O's hopefuls try to beat the clock 20-somethings vie with teens at tryout


June 27, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

A lot of familiar faces from years past, still glowing with hope, showed up Friday morning at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans for a Baltimore Orioles tryout camp.

Under the direction of Orioles scout Jim Gilbert and his son, Tom, the camp for 16- to 22-year-olds drew about 150. For most of the group, the future is now and time is not standing still.

"It's a very good turnout and going to these camps is one of the best things a kid can do because we get to see kids who could be follows for next year," said Jim Gilbert.

"It's rare that we sign a kid out of one of these camps, but we often see kids we want to see again during the summer and the following spring."

Time, but not hope, is running out on several of the players who showed up Friday.

Getting up there in age are former All-County players such as Don Shump and Andy Srebroski of Northeast; Zach Collins (Arundel); Jason Sigler (Broadneck); Kevin Alarie (Annapolis); and Andy Young (Meade).

It sounds funny, but in baseball when you get into your 20s and have yet to play pro ball, time is gaining on you.

"I'm still hoping somebody will give me a shot," said Sigler, a lTC fleet-footed outfielder who starred at Broadneck and Anne Arundel Community College and has two years of college eligibility left.

"This is the first camp I've attended this summer and I intend to go to a few more. I've also been talking to UMBC about playing there next year."

Sigler knows that at 22 his chances are slim despite his ability to run very well, show a good arm and hit the baseball. His problem is having to do the basics considerably better than those who are younger.

The scouts are more interested in high school sophomores and juniors who have yet to reach their peak. Those in their 20s may, in the eyes of the scouts, be as good as they're going to get.

After filling out registration cards, the players are clocked in the 60-yard --. Times over seven seconds don't appeal to the scouts unless a player has other talents, such as a lot of pop in his bat.

Sigler ran 6.8 seconds, which is good, but he says he can run better.

"That's something I've got to work on and will this summer," said Sigler, who is playing with Roland Lowman's Arundel A.C. unlimited team.

Shump and Srebroski still swing the bat well and they, too, have continued playing and are teammates of Sigler's on the Arundel A.C.

Shump, an All-County third baseman for the 1991 national champion (24-0) Northeast High team, has moved to first base. He played very well there Friday and is talking about playing at Essex CC this fall.

After setting county and state records for career RBI (81), Shump was drafted by the Houston Astros in the late rounds in June 1991. He entered Anne Arundel CC hoping to sign with the Astros before the June 1992 draft, but he struggled academically.

Shump tried again last fall with the same result and really jeopardized his shot at pro ball. The scouts would have liked to have seen him play in the spring, but Shump was never eligible.

Billy Buck of Alexandria, Va., the Astros' scout who drafted Shump, had intended to sign him but it never materialized and Shump is still hoping.

Srebroski, an All-County and All-Metro shortstop at Northeast in 1990 when he set county and state records for hits (47) in a single season, played at Anne Arundel CC and just completed his junior year at the University of West Virginia.

Collins, an All-County left-hander as a junior in 1991 when he went 8-1 and pitched Arundel to the state 4A title, experienced personal problems his senior year and never played.

"I've got everything straightened out now and am living with my dad in Bowie," said Collins, who threw the ball well in the camp Friday.

Alarie pitched Annapolis to its first and only state 4A baseball championship in 1988, going 11-3 (including all four wins in postseason), and moved on to UMBC. This spring, the right-hander finished his collegiate career with the Retrievers after undergoing an arm operation.

"My arm feels great and I'm throwing well right now," said Alarie, another 22-year-old keeping the hope alive.

Young, a 6-foot-6 right-hander from Meade and Anne Arundel CC, also is playing this summer with Arundel A.C. as a 21-year-old yearning for that one chance at pro baseball.

Another chance to impress the Orioles scouts comes at 9 a.m. Saturday at Grove Stadium in Frederick. And yes, some of that old gang will make the trip up Interstate 70 to chase a dream.

When you've played as long and as hard as they have, it's pretty hard to say it's over.

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