Overhauled Baysox lose speed but look to turn up the power Slugging club may reset league attendance mark

Minor League

April 04, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

BOWIE -- More sluggers. More fans. And perhaps more victories on the field.

That is the preseason forecast for the Double-A Bowie Baysox, who enter their second full season at Prince George's Stadium already established as a minor-league success story.

The Orioles' affiliate fell just short of drawing 500,000 customers to their showplace in 1995, shattering the Eastern League record.

First-year general manager John Danos said sales for this season "have been fast and furious. We hope to top that attendance total, although this year we have a lot of April and May games, which leaves us a little more vulnerable to weather."

The fans who flock to Bowie should be treated to an interesting team, one entirely different from the 1995 edition that had to scratch for runs and underwent almost 100 personnel moves in the Orioles' season of flux.

Sixty-two different players wore the Baysox uniform in 1995, and only two who were in Bowie for more than half the season -- pitcher Matt Jarvis and infielder Jose Millares -- have returned.

"The whole deal is more power," said returning manager Bob Miscik. "We've got four or five guys with a chance to hit a lot out of the park. In spring training, they were outstanding. What that means, I don't know."

Bowie lost only twice in Florida with a lineup that includes outfielders Danny Clyburn -- voted the Orioles' outstanding minor-league position player of the spring -- Kevin Curtis and Harry Berrios, first baseman Tommy Davis and third baseman Willie Ontanez.

"We averaged six to seven runs a game," said Miscik. "We're going to be able to produce some scoring. This group can crank."

The absence of a true leadoff hitter will probably put Berrios -- the Orioles' minor-league player of the year in 1994 -- in that role.

And there isn't much speed on the roster so the Baysox figure to be like their parent club -- involved in a slugfest frenzy.

Elsewhere in the everyday lineup, Kris Gresham, who shifted from coast to coast twice as the organizational catcher last year, gets a chance to become a regular and Brent Bowers will be the center fielder to capitalize on his defense.

The pitching rotation is top-heavy with left-handers, including John O'Donoghue, who returns to the Orioles system to pitch the home opener Tuesday, and Shane Hale, who is trying to battle back from a history of arm problems at age 27.

Jarvis and Brian Brewer are also lefties with tomorrow's opening-night starter, Calvin Maduro, the only right-hander in the mix.

Carlos Chavez and veteran Chris Lemp share the closer's role.

The staff was weakened by the loss of one of the Orioles' leading prospects, Billy Percibal, who is out for the year with recurring elbow trouble.

"It's a rookie Double-A team, basically," said Miscik.

Physically, the stadium has undergone little change. The Baysox will open an exhibit today called "Rough Diamonds" to honor the mid-Atlantic Negro Leagues and sandlot heroes.

And, Danos said, "We are eagerly looking forward to the new parking lot behind the left-center-field fence. Parking remains a bit of a problem on days we have big crowds."

Pub Date: 4/04/96

Baysox at a glance

Stadium: Prince George's Stadium

Directions: From Baltimore, take I-97 south to state Route 3 south toward Bowie. Less than a mile past the interchange of routes 50 and 301, turn left, following signs for stadium.

League: Eastern, Double-A

Record last year: 68-74, third in Southern Division

Manager: Bob Miscik, second season

General manager: John Danos

Affiliation: Orioles

Game times: Monday through Saturday, 7: 05 p.m.; Sundays and Labor Day, Sept. 2, 2: 05 p.m.

Ticket prices: Field box, $9; Box seats, $7; Adult general admission, $5; Youths (6 to 12), senior citizens (over 60) and military personnel general admission, $3; Children 5 and under and youth athletes in uniform, free.

Radio: WMJS (92.7 FM), all games; WNAV (1430 AM), all Sunday games.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.