Mailbox Monday

Welcome back IronBirds fans!  After a brief hiatus, we are back with another one of your favorites, Mailbox Monday.  The season is officially off and rolling, but we are still here to answer all of your IronBirds related questions.   Make sure to keep sending your questions to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com to see if you question is chosen next week!

 

Rick asks: “Where did the name IronBirds come from?”

IB:  Actually, back in 2002, one of our season interns came up with the name IronBirds.  Iron come from Cal’s nickname “IronMan” and birds comes from the Orioles.  The plane design which is still reflected in the new logo today was to represent the Aberdeen Proving Ground and our proud roots here in Aberdeen.

 

Gary writes: “I saw the IronBirds scored 18 runs on Saturday.  Is that the most in team history?”

IB: No Gary it actually is not.  On July 3, 2012 the IronBirds beat Staten Island 21-7 here at Ripken Stadium.

 

Alex Murphy 6-20-2014 (38)

Sue asks: “Are there any local boys are on our team this season?”

IB: Yes Sue there are!  Alex Murphy is from Monrivia, MD but graduated from Calvert Hall.  Nick Nowottnick is from the D.C. area and played college baseball at Towson.

 

Thanks again to all of our wonderful fans for submitting questions over the past few weeks.  Make sure to keep sending them to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com to see if your questions is answered next Monday.  Make sure to also check back on Wednesday to get your preview for the upcoming homestand!

 

Until then…Go IronBirds!

Mailbox Monday

Welcome back IronBirds fans!  It is officially Opening Week  in Aberdeen.  We have some major changes going on at Ripken Stadium and we can’t wait for you to see them on Friday.    We have had several great questions over the past week and we have selected a few this week to answer.  Make sure to keep sending them throughout the season to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com.

Cody writes: “How many starts will Dylan Bundy get with Aberdeen?”

IB:  Right now they are estimating at least three.  That can always change though.  Unfortunately we do not make the decision, that will come from the Orioles.

Dylan Bundy

Photo courtesy of JLMayo Productions

 

Marcus asks: “Do you know which game Bundy will be pitching at home?”

IB: Bundy is scheduled to pitch at home on Saturday, June 21st.  If everything goes as planned, he is on a six day rotation.  He is coming back from Tommy John surgery so the Orioles will be carefully monitoring him to make sure he has no soreness.  Anything could change if something feels uncomfortable.

 

Nick writes: “Are there any other players scheduled for a rehab starts with the IronBirds?”

IB: We often do not know until the day the player arrives if we are getting any rehab players.   It is always hard to say.  We have had many players come through Aberdeen in the past so it is likely we will see more in the future.

 

Thanks again to all of the fans for submitting questions over the past week.  We have an exciting week on the blog this week.  Make sure to check back to see the Ultimate Fan’s Guide to the Opening Homestand and on Thursday we will have a special blog about Opening Day!

Until then… Go IronBirds!

Mailbox Monday

Welcome back IronBirds fans!!!!!  The IronBirds have arrived!  This is going to be  an exciting two weeks as we not only celebrate the start of the IronBirds season, but the IronBirds Home Opener as well.  With all of the excitement going on, we thank all of our fans for sending in questions over the past week.   Make sure to keep sending them to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com.  We only have one Mailbox Monday left before Opening Day!

Barry asks: “When will a roster be announced?”

IB: Barry, we actually announced a “Break Camp” Roster tonight.  You can check it out here: http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=t_ros&cid=488&stn=true&sid=t488.

 

Sandy writes: “Does the Open Practice event on Thursday require a ticket?”

IB: You do not need a ticket for the event because it is actually FREE!  Gates will be open 6-8!

IB Practice

Laura writes: “Are there any familiar faces coming back this year?”

IB: As of right now it is looking like yes.  Some returning players include Augey Bill, Garrett Cortright, Nick Cunningham, Manny Hernandex, and Ronarsy Ledesma.  The roster could change between now and Friday so we may see a few more familiar faces!

