Fiery Orioles manager Earl Weaver dead at 82

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Fiery Orioles manager Earl Weaver dead at 82

BALTIMORE (AP) Earl Weaver always was up for an argument, especially with an umpire.

At the slightest provocation, the Earl of Baltimore would spin his hat back, point his finger squarely at an ump's chest and then fire away. The Hall of Fame manager would even tangle with his own players, if necessary.

All this from a 5-foot-6 pepperpot who hated to be doubted.

Although reviled by some, Weaver was beloved in Baltimore and remained an Oriole to the end.

The notoriously feisty Hall of Fame manager died at age 82 on a Caribbean cruise associated with the Orioles, his marketing agent said Saturday.

``Earl was a black and white manager,'' former O's ace and Hall of Fame member Jim Palmer said. ``He kind of told you what your job description was going to be and kind of basically told you if you wanted to play on the Orioles, this was what you needed to do. And if you couldn't do it, I'll get someone else. I know that's kind of tough love, but I don't think anyone other than Marianna, his wife, would describe Earl as a warm and fuzzy guy.''

Baseball lost another Hall of Famer later Saturday when longtime St. Louis Cardinals star Stan Musial died at age 92.

Weaver took the Orioles to the World Series four times over 17 seasons but won only one title, in 1970. His .583 winning percentage ranks fifth among managers who served 10 or more seasons in the 20th century.

Dick Gordon said Weaver's wife told him that Weaver went back to his cabin after dinner and began choking between 10:30 and 11 Friday night. Gordon said a cause of death has not been determined.

``It's a sad day. Earl was a terrific manager,'' Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. ``The simplicity and clarity of his leadership and his passion for baseball was unmatched. He's a treasure for the Orioles. He leaves a terrific legacy of winning baseball with the Orioles and we're so grateful for his contribution. He has a legacy that will live on.''

Weaver will forever remain a part of Camden Yards. A statue of him was dedicated last summer in the stadium's flag court, along with the rest of the team's Hall of Fame members.

``Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball,'' Orioles owner Peter Angelos said. ``This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans. Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Marianna, and to his family.''

Weaver was a salty-tongued manager who preferred to wait for a three-run homer rather than manufacture a run with a stolen base or a bunt. While some baseball purists argued that strategy, no one could dispute the results.

``Earl was well known for being one of the game's most colorful characters with a memorable wit, but he was also amongst its most loyal,'' Commissioner Bud Selig said. ``On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Marianna, their family and all Orioles fans.''

Weaver had a reputation as a winner, but umpires knew him as a hothead. Weaver would often turn his hat backward and yell directly into an umpire's face to argue a call or a rule, and after the inevitable ejection he would more often than not kick dirt on home plate or on the umpire's shoes.

Orioles programs sold at the old Memorial Stadium frequently featured photos of Weaver squabbling.

He was ejected 91 times, including once in both games of a doubleheader.

Asked once if his reputation might have harmed his chances to gain entry into the Hall of Fame, Weaver admitted, ``It probably hurt me.''

Not for long. He entered the Hall in 1996.

``When you discuss our game's motivational masters, Earl is a part of that conversation,'' Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said. ``He was a proven leader in the dugout and loved being a Hall of Famer. Though small in stature, he was a giant as a manager.''

His ejections were overshadowed by his five 100-win seasons, six AL East titles and four pennants. Weaver was inducted 10 years after he managed his final game with Baltimore at the end of an ill-advised comeback.

In 1985, the Orioles' owner at the time, Edward B. Williams, coaxed Weaver away from golf to take over a struggling squad. Weaver donned his uniform No. 4, which had already been retired by the team, and tried to breathe some life into the listless Orioles.

Baltimore went 53-52 over the last half of the 1985 season, but finished seventh in 1986 with a 73-89 record. It was Weaver's only losing season as a major-league manager, and he retired for good after that.

``If I hadn't come back,'' Weaver said after his final game, ``I would be home thinking what it would have been like to manage again. I found out it's work.''

Former umpire Don Denkinger said he called one of Weaver's last games in the majors.

``He comes to home plate before the game and says, `Gentlemen, I'm done.' He told us the only way he'd ever come back is if he ran out of money,'' Denkinger told The Associated Press by phone from Arizona. ``I told him that if he ever ran out of money to call the umpires' association and we'd take up a collection for him. We'd do anything, just to keep him off the field and away from us.''

Weaver finished with a 1,480-1,060 record. He won Manager of the Year three times.

