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Orioles select catcher Adley Rutschman with top pick in 2019 MLB Draft

Orioles select catcher Adley Rutschman with top pick in 2019 MLB Draft

The Orioles’ rebuild finally has its face.

After an agonizingly long draft process, Mike Elias has made his first draft selection in Baltimore, choosing Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the top pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Rutschman is the rare draft prospect who entered the season as the presumptive favorite and never lost his grip on the top spot. All spring long, evaluators have struggled to nitpick the All-American backstop.

There literally does not exist a box that Rutschman cannot check as a catcher. Hit tool. Power. Arm. Receiving/framing. Athleticism. Leadership. Work ethic. Winner.

Rutschman does it all, enjoying a legendary career with the Beavers. During his sophomore season, the catcher set a College World Series record with 17 hits, all while leading the pitching staff to a stellar performance, culminating with a championship in Corvallis.

He followed it up with an even stronger junior season, adding previously untapped power to his repertoire.

Through it all, he’s kept a level head and focused on his game. That appeals to most MLB decision-makers, including the Orioles.

Are there potential downsides? Of course. No prospect in history has been perfect. Rutschman suffered a minor shoulder injury playing football as a sophomore... in high school. He’s not the fastest player in the world -- though hardly a concern at catcher.

Speaking of catchers, they don’t play every day, which is a turn-off for some. But the Orioles clearly weren’t deterred, recognizing the extra value they’ll be enjoying on the days Rutschman is behind the plate.

Evaluators have gushed about Rutschman for months, throwing superlative after superlative his way. Some think he combines both the highest floor and highest ceiling in the class. Many think he’s the best draft prospect since Bryce Harper in 2009.

Others think he’s better than Buster Posey, a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. And at least one evaluator has announced he’ll be a top-five prospect in the Minor Leagues the moment he signs, which is almost unheard of.

Right now, it’s fun to imagine the possibilities he brings to Charm City. It’s a lot to put on his shoulders, but by all accounts, Rutschman is ready for it.

As excited as fans are in Baltimore tonight, you can be sure Mike Elias’ front office is celebrating three times over (save those who are preparing for the next 39 rounds of the draft). This is a major day for the future of the Orioles franchise.

Every team wants to make the right pick in the draft. By all accounts, the Orioles did just that.

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Glove Jeffrey Maier used to catch Derek Jeter's HR vs. Orioles in 1996 ALCS is up for auction

Glove Jeffrey Maier used to catch Derek Jeter's HR vs. Orioles in 1996 ALCS is up for auction

Orioles and Yankees fans, and plenty of other baseball supporters, will forever remember the name Jeffrey Maier. Now, if they want to, they can own an item of his that will always be a part of MLB history.

Maier's glove from Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS is now up for auction through Lelands Auctions, according to The Action Network's Darren Rovell. The minimum bid on the item is $2,500.

For those who need a refresher -- sorry Orioles fans -- a 12-year-old Maier made his mark During Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS between Baltimore and the New York Yankees. The Orioles held a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. With a young Derek Jeter stepping up to the plate, Maier was a fan planted at the front of the right-field stands. Jeter sent a ball his way, and Maier reached out and grabbed the "home run."

Home run is in parenthesis because the argument to this day is that Orioles' right fielder Tony Tarasco was in a position to potentially catch the ball as it was not going over the wall, but Maier interferes with the play. Despite evidence to support that, it was called in the Yankees favor.

New York would then go on to win the game in extra innings, shifting the momentum in the series and eventually advancing to the World Series. For Yankees fans, Maier could be viewed as a small hero. As for those in Baltimore, he carries a similar reputation to Steve Bartman. 

New Yorkers may want the glove as a symbol from their 1996 World Series run, while Baltimore fans already have some ideas for what they would do with the tainted piece of history.

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Buck Showalter: Fans don’t want to hear MLB players complain about salary cuts

Buck Showalter: Fans don’t want to hear MLB players complain about salary cuts

As Major League Baseball and its players union weigh the league’s proposal for returning to play amid the coronavirus pandemic, several players have spoken out against accepting further pay cuts in order to return to the field.

The two sides agreed to prorate all player salaries in March based on the number of games lost as a result of the outbreak. However, MLB has reportedly asked the union to reconsider that deal after it became increasingly clear the season would have to begin without fans in the stands.

That’s prompted several players, including Tampa Bay Rays starter Blake Snell and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper, to publicly argue against the idea of sacrificing even more of their salaries.

“Y'all gotta understand, man, for me to go—for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof,” Snell said on his Twitch channel last week. “It's a shorter season, less pay.

“No, I gotta get my money. I'm not playing unless I get mine, OK? And that's just the way it is for me. Like, I'm sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I'm making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?”

However, league officials aren’t the only ones who disagree with players like Snell. In an interview with 105.7 The Fan on Friday, former Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he wouldn’t be putting up with comments like that from his own players.

“I know one thing, fans don’t want to hear players talking about, ‘I’m not going to play for that type of pay cut,’” Showalter said. “Somebody that’s getting some real bad advice is making those statements. I’d be telling my guys, ‘You need to shut up.’ Fans working at home trying to make ends meet don’t want to hear about you complaining about not getting your full salary.”

Showalter has spent parts of 20 seasons as an MLB skipper, making five playoff appearances and receiving three Manager of the Year awards. He managed the Orioles for nine years before being fired in 2018 following a season in which Baltimore finished 47-115. The 63-year-old is now a contributor for the YES Network and MLB Network.

Known for his stoic attitude and intense approach to the game, Showalter was a member of the “old guard” that pushed against allowing players to show their emotions on the baseball field. With MLB hoping to return this summer and provide fans with a sign of hope amid a global pandemic, the former manager doesn’t want to hear from players who don’t believe they would be receiving their fair share.

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