 

Thanks again to all of our fans for submitting questions.  Check back often this week as more stories will be posted about the upcoming season!

Go IronBirds!!!!

 

 

The Countdown to the IronBirds’ Season Begins with an Open Practice!

Welcome back IronBirds fans! We are officially one week away from IronBirds baseball and two weeks away form Opening Day!  We have a very exciting week coming up at Ripken Stadium and we are ending the week with something we have never done before!

This weekend coaches and players will start arriving in Aberdeen.  Many of the players arriving this weekend are coming from Extended Spring Training down in Florida.  Today was the second day of the First Year Player Draft and the first day the Orioles had a pick.  Today the Orioles drafted five pitchers, two infielders, and one outfielder. These players will need to sign contracts before possibly joining the IronBirds roster. We expect to have a roster in the next few days, but there will be several changes between now and Friday.

This week we have a ton of work to do before the team gets here and even more work prior to Opening Day.  Our staff has been busy getting the locker room set up and field ready. Plus we have to get all of our brand new jerseys ready for the season.  Our white home jerseys all get names put on them, and we must get the grey, black and orange jerseys ready as well.  Our grounds crew has been busy preparing the field for practices as well.  No more games are being played at Ripken Stadium until Opening Day to give the grounds crew plenty of time to prepare the field. We even have a brand new tarp for this season!  You will even see some new changes to the facility (both downstairs and on the Club Level) this season as well!

Practice will take place in the evenings this week.  Over the years, many fans have requested to see pre-season practices or even batting practices.  On Thursday, June 12th, we will be opening the stadium for evening practice.  All of our fans are invited!!  The event is free and open to the public.  You can come into the stadium at 6 p.m. with the event ending at 8 p.m. Concession stands will be open and we will have tables on our concourse as well.   This will be your first chance to check out your 2014 IronBirds before the hit the road to Hudson Valley.  We hope all our fans will come out next Thursday to show our new group of players that IronBirds’ fans are the best fans in baseball!  Stay tuned over the next week as more details are revealed!

Jared Breen 7-5-13  (6)

Over the summer make sure to keep checking back to the Bird Watch blog for all of your insider information. Over the next few months you will be getting more detailed team information, see player interviews, and preview all of the important information for upcoming home stands. We will be posting more often and you will even get more posts from our Media Relations department. Also, make sure to keep sending your IronBirds’ questions to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com. We only have two Mailbox Mondays before Opening Day so get your questions in now!  Check back on Monday to see if you questions is answered!

Until then…Go IronBirds!

 

 

Mailbox Monday

Welcome back IronBirds fans!  It was a great weekend at Ripken Stadium after we welcomed over 600 girl scouts to the annual campout at the stadium. We hope everyone else had us much fun as we did.  We also want to offer a huge congratulations to the Ripken Cup winner, the University of Maryland, for winning their regional yesterday.

We had several great questions submitted over the past week and have selected a few to answer today. Make sure to keep sending those questions over to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com.  We only have two more Mailbox Monday’s left before Opening Day!

Doug writes: ” I recently saw Mike Yastrzemski’s name come across some news for Minor League baseball.  How has he been doing recently?”

IB: Yaz has been making the news recently because he is actually leading the South Atlantic League in triples so far this season and is second in all of the minors. While he will always live in the shadow of his Hall of Famer grandfather, Mike is making a name all on his own. He actually tied his grandfather’s triples record from the minors on Saturday and has one less than his grandfather’s Major League record.  With more than half of the season left at this point, I think Yaz has a pretty good chance of breaking his grandfather’s record.

Mike Yastrzemski 8-25-13 (69)

Suzanne writes: “With the college baseball postseason going on, what happens if one of the players drafted by the Orioles is still playing for their college team?  When will they join the IronBirds?”

