A Bit of a Blast from the Past

So, god help me, I was bored, and ran a google search of "Syd Thrift".  Among other things, I found this fun little article from the Baltimore city paper circa 2001.

It's a pretty well written article, with a sort of "we may as well make the best with what we have" attitude.   But the BEST part is to point and laugh (at the state of the franchise in 2001? at how things look only slightly rosier today?) at the list of prospective "future Orioles":

Your 2003 Baltimore Orioles

If all goes according to plan, the 2003 O's will bear only a passing resemblance to the current (mike's note - 2001) edition:

Starters: The strength of the 2003 squad will probably be its rotation, which might include anyone from a 35-year-old Scott Erickson, back from arm surgery, to fireballing 21-year-old lefty Richard Stahl. Potential ace righty Beau Hale will be 24, crafty Aussie righty John Stephens will be 22, and surgically rebuilt lefty hotshot Matt Riley will be 23. Incumbent righty workhorse Sidney Ponson will be 26. The list goes on.

Closer: Jorge Julio Preseason acquisition got lit up in brief Birds debut earlier this year, but with additional minor-league seasoning and maturity (he'll be 24 in 2003) the cannon-armed righty projects as the closer of the future, assuming current Oriole Ryan Kohlmeier's troubles continue.

C: Octavio Martinez (mike's note -????) Brooks Robinson Award winner (as the team's top minor leaguer last year) batted .330 in first two minor-league seasons and is currently calling pitches for a dominant Frederick staff. He'll be 23 in 2003.

1B:David Segui  Veteran switch-hitter will be 37 and in third year of four-year contract. Tall, hard- hitting lefty Rick Elder, now with Single-A Delmarva and 23 in 2003, may see action.

2B: Jerry Hairston Jr. Defensive whiz and fan favorite will be 26 years old. "He'll be an All-Star," predicts Syd Thrift, the O's vice president of baseball operations.

SS: Ed Rogers "He's the smoothest shortstop I've seen, ever," Bowie manager Dave Machemer says. If Rogers, who will only be 21 on Opening Day 2003, isn't ready, look for a 25-year-old Brian Roberts to replace Mike Bordick.

3B: Jose Leon Cal Ripken Jr. will--presumably--be retired in 2003. Decent-hitting prospect Leon, 26 that year, is at the front of a line that also includes Napolean Calzado (who'll be 23) and a horde of young middle infielders blocked by Hairston and Rogers.

RF: Chris Richard Versatile hitter is shaping up as the prize of the O's July 2000 swap meet. He'll be 28.

CF:Luis Matos (mike's note- BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!) Standout defender will be 24, and more ready for major-league pitching than he was at age 21 last season (.225 average, 1 home run).

LF: Larry Bigbie Well-regarded prospect will be 25 and should be part of a deep mix of players challenging veterans for time in the outfield. Tim Raines Jr.--who "has all the tools in the world," Machemer raves--will be 23 and could end up in any outfield slot. Top-rated prospect Keith Reed will be 24, as will hard-hitting Raymond Cabrera.

DH: Jay Gibbons Lefty slugger, picked up from Toronto in Rule V draft this year, will be 26 in 2003 and is the most likely candidate to be crushing the ball by then. There's no reason why Calvin Pickering, who'll also be 26, shouldn't be murdering major-league pitching in '03--but since the O's don't seem to like him, he'll probably be doing it for some other team.

There is just so much to reminisce about here.  I don't know where to start.

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