Down on the farm – A night at the Shorebirds game
So Monday night the wife and I headed up to Salisbury to check out the Delmarva Shorebirds in action against the Kannapolis Intimidators.
It was $2 night at the stadium; meaning general admission tickets were $2. Hard to beat that deal. While the Shorebirds lost 5-3, the main reason I wanted to head up to the game was to check out the Orioles’ top draft pick last year, shortstop Manny Machado.
I think I can safely say that if you’re an O’s fan in the area, head over to Perdue Stadium now, because Machado isn’t likely to be at Delmarva very long.
Machado didn’t disappoint Monday night, going 3 for 4 with two singles and a double. Clearly he made an impression on the Intimidators. Up by two runs in the ninth inning, with runners on second and third with two outs, Kannapolis chose to walk Machado intentionally to load the bases. They didn’t want to take their chances with him.
There’s a lot to like about Machado if you’re an O’s fan. He’s got good size at 6’2 and is very smooth fielding the shortstop position. He’s got a very natural swing. You can see the Alex Rodriguez comparisons in how easily the game comes to him, besides the fact that Machado and A-Rod are both from south Florida and are of Hispanic heritage.
At only 18 years of age, there’s plenty of time for Machado to put on 15 to 20 pounds of muscle to fill out his 180-pound frame en route to Baltimore. The kid looks like a keeper.
Another player I had my eye on was Mike Flacco, the Shorebirds first baseman and brother of Ravens and former Blue Hens quarterback Joe Flacco.
Flacco the baseball player looks to be a little bit more of a project than Machado. He’s the spitting image of his brother from afar: tall (6’6) and gangly. Watching Flacco, the name that came to mind, as far as what you would ideally like him to be, was Richie Sexson, another tall, skinny right-handed-hitting first baseman who was a big-time power hitter in the early 2000s.
But it doesn’t look like Flacco has quite developed that part of his game yet, and unlike the teenage Machado, Flacco is almost 24, so this year may be a make or break year for him as far as reaching the major league level goes. The South Atlantic League is generally more of a pitcher’s league, but it’s important Flacco shows some pop in his bat this season.
I also wanted to note that finally – FINALLY! – the Shorebirds replaced the light bulbs in the primary scoreboard in left field. For the last few years, you could barely read the names and numbers on that scoreboard, it looked very amateurish, to say the least. The new board is much clearer and brighter; you can read the names and see the score easily. So kudos to Shorebirds management for that one.