Monday, August 30, 2010

Eulogy for Bluefield

Andy MacPhail has announced that next year the Bluefield Orioles will be no more. From a development standpoint, this will not have a huge impact of the Baltimore Orioles. If they maintain the rest of their minor league teams, they will still have 8, which is plenty.

But from a historical perspective, it's a sad decision. The Orioles have had a 53-year partnership with Bluefield and a ton of Baltimore Orioles started their career in southern West Virginia including Cal Ripken, Jr., Eddie Murray, Boog Powell and Don Baylor. That's the oldest minor league affiliation in baseball and now it will be gone. They won nine Appalachian League championships as an Oriole affiliate. Joe Altobelli managed there as well.

This too shall pass and the Orioles will move on. But the end of this historic relationship deserves a bit more than flippant comments like this:

Yes, Bluefield and the Orioles had plenty of history. But it is tough to get too worked up about this one.

Wow, Dan Connolly, really? There was obviously more to his post but this comment pretty much sums up the tone. Bluefield deserves more than casual dismissal. I get that a lot of fans (or writers) don't care about the minor leagues or team history and Connolly is an MLB writer who, he admits, has never been to Bluefield. But I would expect more historical awareness from a Baltimore native.

I finally got out to Bluefield this summer but the game got rained out. I managed to snap a few pictures of the stadium and stand on the historic field. I am very bummed that I never got to see a game there but was happy I got to visit this little piece of Orioles history. Here's the pics of Bowen Field from this past July:


Anonymous said...

Very sad day for Bluefield. Oriole baseball is the one thing you could always count on in the summer. I have moved away from there many years ago but still return home at least 4 times a year to watch the "Baby Birds". We also follow them from our new home whenever they are playing in the Greenville Tn., Tri Cities area. This year alone we saw them play 12 games. They will be missed and no other team will ever be able to replace them. 53 years comes to a sad end.

DempseysArmy said...

Thanks for the comment. I would imagine this will be quite the loss for the citizens of Bluefield.