April 30, 2005

Orioles will continue to surprise the critics

The national media (and most of the local media, as well) did not give the Orioles much of a preseason vote of confidence. That's probably fine with the assemblage of players in orange and black this season.

The New York Yankees' starters are in virtual disrepair, with Kevin Brown's back a continuing problem, Mike Mussina still seeking a 20-win season and a championship ring, and Mariano Rivera proving that he is human, after all.

The Boston Red Sox have their share of dubious pitching, as well. With David Wells going on the disabled list, the pressure is on Matt Clement and Bronson Arroyo. Closer Keith Foulke can't pop his fastball the way he did last season.

The Orioles, meanwhile, have a young and willing staff of starters who are mentored by the best pitching coach in the majors, Ray Miller. The bullpen may be the best in the American League this season.

And they have the Miguel Tejada factor. What the Orioles shortstop brings to the table isn't entirely describable, but whatever it is, it is proving to be contagious.

The Orioles will surprise many doubters by the close of this season.

Mr. Angelos, who would have thunk it? You're starting to look like a horsehide genius.

Patrick R. Lynch Parkville

Comments by Palmer are a serious offense

As a lifelong Orioles fan now living out of state, I was extremely disheartened and offended by recent comments made by Jim Palmer.

In a recent ESPN segment focusing on the "fan rivalry" between the Nationals and the Orioles, Palmer essentially insulted fans and the Orioles organization. One fan featured in the segment went to a Nationals game and an Orioles game in one day, and when interviewed by ESPN about this, Palmer said the fan should "get a life."

Palmer then went on to say, "I'm only here because they pay me." This was most upsetting, and I hope something is done about this.

No one representing the Orioles should speak this way about fans and their love of the game. If Mr. Palmer feels this way, perhaps he should step down from the organization.

Palmer should not only apologize for this statement immediately (to the fan personally and to all baseball fans), but he also should be reprimanded or possibly fired. I will never respect Palmer again.

Lena Hendrickson Tampa, Fla.

Angelos' TV moves depriving fans in D.C.

Peter Angelos has crossed the line. It is understandable that the owner of the Orioles would not want a rival team to be just down Interstate 95. Nevertheless, after years of fighting for the eighth-largest and one of the fastest-growing markets in the nation, Washington was granted a much-deserved baseball team.

In Baltimore, we all knew the pain of being without a football team and became elated when the Ravens arrived.

Angelos, however, has deprived Washingtonians of this joy by not allowing Nationals games to be televised. Only a man who cares more about money than people would deprive a region of the sport it loves.

Brandon Hammer Clarksville

Let's hope Ponson keeps competitive edge

There has been a lot of news lately concerning Sidney Ponson's off-the-field problems. Rightly so.

Ponson reminds me so much of former Oriole Ben McDonald - a very talented pitcher but without the drive to be the best that he can be.

Some players get their big payday and lose their competitive drive to excel.

I really hope that Ponson will get that drive back and give the Orioles their money's worth.

Judging by his start on Sunday, he might be on his way to maturing and excelling as an Oriole. Time will tell, though.

Phil Bauer Bel Air

Coverage of Nationals is the right thing to do

The Sun is taking the right approach by including more in-depth coverage of the Washington Nationals. As a baseball fan, I welcome it, but I also think it's appropriate, given the proximity of Washington and Baltimore.

The Sun has provided similar coverage for the Washington Redskins, so I'm not sure why the newspaper's Nationals articles are resulting in so much debate in the letters column. AFC and NFC, American League and National League - it seems like the best of all worlds.

Tom Shumaker Parkton

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