Behind-the-Baseball-Scenes Stories & Other Random Links

The blog-O’s-sphere has the big stories – Tejada tipping pitches and dogging it against friends; Matusz showing polish – covered, which leaves some more obscure items left for this link rundown.

First, a couple of behind-the-baseball-scenes stories.

MediaLife addresses the benefits and drawbacks of advertising behind home plate at baseball games.

The upside: local broadcasts place your ads in both markets and on highlight shows. The downside: national broadcasts – including the playoffs and World Series – use digitally inserted ads.

In a typical nine-inning game, there are 18 advertising units available behind home plate, one for each half-inning. So one advertiser will be seen during the bottom of the first inning, then the sign will scroll to a new advertiser for the top of the first, and so on.

Most behind-the-plate ads are sold on a season-long basis for a flat rate, usually as part of a package that includes other stadium advertising. Pricing begins in the low six figures for a full season. The advertiser’s message will rotate to different innings throughout the season.

But sometimes advertisers can come in for shorter periods, such as a half season or a month, when inventory is available.

For example, 56.1 percent of Baltimore Orioles fans are male, and 19 percent more likely to have an annual household income between $150,000 and $249,999 than the average Baltimore resident.

Don’t know about you, but I’ve always found the digitally inserted ads distracting.

Vice President Joe Biden attended the Little League World Series on Sunday. Hopefully he had better protection than he did in Baltimore on Opening Day.

A new book questions post-9/11 changes to the Secret Service and uses Biden’s trip to Camden Yards to throw out the season’s first pitch as an example of failed security.

The day U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden threw out the Opening Day first pitch at Baltimore’s Camden Yards was a good one.

The rain held off for Biden’s trip to the mound, his pitch made it over the plate and the bottom-dwelling Baltimore Orioles managed to beat the New York Yankees.

But investigative journalist Ronald Kessler says it could have been much worse.

The vice-president was on the pitcher’s mound without a bulletproof vest, none of the announced 48,607 fans had been screened by metal detectors and everybody knew Biden was going to be at the game.

In a new book, Kessler says it was some of Biden’s senior advisers who made the decision “overruling stunned agents,” which left the number-two U.S. politician “vulnerable to assassination.”

Perhaps Kevin Cowherd can find a way to tear into Orioles fans for this Opening Day story as well.

There’s only a very loose Orioles connection to this next item, but it’s a fun look at the minor leagues with a heartwarming twist.

Eric Vanderwerken, a 39-year old man with Asperger’s syndrome, operates the scoreboard at LaGrave Field for the American Association Forth Worth Cats. Particularly memorable among his baseball experiences was attending a Fergie Jenkins – Jim Palmer pitching match-up as a child.

When the game began, this outgoing, sweet-natured man born with a mild form of autism rocked gently from side to side and began announcing the action — “Thuh pitch. Striiiike one!” he said to himself — the joy of a boy lighting his face and filling his happy heart.

“This,” Eric said proudly, loudly, “is the greatest job I’ve ever had.”

Vanderwerken is paid $25 each home game to hang numerals on the big green scoreboard.

During a pitching duel the parallel rows of white zeroes resemble a necklace, a double strand of pearls. On nights like this one, when bats come alive and runners circle the bases, Vanderwerken stays busy, continually updating the line score, recording each hit, each error, totaling each run scored.

Another story with a loose Orioles connection, this one about a California man who’s trying to revive interest in the Pacific Coast League, where his deceased father played in the late-’40s and early ’50s.

The alumni of the Oakland Oaks recently gathered in the East Bay, not far from where they played ball before cheering crowds more than a half-century ago when the Pacific Coast League made heroes of factory workers. Fewer and fewer of the “Iron Men” of the PCL attend the annual reunion each year, but the memories live on.

Michael West remembers going to the ballpark with his father, but he didn’t realize until recently how big a role baseball played in his father’s life.

Michael West is hoping to revive interest in the glory days of minor league baseball in the Bay Area and, perhaps, gain some recognition for his father’s accomplishments.

“He was a hall of famer to me,”Michael West said of his dad.

Oscar West, a graduate of Vallejo College, spent time with the Oakland Oaks and Sacramento Solons during spring training in the late ’40s and early ’50s. He even received invitations from the Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds.

Finally, a former O’s prospect is still giving it a go: Richard Salazar has signed with the San Angelos Colts.

In Salazar’s 2009 campaign, the southpaw has collected a 5-1 record, with an impressive 3.16 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .256 against the Left hander.

The Venezuelan native is in his eighth year of professional baseball. Salazar’s career began in 2001 when he was selected in the 13th round by the Baltimore Orioles. Within the Orioles organization, Salazar reached as high as triple-A in 2007. The lefty’s career mark is 21-16, with a 3.75 earned run average.

Colts general manager Mike Babcock spoke with an American Association GM that said, “Richard Salazar was the top left-handed pitcher in the AA.”

Salazar, a 2001 Birds draftee, topped out at Norfolk in 2007 where he appeared in eight games and tallied a 1-0 record and an 11.74 ERA.


About mptaylor11

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