IB: “This year the First-Year Player Draft begins on Thursday.  Currently the Orioles do not have a first or second round pick meaning the first player drafted won’t come until Friday.  After the draft it can take some time to sign their contract. Even if their school has been eliminated, a drafted player may not join the IronBirds until after the season has started depending on contract negotiations.  Once a player finishes the season, he can begin any contract negations.  Super Regionals are this weekend so only eight teams will be remaining after this weekend.

Last year Mike Yastrzemski made it to the Super Regionals with Vanderbilt.  They were eliminated after two games by Louisville.  Yaz did join the IronBirds in the end of June missing only a handful of games.

 

Thanks again to all of our fans for submitting questions over the past week.  Make sure to check back on Thursday for more insider information as we prepare for the season!

Until then…Go IronBirds!

 

Former IronBird Finds New Passion in Beer

 

Welcome back IronBirds fans!  We hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend as we push closer and closer to the IronBirds season.

Many of our fans probably remember the name Chris Ray.   Ray pitched for the IronBirds back in 2003. The 3rd round draft pick out of William & Mary came to Aberdeen with hopes of a bright future.  Ray made his debut with the Orioles in 2005. After injuring his elbow and Tommy John surgery, Ray’s arm was never the same.  While Ray battled back from surgery in 2008 and even making a rehab trip to Aberdeen, he would continue to play for multiple different teams before hanging up his cleats after the 2012 season.

Chris Ray was often one to dabble in different hobbies.  In 2008, a former William & Mary teammate bought Ray a home brewing kit after Ray developed a finer taste for beer.  Even former teammate Jim Johnson has said that Ray is a “beer snob.” Eventually Ray became hooked and loved to tinker with the different types of beer.  He became so fascinated with brewing his own beer that he bought his brother his own kit.  Soon their conversations were consumed with discussing their new brews.  One advantage to Ray being traded to different teams was being able to experience the many different craft brews in great cities like San Francisco and Seattle.

In 2011, while playing in Seattle, Ray approached the founder of Fremont Brewing about brewing an IPA to benefit a military organization. While the owner was originally unsure of this idea, Ray quickly won him over with his knowledge of the craft. Eventually the Ray brothers created their Homefront IPA to benefit Operation Homefront and put one unique twist on the beer.  The beer is actually aged using Louisville Slugger bats.

The brothers have since relocated to the Richmond, Virginia area where they brew more than three types of beer. You can currently find their beers at local restaurants around Richmond and they are trying to obtain a license to sell their beer in other states such as Maryland.

 

We hope everyone enjoyed this check in of another former IronBird.  Make sure to keep sending any of your questions to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com.  Check back on Monday to see if you question was answered!

Until then…Go IronBirds!

 

 

Hometown Heroes

Welcome back IronBirds fans!  We are officially 29 days from Opening Day!  This year we have a very special new honor that we will be awarding every home game. Today I want to go into a little more detail about this new program, Hometown Heroes.

We realize that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. A hero could be someone from our military, but it can also be your mom or your neighbor.  This season the IronBirds want to honor all of these special people. We are looking for all of our fans to nominate a local hero.  It is easy to do as well.    To nominate a hero go to the Aberdeen IronBirds Facebook page or go to ironbirdsheroes.com.  Click on the orange button and you can nominate your hero.

Once all of our fans have nominated a local hero, you can than log onto the Facebook page to vote for your favorites.  We will select 38 winners, one for each game.  Each game’s winner will receive free tickets and will be able to deliver the lineup card to the managers meeting before the game.

So fans, check out the website to nominate anyone you deem worthy of being a hero to you.

Hometown Heros

Make sure to submit your questions over the weekend for a new edition of Mailbox Monday next week.  You can send them to blog@aberdeenironbirds.com.  Check back on Monday to see if your question was answered!

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!

