‘Twas the Night Before Opening Day

Every Christmas, the poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” by Clement Clarke Moore, is always a family favorite.  The tale written in 1823 and published originally in the New York newspaper, The Sentinel.  Since then, it has been circulated throughout the world for millions of families to enjoy.

When it comes to Opening Day, we like to think of it as our Christmas.  It is an event we count down the days until we can celebrate with excitement. This year, we have put our own spin on this classic. Enjoy!

 

‘Twas the Night Before Opening Day

‘Twas the night before Opening Day, when all through Ripken Stadium,

not a player was throwing, not even a hit.

The jerseys were hung in their lockers with care,

In hopes that IronBirds season soon would be there.

 

The fans were all nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of victories danced in their heads.

And Ferrous in his nightshirt and Ripcord in his cap

Had just settled their brains for a summer’s long nap.

 

When out on the field there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the locker room to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the door and made a mad dash.

 

The moon on the breast of the freshly mowed grass,

Gave the lustre of midday to objects below

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear

But a miniature coach and nine tiny players.

 

With a little old bat, so lively and quick

I knew in a moment it must be Matt Merullo.

More rapid than eagles, his players they came,

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

 

Now Justin! Now Federico!

Now, Alex and Hector!

On Stephen! On Manny!

On, Oswill and Sam!

Now pitch away! Throw away!

Hit away all!

 

And then in a twinkling I heard on the field,

the cracking and popping of each bat and glove.

As I drew in my head and was turning around,

Across the field Matt Merullo came with a bound.
He was dressed all in orange, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were tarnished with grass and dirt.

A bag of balls he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

 

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And threw batting practice, then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger on the brim of his hat,

And giving a nod, down to the dugout he went.

 

He sprang up the steps, to his team gave a whistle,

And out to their starting positions they flew like a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim before the action began,

 

“Happy Opening Day to all! Go IronBirds Go!”

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The Ultimate Fan’s Guide to the Opening Homestand!

Welcome back IronBirds fans!  We are officially two days away from the IronBirds season!!!  Today we want to take a look into the opening home stand and fill you in on all of the details you need to know.

 

Friday, June 20th – Opening Night!!! We want to pack the house for the IronBirds’ first home game. We have the best fans in minor league baseball so let’s show the players how great you are!   Gates will open at 6:00 (5:30 for Season Seat Holders) and the first 873 fans will receive a free magnet schedule. There is always a little more pomp and circumstance to Opening Night so the game will be starting at 7:35.  After the game we will have the first of our amazing fireworks shows presented by Fireworks Extravaganza!

 

Saturday, June 21st – Opening weekend is going to be huge.  On Saturday we will be celebrating the Orioles!  The Oriole Bird will be in attendance as well!  Not only will we be celebrating our favorite MLB team, but Dylan Bundy is scheduled to take the mound as well.  Gates open at 6:00 with the game starting at 7:05.  Get here early because we are expecting another huge crowd to kick off the season!

 

Sunday, June 22nd – Sunday is our first Family Fun Sunday and we will be celebrating our McNamara Division Championship!  On Sunday the gates open at 4:30 (4:00 for Season Seat Holders) and the first 873 fans through the gates will receive a McNamara Division Championship Pennant.  You will even be able to take a picture with the trophy!   As always, we will also have $1 hot dogs and kids can race the bases after the game!

 

Monday, June 23rd – ZOOperstars!!! Everyone’s favorite  performance act will be returning to Ripken Stadium for their only performance this year.  If you have not had a chance to see the ZOOperstars in action, you need to be at the ballpark on Monday.  They are a fan favorite and we can guarantee you a good laugh.

 

Tuesday, June 24th – Superhero Night.  This is one of my personal favorite nights and perfect for the kids.  We will have several of your favorite Superheroes in attendance on Tuesday to try and protect Ripken Stadium from evil.  We encourage all of our fans to wear your favorite Superhero shirt and dust your capes off.  Ferrous will need all of your help as we all work together to keep Ripken Stadium safe!

