed a six-year, $72 million contract with Baltimore in December 2003, and the Orioles hoped he would spark a turnaround for a franchise that had suffered through six straight losing seasons. In his four years with the team, however, Tejada failed to help end that streak, and the Orioles sent the four-time All-Star to Houston for five players during the offseason.
”I feel very happy with this trade, because it’s something that I’ve been really looking forward to,” Tejada said at the time.
Eleven weeks into the 2008 season, however, Tejada still isn’t playing for a winner. The Astros (33-37) have lost 14 of 17, including five in a row for the second time in that stretch.
The Orioles are back in action Tuesday after failing to complete a sweep of the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend.
The Orioles are back at the .500 mark and are in fourth place in the AL East after losing 5-4 on Sunday.
They’ll return to the field Tuesday for the first of three games against Houston.
It’s Houston’s first trip to Baltimore since the Orioles traded shortstop Miguel Tejada to Houston for five players, including outfielder Luke Scott and relievers Dennis Sarfate and Matt Albers.
Brian McTaggert of the Houston Chronicle reports that Miggi is looking forward to being back in Charm City.
“If I said no I’d be lying,” he said. “I really want to go back there and say hi to all my teammates and all the people I know over there and get a chance to play there again.”
And anticipating the fan reaction, “I always had a good relationship with the fans,” said Tejada, who remains under FBI investigation because of ties to performance-enhancing drugs. “They were like family there, and they liked the way I played. I hope they keep liking what I do.”
The Astros team site showed a bit more realistic expectation for Tejada’s welcome back to town understanding that he may not be greeted as a hero after all the whining and trade demands.
“I’m not really concerned with how [the fans] respect me,” Tejada said. “I don’t play for them anymore.”
“I think the best thing for the team was for me to go somewhere else and for the team to get what they got,” Tejada said. “They should be happy with what they got.”
But Tuesday’s primary Think Special is an obvious one.
Shortstop Miguel Tejada returns to Camden Yards Tuesday with the Houston Astros after four years as the Orioles’ best and most expensive player.
We’re having a cerveza special here at Connolly’s in honor of the old No. 10 in your scorebooks. Buy one Presidente beer at regular cost, get the next four for 10 cents each. Be warned, however, the fifth and sixth will cost you $24 million or five solid major leaguers/prospects.
Miggy is slated to meet the Baltimore press at 4:30 Tuesday, and I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. He’ll be soft-spoken and cordial, and he’ll talk about how he loved Baltimore and how he has no hard feelings toward the organization and the fans. He’ll then say he is an Astro now and couldn’t be happier being in Houston.
Tejada’s not the type to trash anyone – he’s too nice of a man. If he’s uncomfortable answering a pointed question, he’ll just shrug it away and look for something easier.
The interesting part will be how you, the fans, react to him. Will he be remembered as a team leader and tremendous talent, with a contagious smile and plenty of time for the fans? Or was he the most glaring example of a club that didn’t do things the right way and got paid handsomely to finish fourth?
Would you boo him? Or applaud him? Or offer no reaction at all?
Tomorrow night former Oriole Miguel Tejada makes his triumphant return to Charm City, his first appearance since being traded to the Astros this past winter. One would think that unlike his former teammate Erik Bedard, Miggi won’t be faking any injuries to get out of facing his old team.
Since his departure, Miggi has been through quite a bit. The tragedy of losing his brother in a motorcycle accident, his appearance in the Mitchell Report (and the subsequent federal investigation), and the revelation that he is actually two years older than he’d claimed his entire career.
Despite all that, Miggi has responded well to the change of scenery. He’s currently batting an even .300 with 9 HR, 41 RBI, and an OPS+ of 112. It’s not surprising, really. Though Miggi’s luster had faded a bit by his fourth year in Baltimore, he left us an above average player worn down by years of losing, unfulfilled promises, and clubhouse controversy.
Most of the Astros’ staff is pretty unfamiliar with the Orioles.
They last played the American League team in June 2005.
But if manager Cecil Cooper needs help preparing for the three-game road series in Baltimore on Tuesday, shortstop Miguel Tejada may be able to help
Tejada played in Baltimore for four years before being traded to Houston in December 2007. The trip will mark his first time in Maryland since his relocation.
The shortstop said he is eagerly anticipating the visit with old teammates and friends.
There has been a lot of discussion online about return of Miguel Tejada as the Houston Astros come into town Tuesday-Thursday at the Yard. Anyhow, he was signed to a monster deal in 2004 to a piece of the puzzle to vault the Orioles back into contention.
He had a career season in ‘04, driving in 150 runs and slamming 34 homers; however, in the years after, he was very productive, but did not come close to his numbers the first year in an Oriole uniform.
Let’s fast forward to 2008 — he’s now two years older than originally thought; he’s gotten slower, and has been ensnared into the whole Mitchell Report mess.
All that above is the least of his problems.
He could be indicted for apparently lying to the Feds about his involvement in the Rafael Palmeiro affair, as well as his alleged drug use.
When he was with the Orioles, he was the offense force, but yet also perhaps was a detriment to the team through his constant trade demands, whining, also earned the ire of fans based on his play at shortstop — which had started to decline in his tenure with the Orioles.
One more question, do we cheer or boo him?
[Image source: New York Daily News. Click photo for original.]