It's common practice during the preseason for Major League teams to host college teams in charity events. It's a good way to generate money and give these kids a look at some professional players first hand. What's not normal, however, is the big league team losing the game.
For the Baltimore Orioles, who played the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota chapter, in what is loosely being called a “controlled scrimmage”, the aforementioned 'not normal' became a reality as the Manatee's edged out the pros 2-1 Tuesday in a stunted 8-inning game.
To the Orioles credit, however, this embarrassing loss wasn't without some mitigating factors. Besides only being 8 innings, the Manatee's used some pitchers and a catcher from the Orioles roster. The State College also had the advantage of only facing Baltimore stars J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters only a couple of bats a piece, as they only played about five innings.
But these things aside, credit has to be given to the Manatee squad who eked out two runs against Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel. Hammel, who has put in 734 career innings in the pros, allowed two runs and three hits over five innings.
For the Manatee's, they were led by freshman Orlando Rivera who went 2-for-3 with a stolen base, scoring the winning run on a wild pitch in the fifth inning. After the game, most of the winners were very gracious about the whole thing, thanking the Orioles for the game.
"I would not claim it as a 'W,'" FCS assistant coach Tim Hill II said. "For us, we're so down on pitching right now with four conference games this week. Fortunately for us, they were very understanding. … The game is all about pitching and defense. So for them to be able to provide the pitching was nice. But at the same time, I thought our guys handled the baseball."
Rivera, the star of the day, however, did have one last parting shot for Baltimore to chew on.
"A 'W' is a 'W'," he said. "Even though we didn't have our own pitchers, a 'W' is a 'W' … You gotta take the 'W'."