 

Ferrous 6-26-13 (28)

 

We hope to see everyone at the ballpark for the first home stand.  The IronBirds need your support!  We do still have tickets available as well.  You can purchase tickets online or call the box office at 410-297-9292.

Check back tomorrow for our special tribute to Opening Day!

Until then….Go IronBirds!

Mailbox Monday

 

Welcome back IronBirds fans! Thanks again to all of our wonderful fans who not only submitted questions over the past week but attended IronFest this past Saturday.  Make sure to keep those questions coming, especially now that Opening Day is one month from tomorrow!  You can always email them to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com.

Steve writes: “I know Matt Merullo is back as the IronBirds skipper this season.  Who else will be in the coaching staff?”

Matt Merullo 6-18-13 (9)

IB: Well Steve, the rest of the coaching staff will actually be new to Aberdeen this year.  This year Scott Thomas will be joining the IronBirds as the hitting coach. Thomas was drafted by the Red Sox in 2003 out of Chaminade College School.  Throughout his time in the minors, Thomas played for multiple clubs including the Cardinals and the Phillies, but after a few years playing independent ball, was picked up by the Orioles in 2012.  In 2012, he played for the Keys, Baysox and Tides before finishing his playing career.

Justin Lord will be joining us as the pitching coach. Lord played his college career with Florida State before ultimately landing in the Kansas City Royals organization.  He then spent a few years in the Pirates organization before finishing his career in an independent league.

We are very excited to have them both join our staff this season!

 

Luke writes: “I saw Parker Bridwell almost threw a no hitter last week for Frederick.  Did he ever play for the IronBirds?”

IB: Yes Luke he did! Bridewell joined the IronBirds in September of 2010 where he was able to pitch in two games. He came back to the IronBirds in 2011 where he pitched in 12 games.

Parker Bridwell 6-17-11 (16)

Thanks again to all our fans for submitting their questions. Make sure to check back on Thursday to get more information on the IronBirds‘ newest program, Hometown Hereos!

Until then…Go IronBirds!

IronBirds Are Getting Involved in the Community!

Welcome back IronBirds fans! We hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful, sunny day. Today we are going to take a look at how the IronBirds are getting involved in the local community and even hosting their first ever Art Contest.

Two years ago, we formed the group ROCS which stands for Ripken Outreach and Community Service. As an organization we wanted to create a better way to give back to the local communities that have given us so much.  Every month we have at least one service project that is anything from Polar Bear Plunge to canned food drives. This past Monday we participated in the third annual Aberdeen High School Clean Up.  This is a unique opportunity where we work with the students from Aberdeen High School to help beautify their campus. Everyone pitches in for this event.  The staff from Ripken splits into two shifts to cover the full day and all of the students spend their gym class cleaning up. Even the principal was out pushing the lawn mower. Over the past three years we have done everything from trimming bushes to mulching. This year, the main focus was on planting trees.  Aberdeen High School lost many trees during the last hurricane and wanted to replace them this year. Overall, we planted 16 trees on Monday along with weeding, mulching, and cleaning up the campus.

Aberdeen Clean Up

This time of year Ferrous is also very busy.  Ferrous and Ripcord have been all over during the past week.  Each year, we work with many local youth league baseballs to help bring Ferrous and Ripcord out to their Opening Days. This past weekend we were able to partipcate in Opening Days with Lake Shore Baseball, Churchville Rec, Fallston Baseball, and Rising Sun Little League. On Wednesday, Ferrous even went and spent a day with Harford Day School.  Ferrous and Ripcord are going to continue to be busy over the next few weeks as they stop in to visit other Opening Days.

  LL Opening Day Ferrous

As part of our community efforts, we wanted our fans to really become more involved with the IronBirds. We though the perfect way would be to have a local elementary student design a cover to one of our First Pitch Programs. We had 25 Harford County Elementary Students submit their drawings. One lucky winner will be chosen to have his or her drawing on the cover of our June 23rd and 24th edition of the First Pitch Program.  We had so many great entries that we need your help deciding.  We have posted all of the entries on Facebook and we need you to “like” your favorite. Here is the link to the album. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152380136269686.1073741833.14392384685&type=1  You have until May 2nd at 5 pm to cast your vote!

