O's ace building a strong Cy Young case
Erik Bedard prefers to avoid the media, but his dominance this season is making it difficult for him to remain anonymous.
Much of what makes Erik Bedard so talented is also what enables him to successfully shield himself from the public eye. The Orioles' ace is consistently stubborn, whether it's on the field, in the clubhouse or with the media. He's also one of the best pitchers in baseball you know the least about. If it's up to him, the O's left-hander wants to keep it that way."I don't want to reveal anything about myself," says Bedard, who's revered by teammates. "If you want a quote, don't come to me. I won't give it to you. Anything baseballwise, that's fine. Other than that, don't ask me any other questions. I don't want my life to be out there." "Baseballwise" is the reason why anyone cares. Bedard is on an incredible streak. He hasn't lost in 12 starts, dating to June 15, a span in which he has a 2.19 ERA. He leads the league with 207 strikeouts -- 33 more than second-place Johan Santana -- but has just 12 wins. Devil Rays outfielder Carl Crawford recently told reporters that Bedard's stuff is so good, he uses just two pitches to get him out. Pitching coach Leo Mazzone says Bedard throws a "four-way fastball," meaning he throws a power fastball, a sinking fastball, a cut fastball and what Mazzone calls a comebacker. Bedard has two variations of a curveball, and he's working on improving his changeup. But it's his ability to throw two pitches six different ways that has hitters batting a league-low .210 against him this year. And since June 15, he's struck out 104 batters while allowing just 49 hits. "He's been pretty much been doing that to the entire league," Derek Jeter told reporters after another dominant outing by Bedard on Wednesday, holding the Yankees scoreless through seven innings for a no-decision. Not that fans will be hearing much about, well, any of it. Bedard insists his formal interaction with the media -- which is horrible at best, and nonexistent at worst -- will never change, much to the chagrin of team officials, who have begged him to be more available. "It's not acceptable" to avoid the media, Orioles vice president of baseball operations Jim Duquette says, "but for some reason he thinks it is."
He's very, very private. He's not a [bad] guy. He just doesn't like people asking him obvious, stupid questions.
-- Orioles manager Dave Trembley on Erik Bedard
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