Talk About Inspiration

This is why I whole-heartedly believe and strongly support the COOL KIDS CAMPAIGN-  (get out the tissue). 

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Winners Step Up: Matte, Singleton, Dempsey and Blair team up with Cool Kids

     It was a press conference for the Cool Kids Campaign at the Hunt Valley Golf Club with Tom Matte, Ken Singleton, Rick Dempsey and Paul Blair.  They were there to announce Singleton as the host of the Celebrity Golf Classic taking place June 14 and June 15.  

     I knew these guys as former O’s players: Singleton, Blair and Dempsey. And, of course, Matte as a former Baltimore Colt.  Growing up in upstate New York, I never really had the pleasure of watching them play live.  But watching them interact and hearing them speak tickled me. 

Here are some things I learned from this 30-minute laugh fest:

Tom Matte was the emcee and having a blast.
Tom Matte was the emcee and having a blast.
  • Tom Matte has one of the the most infectious laughs I’ve ever witnessed.  When he gets going, you can’t help but laugh harder.  He has that perfectly-pitched bellow that catches you off guard and takes you for a ride. 
  • These guys seem to have no problem speaking their mind about anything. Especially when it comes to former players. Matte called Dempsey a wacko (and Dempsey looked to his left at Blair)!  Don’t get me wrong, they are classy and well equipped with their words.  They don’t mince words.  For instance, when Blair mentioned Singleton he noted, “he was the first brother I had ever seen that couldn’t run the bases.  He was like molasses.”  It was hysterical!

Paul Blair jokes about Singleton, following it up with I loved every minute of the 13 years I played here.
Paul Blair jokes about Singleton, following it up with how much he loved every minute of the 13 years he played for the O’s. 
  • These guys have one thing embroidered in their hearts- Baltimore is their home. They helped build it into a “championship city.”  No matter who they work for (“Singie” works for the YES network, home of the Yankees) or where they live (Dempsey lives in California).  “Till the day we die we are always going to be Orioles or Colts because our hearts have always been here,”  Dempsey lamented.  He also said his wife hates him because he’d rather be here- in Baltimore- all the time.  
  • Speaking of Dempsey- the man is a rock star. Literally.  He is in a rock band.  Remember the photos of him dancing at the yard during bp at Fan-Fest with Mora?   He sings, he dances.  Ask him to break out a tune for you at his MASN work-space at Camden Yards. No doubt he’ll be happy to oblige. 
Rick Dempsey says the reason we always see these guys step up is because they are winners.  In every sense of the word.
Rick Dempsey says the reason we always see these guys step up is because they are winners. In every sense of the word.
  • Okay, another thing engraved in their hearts: they love to give back to the community. Matte said they have a responsibility and they take it very seriously.  They live it.  
  • They still like to compete…even on the golf course.  (By the way, they had great things to say about the format of the Cool Kids tournament.)  They have a natural comraderie that has transcended sports and championships. It’s evident when they are together.
  • Singleton took it on the chin a lot for working with the Yankees organization and he was a very good sport about it- even the day after the Yankees had it handed to them by the O’s. 

Ken Singleton appreciates the opportunity to step up.
Ken Singleton appreciates the opportunity to step up for such a worthy cause.
  • And finally, if you can’t have a good time with these guys, then there is something seriously wrong with you.  Seriously.  

The Cool Kids Campaign Celebrity Golf Classic will bring 30 nationally recognized celebrities from sports and entertainment to Baltimore to participate in this two-day event,  June 14-15. For ticket information contact Chris Federico at 410-560-1770 or go to www.coolkidscampaign.org

Proceeds from this tournament go to the programs of the foundation which are designed to directly benefit children living with cancer. 

Brian Roberts Signed Through 2013!

It’s official, although not unexpected.  Roberts reported early to spring training and as widely reported in the Baltimore news an official announcement was expected today. So right on schedule, the Baltimore Orioles front office have just announced that they have signed Orioles two-time All-Star and fan favorite Brian Roberts. He will be appearing in a 1:00 pm press conference today.

Roberts has become a fixture in Baltimore, and it’s not just because he dons the black and orange. He’s a player off the field as well and makes regular visits to the University of Maryland Hospital for Children. His annual “Brian’s Bash” at ESPN Zone has helped raise incredible amounts of money for the hospital. 

Last season mdbirdlover was fortunate enough to cover an event called Buses for Baseball in which Roberts was one of the players that got to meet up with pediatric oncology patients.  He said it was a humbling experience and takes his role very seriously.   The event was sponsored by the Major League Player’s Association and they hosted children from the Cool Kids Campaign.  It was obvious the impression Roberts had by the look on some of these kids faces. 

His numbers are what got the deal done though.  And there were some of us that thought a trade for Roberts was imminent.  But clearly, Andy MacPhail didn’t get what he wanted for a player of Roberts’ caliber.  MacPhail has pulled off some mighty fine deals thus far. So in MacPhail we must trust.  How hard is it really to root for a guy like B-Rob?   

Let’s chew on these numbers awhile: (as written in the Orioles press release)

“Roberts, 31, appeared in 155 games for the Orioles in 2008, setting a new team single-season record with 51 doubles and posting career-highs with eight triples and 181 hits. He also matched his career-high in runs (107) and ranked among the top-25 in the American League in 15 categories, including doubles (2nd); runs (3rd); stolen bases (4th, 40) and triples (T-4th).

His 51 doubles were the most by a switch-hitter in American League history, surpassing the previous record of 50 he set in 2004. Roberts is one of only five active major league players to hit 50 or more doubles in multiple seasons and is among six active players with at least 25 stolen bases in each of the last five seasons. 

Roberts has hit .284 with 262 doubles and226 stolen bases in parts of eight seasons with the major league team. He has represented the Orioles in the MLB All-Star Game twice, in 2007 and 2005, when he was elected as the starting second baseman for the American League team. He also was named “Most Valuable Oriole” in 2005. 

The second baseman already has a prominent place in the Orioles’ franchise record books. Last June, he became the 13th player in franchise history to collect 1,000 hits. He has posted a 79.9 percent success rate in career stolen base attempts, the best percentage in club history, and his 226 career steals are 3rdon the O’s all-time list. He is also among all-time club leaders in doubles (6th, 262); triples (9th, 32); at-bats (11th, 3,858); runs (11th, 619) and hits (11th, 1,095).  

Roberts is the second homegrown player the Orioles have extended a contract for in the last month. In January, the club signed NICK MARKAKIS to a six-year deal through the 2014 season. The left-handed hitting outfielder was selected by the Orioles in the first round (seventh overall pick) in the 2003 First Year Player Draft.”