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These Orioles got a second chance at a first impression


These Orioles got a second chance at a first impression

One of the best things about Orioles fans is their loyalty. As soon as a popular Oriole leaves by trade or free agency, some fans immediately start plotting how the team can get them back.

It was that way with Nick Markakis and Tommy Hunter, too. Some fans are eager for a reunion with Jim Johnson.

The Orioles are unusual in that they seem to bring players who’ve been successful here back for encores, and they’ve done it with some regularity for the past two decades.

How about Harold Baines?

Baines, who still lives in St. Michael’s, Md., got three runs with the Orioles, from 1993-95, another in 1997-99, and a third one in 2000.

He was popular in Chicago, too. The White Sox, for whom he played most of his career, had him there for three different stints.

Two of Baines teammates, Mike Bordick and B.J. Surhoff were traded in the great Syd Thrift trading bazaar of July 2000. Baines went back to Chicago, Bordick to the Mets and Surhoff to Atlanta.

Who can forget Surhoff’s tearful goodbye? Bordick’s departure wasn’t as emotional, but he came back to Baltimore the next winter. It took Surhoff two more years, but both had happy reunions with the Orioles, and both work for the team.

Those second acts worked well. So did Eddie Murray’s. He left Baltimore acrimoniously after the 1988 season, but got a warm welcome back in 1996. He got to hit his 500th home run with the Orioles.

Some turned out disastrously. Rafael Palmeiro and Sidney Ponson both re-signed with the Orioles in 2004. By the summer of 2005, their Orioles careers ended shamefully.

Another polarizing figure, Miguel Tejada, was twice with the Orioles, and nearly a third. After Tejada was traded to Houston after the 2007 season, he came back for a few months in 2010 only to be traded to San Diego just before Buck Showalter took over.

Tejada played for Norfolk in 2012 in an attempt to return to the big leagues, but that didn’t work out.

Jeff Conine, who played with Baines, Bordick, Surhoff and Tejada, had two turns with the Orioles, too. Conine was one of the most interesting people to play with the Orioles over the last 20 years. He was a world-class table tennis player, had a brilliant sense of humor and was a kind and generous man.

Unfortunately in his six seasons with the Orioles, the team lost every year. He did get to play for the Florida Marlins’ World Series championship teams in 1997 and 2003, and is referred to as “Mr. Marlin.”

Conine also had repeat engagements with both Florida and Kansas City.

Other Orioles had unremarkable second acts in Baltimore. Did you remember that Bill Ripken returned in 1996?

Others who’ve come back include Alan Mills, Corey Patterson, Joe Saunders and Gregg Zaun. Saunders, who won the 2012 Wild-Card game in Texas, tried to re-invent himself as a left-handed reliever in 2014, but he’s now out of baseball. Zaun was Matt Wieters’ predecessor as starting catcher in 2009.

Of course, Nolan Reimold is currently in his second time around with the Orioles.

It isn’t just players who come back to Baltimore for more. Terry Crowley, who was hitting coach under 11 different managers, Ray Miller and Cal Ripken, Sr., had multiple terms with the team.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles have had long Rookie of Year drought

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 


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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense


David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."