Season In Review: The Tides finished the season with a 66-76 record, placing them in third place in the International League South Division. Norfolk finished 20.0 games back of the Durham Bulls, who posted an 86-56 record.
Tidal Surge: Over the final 45 games of the season, Norfolk went 26-19, the 3rd-best mark in the International League over that span. The Tides played 13 series over that span, winning six, splitting five and dropping just two.
Silver Season: 2017 was the 25th season of baseball at Harbor Park, which opened its doors in 1993. Prior to the 2017 season, fans voted on an All-Harbor Park Team to commemorate the best players and executives to appear with the Tides. The team consisted of C Matt Wieters, 1B Christian Walker, 2B Jonathan Schoop, 3B Butch Huskey, SS Jose Réyes, OF Dariel Álvarez, OF Jeromy Burnitz, OF Angel Pagan, P Jake Arrieta, P Zach Britton, P Jason Isringhausen, P Chris Tillman, Utility David Wright, Manager Ron Johnson and General Manager Dave Rosenfield.
Gone But Not Forgotten: Longtime Tides General Manager Dave Rosenfield passed away on February 28th at the age of 87 years old. Rosenfield joined the Tides in 1962 and served as the club's GM from 1963-2011, and he continued to work in the front office until his passing. A member of three Halls of Fame (Virginia Sports HOF, International League HOF, Hampton Roads Sports HOF), Rosenfield was also named the King of Baseball at the Baseball Winter Meetings in 2004. 2017 was the first season without Rosenfield since 1961 - the inaugural year of the Tides franchise.
Opening Exhibit: The Tides and Orioles kicked off the 2017 season with an Exhibition Game at Harbor Park on Friday, March 31st. The teams played to a 3-3 tie in front of 8,729 fans on a rainy Friday afternoon at Harbor Park, as J.J. Hardy homered and Ryan Flaherty added two RBI for the parent club. The exhibition contest was the fifth time the Orioles have played in Norfolk since the Tides became Baltimore's Triple-A affiliate prior to the 2007 season.
This Is Birdland: The Tides had 60 different players appear in a game in 2017, including 25 players that appeared on the active roster for both Norfolk and Baltimore. That list includes pitchers Jayson Aquino, Alec Asher, Richard Bleier, Stefan Crichton, Paul Fry, Donnie Hart, Edwin Jackson, Vidal Nuño, Richard Rodriguez, Chris Tillman (MLB Rehab), Logan Verrett, Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Jimmy Yacabonis and Mike Wright, infielders Pedro Álvarez, Johnny Giavotella, J.J. Hardy (MLB Rehab), Paul Janish, Rubén Tejada and David Washington, outfielders Craig Gentry and Joey Rickard, and catchers Francisco Peña and Chance Sisco. Stefan Crichton, Richard Rodriguez, Jimmy Yacabonis, David Washington and Chance Sisco all made their Major League debuts.
Changing Tides: The Tides made 226 roster moves in 2017, matching a franchise record previously set during the 2012 campaign. The Tides had 61 different players appear on the active roster, 60 of whom appeared in a game (RHP Joe Gunkel did not appear in a game before being traded in early April).
Family Matters: Tides manager Ron Johnson had a familiar face on the infield in 2017, as his son, Chris, played in 62 games with Norfolk. Chris suffered a broken arm after being hit by a pitch in the third game of the season, but he returned in late June and ended his season hitting .301 with 17 doubles, 10 home runs and 36 RBI in 62 games. The Johnsons were the first father/son managerial combo in the International League since Kash Beauchamp played for his father Jim with the Richmond Braves in 1988-89.
Pedro Power: Veteran slugger Pedro Álvarez was named as the designated hitter on the International League's postseason All-Star team. Álvarez ranked among IL leaders in games (1st, 138), at-bats (1st, 547), total bases (1st, 242), extra-base hits (1st, 58), RBI (T-2nd, 89), home runs (5th, 26) and doubles (T-5th, 31). The 26 home runs and 89 RBI were the most by a Tides player since Norfolk became an Orioles affiliate prior to the 2007 season, and the 26 homers were the 5th-most by a Tide in franchise history.
Double Threat: Drew Dosch paced the International League with 36 doubles, the second consecutive season a Tide has led the IL in doubles (Dariel Álvarez paced the circuit with 38 doubles in 2016). Dosch's 36 doubles were the 5th-most in franchise history, a mark made more impressive by the fact that he did not join the Tides from Double-A Bowie until April 19th - Norfolk's 13th game of the season. The Youngstown State University product belted 39 doubles between the Tides and Baysox in 2017, a mark that tied for seventh in all of Minor League Baseball.
Star Gazing: Norfolk had three players selected to the midseason All-Star team, as IF Johnny Giavotella, C Chance Sisco and RHP Jimmy Yacabonis were named to the squad. Giavotella did not play in the contest due to a promotion to Baltimore, Sisco went 0-for-2 in the contest, while Yacabonis retired the only two batters he faced in the Pacific Coast League's 6-4 victory.
