Bitter Orioles fan that I am, I can't honestly claim a lot of interest in the first home game of the spring training schedule. It's going to be televised on MASN tonight, though, so why not watch? Even if it doesn't count, and even if it's against the Pirates, it's the first live Orioles baseball of the calendar year. That's worth something!
Here are some things that are going to happen tonight:
* Brady Anderson is going to throw out the ceremonial first pitch
* The first 1,000 female fans in attendance will receive a Bird of Paradise flower (courtesy of Beneva Flowers)
* Tenor Joshua Kohl, currently performing as Edgardo in Lucia Di Lammermoor with the Sarasota Opera, will perform the Star-Spangled Banner
* Every construction worker involved in the renovation of the Baseball Operations Center has been given a pair of tickets to the game
There is also going to be a game played. In a matchup between two left-handed starting pitchers who spent last year sucking for the Orioles, Brian Matusz will start against Jo-Jo Reyes. It's early in spring training, so these guys will only be throwing like two innings anyway. Still, Steve Melewski tells us that it's a good sign that Buck has confidence in Matusz's progression that he is starting this "home opener" on TV.
Let's look at the lineup he'll be facing: Alex Presley LF, Josh Harrison SS, Yamaico Navarro 2B, Matt Hague DH, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Gorkys Hernandez CF, Garrett Jones 1B, Starling Marte RF, Michael McKenry C
If you've heard of any of these guys other than Alvarez, give yourself a star. Marte is Baseball America's #72 prospect heading into this year.
Wilson Betemit played with the "B" team in an afternoon game against the Rays. It seems there is an unwritten rule that teams are supposed to send at least three "regulars" for each spring road game, and one of these was Betemit. Plug him in at DH and you could be looking at your Opening Day lineup, depending on the health of Nick Markakis, who, last I heard, could swing a bat but not bend over to field baseballs.
Spring is here, even if there was snow briefly sighted in the Baltimore area today. We know it's spring because there's baseball on TV. Play ball!