Give Martinez, Hulett a chance
I'm tickled to death about the Orioles success this year. However, I cannot help but feel bad about two Orioles who have gotten a raw deal -- Chito Martinez and Tim Hulett (who should be given a chance at second base).
Quite simply, Hulett is overall as good as, if not better than, any other Orioles second baseman; but no one would ever know this because every night Hulett has a reserved seat on the bench. The knock on Hulett is that he is somewhat of a defensive liability, but how would anyone know? Hulett never gets a chance to show what he can do, at least at second base. The few times I've seen Hulett perform at second, he has handled himself extremely well. He's quick, has a good glove and has a strong arm. And there is no doubt he is a better hitter than Mark McLemore or Bill Ripken. Hulett has hit as many as 17 home runs in one season. Can McLemore or Bill Ripken say that?
The lack of playing time for Chito Martinez is an even bigger mistake. During spring training, I couldn't wait to see the numbers Martinez would put up during an entire season. Well here it is July, and I'm still waiting. Martinez has proved he can play in the major leagues, yet every night Joe Orsulak starts in right field.
Nothing against Orsulak, but we know what he's capable of -- a batting average around .280 with little or no power or speed and at best he's slightly above average defensively. Nobody knows what Martinez is capable of. Martinez deserves a chance to sink or swim.
Soccer doesn't mean violence
During the past few weeks, I have been looking in The Sun for results from the European soccer championship that was played in Sweden. I wasn't terribly disappointed nor surprised that there was none since I understand that very few Baltimoreans are interested. What is a problem, however, is that when there is some bit of international soccer news reported, it is almost inevitably related to violence. This was the case with the first mention of the European championships in The Sun.
I won't deny that soccer has a serious problem with crowd violence or that The Sun has a right to report it. Reporting on only those games that involve crowd violence gives the impression that there is something inherent in soccer that fosters that violence and that most soccer games involve violence. What I would like to see is a bit more reporting of international soccer when violence is not involved. (Thankfully, a nice article was included in The Sun that reported Denmark's victory in the final, sans violence.)
Every weekend, for usually nine months of the year, fans throughout most of the world attend an enormous number of soccer games without incident. In England alone, there are about 40 professional league matches played each weekend. In addition, each country concurrently conducts single-elimination cup competitions that are usually played midweek and last until the end of the season. Multiplied by the vast majority of nations that have professional leagues, it is apparent that violence mars only a small minority of soccer matches.
Neil S. Gittings
Yer out of this world!
On June 26, I was one of 45,000 fans at Camden Yards. We saw a great ballgame as the Orioles won, 6-5, over the Royals.
I was seated in the third row about 50 feet past first base. In the middle of the sixth inning, Ken Kaiser, the first-base umpire, began walking directly at us. As he got 10 feet from the railing he pointed to a boy, about 8 years old, sitting behind me, and signaled him to meet him at the front row. The boy, and all of us there, did not know what to expect.
Suddenly, Kaiser produced a baseball and presented it to the surprised lad. The child returned to his seat with a smile that looked like Christmas morning. Kaiser was an instant hero to all ++ the kids around him, and his parents, also, were quite happy with what had just taken place. After the last out was made, Kaiser returned to our area, once again found the boy, and autographed the ball.
Sometimes we forget that without officials the game could not be played. And, sometimes, we also forget that umpires are just as human as we are.
Relief for the 'blown save'
"It goes in the book as a blown save. . . ." So began the article in The Sun on July 6, in which Gregg Olson reacted to his relief performance the previous day when the Orioles had been stung the second time by a last-inning loss at Minnesota. The point Olson made in the article was that he pitched to Chuck Knoblauch exactly as he had hoped. The result was a potential (alas not realized) double-play ground ball. Had the Orioles executed that play they would have won the game, and Olson would have been credited with his 22nd save.