Yacabonis Incentives: In his first season at the Triple-A level, RHP Jimmy Yacabonis went 4-0 with 11 saves and a 1.32 ERA in 41 relief appearances. Yacabonis led IL relievers with a .144 opponents' batting average, a mark that was 38 points lower than the next-closest qualifier (Durham's Andrew Kittredge limited opponents to a .182 average). Yacabonis did not allow a run in 35 of his 41 appearances, and he posted a .084 ERA (3 ER, 32.1 IP) in 22 outings at Harbor Park. The Saint Joseph's University product also made his MLB debut in 2017 when he pitched for Baltimore at Yankee Stadium on June 11th.
The Sisco Kid: Catcher Chance Sisco entered the season ranked as the #1 prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America and MLB.com. The 22-year-old backstop more than held his own in his first action at the Triple-A level, as he hit .267 with 23 doubles, seven home runs, 47 RBI and a .340 on-base percentage. He batted .321 in June and .317 in July, and he was chosen to participate in both the Triple-A All-Star Game and the MLB Futures Game. He had his contract selected by Baltimore on September 1st and made his MLB debut on September 2nd.
Weekly Winners: Norfolk had two players named International League Players of the Week, as RHP Alec Asher was named the IL Pitcher of the Week on August 21st, while IF Luis Sardiñas earned the Batter of the Week award on September 4th.
Sardiñ-Yes: In the 50 games after the All-Star break, infielder Luis Sardiñas hit .375 (66-176), the 2nd-best mark in the International League over that span. The 24-year-old, who was claimed off waivers from San Diego on May 24th, had 21 multi-hit games and posted a .415 on-base percentage after the All-Star break.
It's Good To Be Rich: RHP Richard Rodriguez posted a 1.87 ERA in 41 relief appearances in 2017 (he also made one start), and he ranked among IL relievers in opponent's average (4th, .215), fewest baserunners per 9 IP (4th, 9.49) and lowest walks per 9 IP (5th, 2.00). In 103 career appearances over three seasons with Norfolk, the 27-year-old right-hander has posted a 2.61 ERA (50 ER, 172.2 IP), the 2nd-lowest ERA among qualifying players since Norfolk became an O's affiliate in 2007, trailing Oliver Drake's 1.85 ERA. Rodriguez had his contract selected by Baltimore on September 1st and he made his MLB debut on September 2nd vs. Toronto.
David Is Goliath: 1B/OF David Washington ranked second on the Tides with 18 home runs, and he ranked fourth in the International League with a .478 on-base percentage. Washington put together Norfolk's longest hitting streak (16 games) and on-base stretch (30 games) in 2017, and he owned the longest road hitting streak (19 games) for any player in the IL. Over his 30-game on-base stretch from May 21st - July 4th, Washington hit .348 (39-112) with nine home runs, nine doubles and 20 RBI. The 26-year-old also made his MLB debut in 2017 when he got the start at designated hitter on June 14th at Chicago.
Johnny Be Great: Infielder Johnny Giavotella was selected for the Triple-A All-Star Game, but did not play in the contest due to his promotion to Baltimore on July 6th. At the time of his promotion, Giavotella was leading the International League with 102 hits, as he registered a hit in 66 of the 83 games he played in. At the time of his call-up, he also ranked among league leaders in doubles (2nd, 22), at-bats (2nd, 233), games (T-3rd, 83), total bases (3rd, 147) and batting average (4th, .306).
This Is SportsCenter: The Tides had four different plays appear on ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10 Plays, including three in a five-day span in late July. Chris Johnson's leaping catch was named as the #10 play on July 24th, while Mike Yastrzemski made outstanding catches that appeared as the #1 play on July 27th and the #3 play on July 28th. Drew Dosch made a diving catch against the tarp on August 24th that was ranked as the #3 play on that night's Top 10 countdown.
Happy To Assist: Outfielder Logan Schafer tied for the International League lead with 11 outfield assists. Schafer also ranked among league leaders in triples (T-3rd, 6) and sacrifice bunts (2nd, 14).
The Wright Stuff: Mike Wright made 16 starts with the Tides in 2017, giving him 70 starts in a Norfolk uniform - tied with RHP Chris Tillman for the most by a Tide as an Orioles affiliate. Since Norfolk became an O's affiliate, Wright ranks among pitchers in wins (3rd, 22), strikeouts (3rd, 287) and innings pitched (382.2).
Walking-Off Winners: The Tides had 12 walk-off wins at Harbor Park in 2017, including walk-off homers from David Washington (5/31 vs. PAW), Mike Yastrzemski (7/30 vs. COL) and Chris Johnson (8/17 vs. LHV). 49 of Norfolk's 71 home games were decided by two runs or less, with the Tides going 19-13 in one-run games at home.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.