 

Make sure to keep sending your questions to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com.  Check back on Monday for the next edition of Mailbox Monday!

 

Until then…Go IronBirds!

A Look at Extended Spring: Former IronBirds Working in Sarasota

Recently, our very own radio broadcaster Paul Taylor spoke with IronBirds Manager Matt Merullo down in Sarasota.  Here is his interview.

 

By Paul Taylor 

Last week, we shared some interviews with former IronBirds in Frederick and Bowie as the Keys and Baysox have each begun their respective seasons. Last week was also an Opening Day of sorts in Sarasota for the Orioles’ Extended Spring Training program. IronBirds‘ Manager Matt Merullo is heading up the program for the second year in a row and gave us a list of 2013 IronBirds who are getting some more work done in Sarasota.

It is important to note a couple things with this list. It is not exhaustive. It also doesn’t mean anything for the future (such as who might be on the IronBirds’ roster when June rolls around). We just wanted to provide you fans with a better idea of where some of your favorite former IronBirds are playing ball as of now.

 

**Please also note that the list is current as of the first week of April.

 

Here are the pitchers from the 2013 IronBirds who are in Extended Spring Training:

Garrett Cortright

Jose Figuereo

Jose Figuereo 8-25-13 (87)

Eric Green

Donnie Hart

Michael Joseph

Jorge Rivera

Jorge Rivera 7-4-13  (36)

Alex Santana

Janser Severino

 

Here are the position players from the 2013 IronBirds who are in Extended Spring Training:

Jared Breen

Jared Breen 7-5-13  (6)

Byron Cappellan

Manny Hernandez

Sam Kimmel

Ronarsy Ledesma

Ronarsy Ledesma 8-29-13 (192)

Alex Murphy

Tanner Murphy

Pedro Perez

Tanner Rust

Anthony Vega

Justin Viele

 

Check back in a few weeks and we’ll have an interview with Manager Matt Merullo as we continue to get closer to IronBirds’ Opening Day!

 

This week the Orioles released a press release inviting fans to visit Extended Spring Training. If you happen to be down in Sarasota over the next few months, make sure to stop by Ed Smith Stadium to see some of your favorite former IronBirds! Check out the link to see their schedule. http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140407&content_id=71260778&vkey=pr_bal&c_id=bal

Fans make sure to keep sending in your questions to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com.  We will have a new edition of Mailbox Monday this upcoming Monday so make sure to check back!

Until then…Go IronBirds!

 

 

Quick Hits with Former IronBirds: Frederick

On Tuesday, April 1st the Frederick Keys held their annual Media Day to kick off the 2014 season. Our very own Paul Taylor was in attendance and caught up with some former IronBirds

By Paul Taylor

The 2011 Aberdeen IronBirds struggled in the win-loss column, going 24-51. However, there were several bright spots, including young catcher Wynston Sawyer, Pitcher Parker Bridwell, and Outfield (and local product) Glynn Davis. Paul Taylor went out to the Frederick Keys’ Media Day, where Sawyer, Bridwell and Davis will all begin their 2014 season.

 

Wynston Sawyer played in 71 games for Aberdeen in 2011, splitting time between catcher and first base. He batted .231 with 22 runs scored and 59 hits. He also knocked in 27 RBIs.

 

Paul Taylor: What do you remember most about Aberdeen?

Wynston Sawyer: Definitely the atmosphere and stadium. It was my first year of pro ball. I was young, so I was learning and kind of getting into the whole routine and grind of the regular season.

PT: You’ve been with Parker Bridwell for your entire minor league career. What’s your relationship with Parker been like for you?

WS: Parker’s like a brother to me now. We always joke that we’ve spent more time with each other than with our own families over the past four years, so we’re good buddies off the field too. We try and stay relaxed on the field when we are pitching and catching, but Parker is a great guy.

