A staple of many martial arts movies is the training montage where the wizened old master sets the novice to some mundane task such as carrying buckets of water up a hill. Then, to truly test the apprentice's ability to maintain focus and concentration, he will make sure to arrange everything he can to distract the apprentice from his task.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter doesn't have any black belts, but he nonetheless brought the spirit of this kind of training to camp on Friday, setting out to distract fielders in fly-ball drills with noise piped in over the sound system. He picked the loudest baseball stadium crowd you're going to find, which is a loop of Oriole Park at Camden Yards as Delmon Young hit the go-ahead double in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Tigers.
As J.J. Hardy told O's reporters later, "the stadium won't get that loud for a pop-up." It certainly never hurts to be prepared. Some video of Showalter conducting the drills, complete with noise, shared by MASN Orioles on Youtube:
This noise was so loud that a neighbor called police to complain about it. The difference between spring training and the regular season. Perhaps they should have warned the neighborhood ahead of time, but then again, who's going to call to complain about noise from a baseball field in the middle of a Friday morning? A crotchety, joyless retiree, one assumes, though it might have been a different sort of person.
There were also drills to prep outfielders on playing ground balls off of the fence. Those were far less noisy. Baltimore Sun beat writer Eduardo Encina put together a time-lapse video of that:
There are a few guys out there. Makes sense, since the Orioles will probably use a few different right fielders throughout the season.
They have to get in the drills when they can, because once the Grapefruit League schedule starts up, it'll be more about tuning up in games. Their first game-like preparation will be Sunday's intrasquad game, which will be held at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, though it is unfortunately closed to the public. We'll all be limited to following beat writer tweets until they get bored of the mundanity and start talking about ice cream.
Both the home and "away" Orioles squads are scheduled to use six pitchers as the game progresses.
Home: Zach Britton, Ryan Webb, Mark Hendrickson, Tim Berry, Tyler Wilson, Chaz Roe
Away: T.J. McFarland, Wesley Wright, Mike Wright, Jason Garcia, Logan Verrett, Hunter Harvey
It'd be a surprise if more than four of those names are on the Opening Day roster, but hey, it's an Orioles game. Well, sorta.
To go along with the news that Ubaldo Jimenez will be starting the first spring training game against another team, today we learned that Kevin Gausman will start the first home spring training game. That will be Wednesday afternoon against the Tigers. It'll be on 105.7 in the Baltimore area.
Most importantly, the Orioles have made it through the early days of spring without any injuries. You may need to go knock on wood immediately after reading the previous sentence, as I have done after typing it. Or better yet, go outside, turn around three times, spit, and curse. Do everything. Go. Go! This is only the first of many times that video will be linked on Camden Chat this year.
The first spring training game is now four days away, minus a few hours. Opening Day is 38 days away. Baseball is coming.