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The headline in today’s posting comes from what Orioles manager Dave Trembley told the media last week in breaking the bad news to backup catcher Chad Moeller that he was being removed from the roster to make room for the phenom Matt Wieters. If the 32-year-old Moeller doesn’t get picked up by another major league team by the end of this weekend, he will report to Baltimore’s Norfolk, Virginia Triple-A International League team. Moeller handled pitchers well and though his batting average didn’t show it, he could drive the ball well at times though not often enough to keep his place. On Saturday night Wieters got his first major league hit in his second game; the 6' 5" inch catcher legged out a triple to dead center field. The hype in long-suffering Baltimore has been excessive but Wieters seems to have a sense of modesty and understanding that it is a long season and no rookie can ever be a savior.

Trembley has the Orioles thinking and playing well and in a gesture of genuine paternalism Orioles owner Peter Angelos provided a private jet on Saturday so the manager could fly to his son’s high school graduation in Daytona Beach and be back in time not to miss any games. The suddenly hot Orioles, buoyed by an influx of young starting pitchers who throw strikes and a home run binge by dh Luke Scott, had won five in a row until Detroit cooled them off Saturday and Sunday.

One of the many surprises of this unpredictable season so far is the Tigers starting rotation that after a disastrous 2008 has been outstanding so far with the young ace Justin Verlander regaining his form of a couple of years ago. Former LA Dodger and Tampa Bay hurler Edwin Jackson has also stepped up, shutting out the Birds on two hits over eight innings yesterday. As the former Tigers (and Big Red Machine Cincinnati) manager Sparky Anderson once put it: “If you don’t have pitching, you have nothing.”

Speaking of pitching, Texas and Boston College played a 25-inning game in the NCAA regional tournament in Austin Saturday night. Breaking the previous college baseball record of 23 innings set in 1971, Texas finally won 4-3 with one of their pitchers, Austin Wood, throwing 169 pitches in relief. One Boston College hurler Mike Belfiore threw 129 pitches in his 13 innings of work. The netroots at espn.com are aflame with criticism of veteran Texas coach Augie Garrido and young Boston College coach Mik Aoki for allowing the pitchers, both prospects likely to be chosen in the June 9 Major League Baseball amateur draft, to allow this workload. The criticism seems warranted, especially since both teams were undefeated in the regional and it was not an elimination game.

Boston College did get knocked out of the tourney last night, losing to surprise contender Army who face Texas tonight for the right to move on to this weekend’s super-regional that will decide the eight teams to play in the College World Series in Omaha. Any story on baseball brings to mind Branch Rickey who in early July will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in Lubbock, Texas. Rickey had great success coaching baseball both at Ohio Wesleyan and the University of Michigan. He would be pleased to see Army doing so well in this year’s tournament because the World War II Brooklyn Dodgers often used West Point’s indoor facilities for spring training. Before Duke Snider emerged in the farm system, Rickey toyed with the idea of signing Army’s football All-American running back Glenn Davis to play center field in Brooklyn.

Today will be my only post of the week because I’m off shortly to the annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture co-sponsored by the Hall of Fame and the State University of New York at Oneonta. Am part of a panel of law professors on the subject, "Trust, Anti-Trust and Curt Flood." This will be my first presentation at the symposium though I spoke at the first Hall of Fame’s Authors panel last August.

I have always said that Cooperstown is the greatest place in the world for baseball not to have been invented. The only shortcoming of this conference is that it occurs a few weeks before the opening of the New York-Penn League Class A short minor league season. Oneonta is just a picturesque half-hour's drive south of Cooperstown on route 28. A trip to Damaschke Field located within bucolic Niewha Park should be on any baseball fan’s “must do” list.

I am sure that I will return with new insights and more wonderful stories about the longest-running repertory theater company we ever created in this country, the baseball season. So until next week, Ciao for now!

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