PT: What have you learned in Delmarva?

WS: Definitely the daily grind and realizing that you have to make changes. Everyone is going to struggle. You’re going to have your ups and downs, but it’s minimizing the downs and staying on top of the highs. Getting a routine like I said and finding who you are.

Wynston Sawyer 6-17-11 (33)

 

Parker Bridwell wowed fans on Opening Day in 2011, leading Aberdeen to a 7-2 win over the Hudson Valley Renegades. Bridwell was called up to Delmarva a little over halfway through that 2011 season, but went 2-5 in 12 appearances. He had a 4.53 ERA, but struck out 57 batters in 53.2 innings pitched.

Paul Taylor: What are some of your favorite memories of Aberdeen?

Parker Bridwell: Obviously the atmosphere in Aberdeen is second to none that I’ve ever seen. That was my first crack at minor league ball, and I had an awesome time. It was a great experience.

PT: You and Wynston have grown up together in this Orioles’ Minor League system. How big has that been for your development?

PB: It’s huge. It’s nice to have chemistry with a catcher. Me and Wynston have lived together, we got rafted together. We’ve known each other since day one and I’ve thrown to him since I was a kid

PT: What did you learn in Delmarva?

PB: Throwing strikes. Let the team play behind me. Don’t try to do too much. The guys behind you are professional baseball players, too and sometimes you try to do too much. You have to trust your team and the defense behind you.

PT: What was your reaction to breaking camp with Frederick?

PB: I was excited. It’s always fun to get promoted and start a new journey. Just like I said, it’s the same thing. Just go out there and throw strikes. Let your team compete and keep your team in the game.

Parker Bridwell 8-14-11 (67)

 

Glynn Davis joined the IronBirds a few weeks into the 2011 season, and wowed fans with his speed. He stole 23 bases in just 62 games with the IronBirds, and made several spectacular catches in center field for the ball club.

Paul Taylor: You were signed as an undrafted free agent, and have had a three year career. What are your thoughts on the last three seasons?

Glynn Davis: It’s been an okay career so far. I haven’t done what I’ve wanted to do, but hopefully this year that all changes. I just want to stay healthy this year and have fun.

PT: What are some of your biggest memories from Aberdeen?

GD: It was a great environment there. The fans showed up every day, whether we were winning or losing. It was always good to play in front of a big crowd. The facilities and everything that Aberdeen provided for us was a great thing.

PT: You got to play in a few Orioles games this spring with the big league club. What did you take away from that experience?

GD: Always good to get up there so you can see that you can do what the guys up there are doing, that even though they are at a higher level than us we can still go up there and compete with them. It gives me confidence that one day I can be there.

Glynn Davis 7-24-11 (55)

 

Don’t Miss Tomorrow’s Post!

Hey IronBirds Fans!  Everyone over at the stadium is busy getting ready for tonight’s Hot Stove Dinner.  When I was trying to come up with today’s blog post, I kept wishing I could write about the Hot Stove Dinner.  Since we restarted the blog, we have promised a post every Thursday.  I do not want to disappoint our fans so I wanted to let you know that we will be pushing today’s post to tomorrow.

So make sure to check back tomorrow.  We will be recapping tonight’s dinner and relaying all of the insider information from the event.  So if you had plans tonight or if you will be too focused on your favorite team playing in tonight’s Sweet 16 matchup and won’t be able to make it, don’t worry we have everything you will have missed.

 

We will see you back here tomorrow IronBirds fans!

 

Spring Training Update

Welcome back IronBirds fans! Believe it or not Orioles Opening Day is less than two weeks away! With Spring Training winding down we wanted to take a look to see what former IronBirds have a chance of making the Orioles Opening Day roster.

The Orioles have had several former IronBirds players on their roster for several years now.  Some of these players include Zach Britton,  Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, and Nick Markakis. All of these players are expected to be listed on the Opening Day roster.  