Bird Watch Extra: Riding the Tide in Norfolk

By Paul Taylor

Earlier this week, I had the chance to check out the Norfolk Tides, the Baltimore Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, as they hosted the Louisville Bats, a Cincinnati Reds affiliate. I had a chance to catch up with Steve Johnson after one of the games, a game the Tides would come back from an 8-0 deficit and win 14-8, scoring 11 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning.

Johnson made a couple of rehab appearances with the IronBirds last season. He was recently activated off the Orioles’ Minor League Disabled List, recovering from right shoulder soreness. Tuesday marked his second start since being activated, but unfortunately his shoulder flared up again. He pitched through two innings before being lifted. “It felt good after a while,” he said of his shoulder. “But after my last start, I felt some extra soreness. I was hoping I’d be able to pitch through it and hoping that something would loosen up, and it just never did. It kind of got worse.” Earlier this week, the Orioles placed him back on the Disabled List, due to the shoulder issues.

Johnson also told me about his memories from Aberdeen last season. “It was always a good crowd. I live close by, and I knew several people in the stands when I played there. It’s a pretty special place for guys who are just drafted to come and play professional ball. It’s a pretty special place to play.”

Harbor Park is a terrific setting for baseball, and the Tides certainly put on a good show. If you have a chance to visit Norfolk this summer, make sure Harbor Park is on your to-do list.

Norfolk Tides

Don’t forget that the Orioles have a special promotion for visiting the Orioles’ Minor League Stadiums (Aberdeen, Delmarva, Frederick, Bowie, and Norfolk) called ‘The Birdland Passport.’ Find out more information here: http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/bal/fan_forum/passport.jsp

One month from today, the IronBirds will be playing their fourth game of the season! See you at Ripken Stadium on June 20th for the IronBirds’ home opener against the Brooklyn Cyclones!

IronFest

Welcome back IronBirds fans!  Today I wanted to give you all of the information about IronFest on Saturday.  The event is finalized and it should be a fun day.  IronFest has always been popular with fans. This is the first chance our fans can really get into the stadium this summer so it means baseball season is almost here.  The day is going to be jam packed with events so I have listed the schedule with details below.

 

IronFest Balloon Arch

8:00-1:30 – Out of the Park Yard Sale – This year the popular event will be back and better than ever.  We will have over 100 vendors selling a variety of items.  The event will be free for shoppers.

8:00 – The Amanda Hichkad Walk presented by the Upper Chesapeake Foundation – Help honor and remember friends and family in the fight against cancer.  Here is the link to register for the event: http://www.active.com/aberdeen-md/walking/races/amanda-hichkad-cca-celebration-walk-2014

9:00 IronFest officially kicks off!

9:00-2:00 – Box Office opens for individual ticket sales

9:00-2:00 – Season Ticket pickup starts on the Club Level

9:00 – 2:00 – Family Fun Expo – Visit fun vendors on the concourse such as Aaron’s, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Medieval Times, Anita C Leight Estuary Center, PNC Bank, Pepsi, Giant and more!

9-11:30 – Pony Rides by Patti’s Ponies – Kids can ride ponies in front of the stadium for $3 per ride

9:00-2:00 – Face Painter

9:30 – Tour of Ripken Stadium

10:00 – Kids Run the Bases

11:00 – 2:00 – Caricature Artist (Free!)

11:00 –  Pepsi Commercial – Fans have a chance to be in a commercial shown at all IronBirds 2014 Home Games. Fans can sit in section 100 to be in the commercial!

12:00 – Giant Nutrition Panel –  A panel of nutritionist from Giant will be participating in a panel from the 3rd base dugout.  Sit in the stands to enjoy!

12:30 – Kids Run the Bases

1:30 – Tour of Ripken Stadium

 

We hope all of our fans can make it out to this event on Saturday.  Come by to purchase individual tickets, try out your seats, or just have some fun!

 

Also fans, check back tomorrow for a special Bird Watch Extra from our very own radio announcer, Paul Taylor!

Until then… Go IronBirds!