Welcome back IronBirds fans! As promised, today we wanted to put together a post to recap last night’s Hot Stove Dinner. It was a great evening and for everyone that did not make it last night, you really missed out.
First of all, it was great to have everyone back in the stadium. There is nothing like walking into a baseball stadium for the first time each year. Though it was a little chilly and no games were being played, there was plenty of baseball talk. Guests were then treated to a great buffet featuring prime rib and herb roasted chicken. After seconds and even some third trips to buffet, everyone had to make room for the blackberry cobbler. No one left hungry last night.
The highlight of the night was definitely the Question and Answer segment with Bill Ripken and Tom Davis. Tom Davis, as coined “The Rainman” by Bill Ripken knows an impressive amount of baseball statistics that he was able to wow the guests with throughout the evening. Then we had the knowledge of MLB Network Analyst Bill Ripken along with his unforgettable humor that often had the crowd laughing out loud.
Throughout the evening, I took notes during the Q&A session so we could fill all of our loyal fans in on some of the highlights. (These are not exact quotes but taken from my notes during the evening.)
Question 1: Will instant replay verify umps are really that good?
Bill: I’m not sure. One thing I like is getting it right. I think 80% of plays can be overturned in 20 seconds. I am more of a fan of a 5th umpire in the box that buzzes down to the field when a call is missed and then the box will overturn the call.
Q2: Will the big payroll at the Dodgers pay off this season?
Bill: I’m not buying it. Just because you spend doesn’t mean you win. They have some very good players. It’s not always superstars that win.
Tom: Ten out of the last 15 World Series winners were not in the playoffs the year before.
Q3: What are the differences in the minors now from when you played?
Bill: The players are getting here earlier and training. The investment in money gives them more reason to get out here early. I appreciated the desire at this level. You never know when it will be your last at bat. The game out here is at its purest form.”
Q4: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Bill: My dad managed in the minors. The last three years we were in Asheville, North Carolina. Al Bumbry, Mike Flanagan, and Don Hickey were all going through there. I would go play catch with them before the game. Don Hickey loved to play catch with me so he was my favorite.
Q5: The Ripken Way was so connected to the Oriole Way. How hard was it to play for other teams?
Bill: The Oriole Way was all about doing things right. I learned it the hard way when I went to Texas. I had played 5 1/2 years with Jr. and I knew everything he was going to do. It was difficult to know not every team did things correctly. I do think the Orioles are starting to go back to doing things right now under Buck.
Tom: Buck is probably the best thing to happen to the O’s in 15 years.
Bill: He has a great record at starting the process. He managed the Yankees and the year after he left the won the World Series. He went to Texas and cleaned Texas up.
Q6: Who is the Best Player in the American League?
Bill: If I was building my club and I had my pick of any position players, it would be Machado, Trout and Harper before Machado blew his knee out. Right now I would pick Trout.
Tom: The number one reason the O’s are on track is there recent number one draft picks have been good. Markakis, Weiters, and Machado are all in the regular line up and now you have Bundy and Gausman coming up.
At the end of the evening, Tom had one question for Bill and he asked Bill to predict the Orioles’ 2014 season.
Bill: The AL East is interesting. I can make an argument for four teams to win, New York, Tampa, Boston and Baltimore. I think Buck is the best coach in the division. Tampa has the best pitching. New York is hurting and if they can figure it out they will do well. I love that Tillman is emerging for the Orioles. What bothers me is the Orioles don’t have a #1. Bundy could be that guy when he comes back. Gausman is the key. He’s got the look. His record might not reflect his talent.
Last night was a great evening and we hope everyone that attended had a wonderful time. Make sure to check back next winter to see what guest we will have at the 3rd Annual Hot Stove Dinner.
If you have any different questions, make sure to email them over firstname.lastname@example.org. We have an exciting week next week as rosters will be announced for the other affiliates. We will have a special blog on Thursday to update fans on where they can see some of our former players this season. But, first make sure to check back on Monday to see if your question was answered in the next edition of Mailbox Monday!
Until then…Go IronBirds!