2010_Machado2

Currently one of the biggest questions is with Manny Machado.  It is still unclear if Machado will be cleared to play by Opening Day.  He has had a recent setback with scar tissue developing in his knee prohibiting him to run. Machado was to have a check up in California on the 18th but was force to postpone the appointment after not being able to run for seven straight days.  Machado’s chances of being in the Opening Day lineup are slim but not 100% ruled out.   If Machado were to be cleared to play, he would need to participate in multiple minor league Spring Training games first.  This is something Nolan Reimold has recently done to build up his number of at-bats.   

There are a few other players who have worn the IronBirds jersey that are fighting for spots on the Opening Day Roster. The first is Jonathan Schoop.  Originally Schoop was slated to start for the Norfolk Tides but has been fighting to prove he deserves a spot on the Orioles Roster.  In 30 at-bats, Schoop is batting .400 with one home run, six RBI’s, and four doubles.  With Machado being uncertain to start, this leaves more space for Schoop.  Schoop is a short stop, but the Orioles would more than likely look to use him at second base. 

Steve Clevenger is another playing fighting for the back up catcher position. Clevenger’s odds of making the Opening Day roster are increasing after Tuesday’s cuts.  Not only is Clevenger a gifted catcher, but he has been hitting very well in Spring Training. Through 20 at-bats, Clevenger has a batting average of .545. While Clevenger is the in-house favorite to be named the back up catcher, Buck Showalter has not ruled out looking for an external candidate. 

Only time will tell which former IronBirds will officially make the roster for Opening Day. We wish all of our former players the best of luck this season!

Remember over the weekend to keep sending your questions to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com. Check back on Monday to see if you question was answered in the next edition of Mailbox Monday!

Until then…Go IronBirds!

 

Hot Stove Dinner

Welcome back IronBirds fans! Two weeks from today we are very excited to be hosting our 2nd Annual Hot Stove Dinner.  Last year, the event was a great success. Buck Showalter and Jim Johnson came out for a great evening. This year we are excited to bring in two special guests for this year’s event.

As previously announced, our very own Bill Ripken will be in attendance. Not only is Bill a former MLB player, but he has gone on to have a successful career as an analyst. Currently Bill hosts a radio show for MLB Network on SiriusXM Radio and is an in studio analyst for MLB Network as well.  This past year Bill was even nominated for an Emmy.

We will also have a second guest to this year’s Hot Stove Dinner.  We are excited to announce that Tom Davis will be joining us.  Tom currently hosts the Orioles pre and post game shows on MASN.

bill_training_tips_shoot

During the event, Bill and Tom will be doing a question and answer session with the all of the guests in attendance. This is the perfect chance to hear their expert analysis.

Along with the Q&A session, their will also be a silent auction during the cocktail hour and dinner.  The dinner will be a sample of this year’s Club Level Buffet featuring Prime Rib!

Tickets are only $40 for this great event and some still are available.  You can call the office at 410-297-9292 to purchase tickets!

Over the weekend, keep sending all of your IronBirds questions to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com and then check back on Monday to see if your questions is answered!

Until then…Go IronBirds!

Mailbox Monday

Welcome back IronBirds fans to another great Mailbox Monday!  We had several great questions submitted over the past week and have selected a few today.  Make sure to keep sending your questions to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com!

Kelly asks: “When do single game tickets go on sale?”

IB: Single game tickets go on sale May 17th at IronFest!

Sarah writes: “I saw on Facebook that Ferrous was at the Sports Legends Museum on Saturday. Will he be making any other appearances soon?”

IB: Ferrous will be at the Boys and Girls Club of Bel Air this Monday. He is trying to get some rest right now because he has a busy Spring and Summer coming up.  In April he will be attending many youth baseball leagues’ Opening Days!  We will try to keep everyone updates as to where you can see Ferrous next!

photo(78)

Thanks again to all of our fans for the great questions.  Make sure to keep sending them over to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com!  Check back on Thursday for more exclusive insider information!

Until then…Go IronBirds!