``I had a successful career, not necessarily a Hall of Fame career, but a successful one,'' he said.

Weaver came to the Orioles as a first base coach in 1968, took over as manager on July 11 and went on to become the winningest manager in the history of the franchise.

``Earl was such a big part of Orioles baseball and personally he was a very important part of my life and career and a great friend to our family,'' Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken said. ``His passion for the game and the fire with which he managed will always be remembered by baseball fans everywhere and certainly by all of us who had the great opportunity to play for him. Earl will be missed but he can't and won't be forgotten.''

He knew almost everything about the game. He was also a great judge of human character, and that's one of the main reasons why he was loved by a vast majority of his players even though he often rode them mercilessly from spring training into October.

``Did we have a love-hate relationship? Yes,'' Palmer said at Saturday's event. ``Did he shake my hand after I would win? No. Because he didn't want to be my best friend. At the time maybe I resented that. But I've gotten over it.''

Pat Dobson, who died in 2006, pitched two seasons under Weaver.

``Certainly, the years I played for him were the two most enjoyable years I've had,'' he said.

During games Weaver smoked cigarettes in the tunnel leading to the dugout and he never kicked the habit. He suffered a mild heart attack in August 1998, and the Orioles' manager at the time, Ray Miller, wondered aloud how his mentor was holding up.

``I wouldn't want to talk to him if he hasn't had a cigarette in 10 days,'' Miller joked. ``They've probably got him tied to a chair.''

Umpires found out just how demonstrative Weaver could be. Denkinger remembered a game in which the manager disputed a call with Larry McCoy at the plate.

``Earl tells us, `Now I'm gonna show you how stupid you all are.' Earl goes down to first base and ejects the first base umpire. Then he goes to second base and ejects the second base umpire. I'm working third base and now he comes down and ejects me,'' Denkinger said.

Much later, after they were retired, the umpire asked Weaver to sign a photo of that episode.

``He said absolutely. I sent it to him, he signed it and said some really nice things. It's framed and hanging up in my office back home in Iowa,'' Denkinger said.

Weaver was a brilliant manager, but he never made it to the majors as a player. He finally quit after spending 13 years as a second baseman in the St. Louis organization.

``He talked about how he could drive in 100 runs a year, score 100 runs and never make an error,'' said Davey Johnson, who played under Weaver in the minor leagues and with the Orioles from 1965-72. ``He said he never got to the big leagues because the Cardinals had too many good players in front of him.''

He still made his mark on the big leagues.

``No one managed a ballclub or pitching staff better than Earl,'' said Johnson, who manages the Washington Nationals, and ran the Orioles from 1996-97. ``He was decades ahead of his time. Not a game goes by that I don't draw on something Earl did or said. I will miss him every day.''

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AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker contributed to this report.

Orioles' Kevin Gausman wants to continue success against Yankees

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Orioles' Kevin Gausman wants to continue success against Yankees

Tonight's Game: New York Yankees (9-16) vs. Baltimore Orioles (15-11), Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, 7:05 p.m. 

Starting pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 2.87) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-1, 2.45)

Keys to the Game:

Will the Orioles bounce back from their punchless Wednesday night?

Can Gausman continue his success against the Yankees? He's 3-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 11 games against them.

News and Notes:

Dating back to Aug. 2014, Gausman has won just three of 26 starts. 

Tanaka is 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA in four starts against the Orioles. He has never pitched in Baltimore. 

Current Orioles are batting .212 against Tanaka. 

Manny Machado has 13 doubles in 26 games. 

Orioles can't break through and lose 7-0 to Yankees

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Orioles can't break through and lose 7-0 to Yankees

BALTIMORE – Wednesday’s pregame was dominated by silly talk that the Orioles deliberately canceled the New York Yankees’ batting practice the day before. 

Rain was forecast, but it never came, but that sometimes happens around here. 

The Yankees took batting practice in the mist, and on yet another cool and unpleasant night, broke their six-game losing streak with a 7-0 win over the Orioles before 15,998 at Oriole Park.

Chris Davis, who was wearing a large wrap over his left hand after the game, acknowledges the weather is difficult to play in. 

“It’s tough for everybody, but it’s part of the season. I think the biggest thing for us to remember is it’s a long season. These are the games that test you early on, but later in the season, they pay off,” Davis said. 

Davis played behind Tyler Wilson, who through the first five innings, allowed just one hit, and 11 of his first 15 outs were on the ground. 

It all came apart in the sixth. With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury singled and stole second. He advanced to third on Brett Gardner’s single. Ellsbury scored when Adam Jones did not attempt a throw home on Carlos Beltran’s fly to center field. 

“He just didn't get it out good. He made a great throw to the plate the play before. He just couldn't get it out of his glove. He just couldn't get the exchange down right,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

Mark Teixeira walked, and Gardner scored on Brian McCann’s single to right. Starlin Castro bounced to the mound, but Wilson (1-1) threw the ball past Davis at first for a two-base error as Teixiera scored.

“That’s probably the thing that upsets me most about the outing. Obviously we practice and do that all the time, and there’s no excuse for that. I pushed the ball into the ground, made a good grip, and then threw it into the ground. Stayed low, threw it, did everything the way we always practice it. I just didn't execute. That’s 100 percent on me,” Wilson said. 

The Orioles (15-11) had plenty of opportunities against CC Sabathia, who recorded his 19th win against them. 

They hit into three double plays, and had just one runner on third base. In the fifth, Jonathan Schoop doubled, and one out, Ryan Flaherty singled, but Schoop stayed at third as Joey Rickard and Manny Machado struck out.
 
“That’s kind of been the way things have been going for us lately. We’ve had a few games where we’ve been able to score some runs early and capitalize on those opportunities but for the most part, we’re not getting the job done when we have runners in scoring position," Davis said.

"I think the biggest thing to remember is to stay the course.  We’re playing really good ball defensively right now. I think we’re throwing the ball really well right now and we’re keeping ourselves in the game and we all know the bats are going to heat up when the weather is not raining and cold and it warms up a bit,” Davis said. 

It got worse in the eighth. T.J. McFarland gave up a leadoff double to Beltran, walked Teixiera and left with the score 5-0 after McCann doubled to right and advance to third on the throw. Didi Gregorius’ single made it 6-0.
 
Dylan Bundy loaded the bases with two outs, and hit Gardner with a 3-2 pitch. New York (9-16) led 7-0. 

Sabathia (2-2), who barely made New York’s rotation out of spring training, allowed six hits in seven innings. 

“I think over the years, he’s really had to pitch more. His velocity is obviously not where it used to be, but he knows how to pitch. You don’t stay in this game that long not knowing how to pitch,” Davis said. 

Kirby Yates loaded the bases in the eighth with one out, but Dellin Betances struck out Davis and retired Mark Trumbo on a foul pop to third. 

Showalter felt Wilson pitched decently. 

“I thought he was pretty good period. He had a wet ball that he couldn’t get a grip on. He did his part. He was good. He pitched well. We just didn’t score any runs. It’s one of those nights where if even at three, if we can score some … I choose to look at the outing like it really was. He was good. We’ll take that,” Showalter said. 

NOTES: The crowd was the smallest for a Yankees-Orioles game in Baltimore since Sept. 27, 1988 when 15,737 watched at Memorial Stadium. … The Orioles were shut out for the second time this season while New York recorded its first shutout. … Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 2.87) pitches against Kevin Gausman (0-1, 2.45) on Thursday night. 

While Hardy's out, Machado won't move around

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While Hardy's out, Machado won't move around

BALTIMORE – While J.J. Hardy is out, expect Manny Machado to play one position, either shortstop or third base, but not both. 

“I don’t want to go back and forth with Manny. I want him to concentrate on shortstop until J.J. gets back potentially. That’s one way to look at it,” Showalter said. 

“Or you play third and don’t think about shortstop anymore. I think that’s the conclusion we came to talking to him is that I don’t want to start going back and forth even though he’s played a lot of shortstop in the shift and played a lot in his career. It’s a different preparation. You need to have respect for the player’s preparation to play a position on a given night.” 

Showalter knows that Machado or Chris Davis would willingly switch positions, and they have, but he doesn’t want to weaken one spot to strengthen another. 

“No one asks a player’s opinion, what his thoughts are in a perfect world if you’re not going to be swayed by what they think,” Showalter said. 

For now, Showalter is fine with who he has in the infield, but that’s as long as there’s not an injury. 

“We’re one tweak of something away from having to make a move. We can get through that game,” Showalter said. “You can rectify it overnight.” 

NOTES: Norfolk INF Trey Mancini was named the Orioles’ Minor League Player of the Month for April. Delmarva LHP Garrett Cleavinger is the Pitcher of the Month.