There are now just 31 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. The uniform number 31 was in use in 2019 by Jimmy Yacabonis and belongs to Cedric Mullins in 2020 spring training. It’s also been used over the years by Ubaldo Jimenez and Jay Gibbons.
After this weekend, we are two games into the Orioles exhibition schedule. None of the results mean anything, but since we haven’t had even results that don’t count for the Orioles since September, it feels like what happens means something.
It’s also more fun when a meaningless game goes well than when it doesn’t, so it’s nice that the O’s thrashed the road Red Sox squad with an 11-5 win yesterday. The score was 11-1 heading into the ninth inning, and then Evan Phillips was bad.
Among the other results that will be erased before the regular season, Chris Davis drew a pair of walks and picked up an opposite field bloop single. The reality for Davis is that he’s stunk so much lately that it’s going to take a whole lot more than that for anyone to seriously feel like he’s “back” - but maybe eventually he’ll hit a real pitch from MLB-caliber pitching with authority and at least give us reason to wonder.
Last year’s #1 overall pick, Adley Rutschman, popped in for a a couple of at-bats towards the end of the 11-5 win as well. He had one flyout and one groundout. The MASN duo of the day, Scott Garceau and Ben McDonald, noted that he seemed to “just miss” really clobbering the flyout. This doesn’t mean anything yet either.
The victory also generated what may well be the motto for the 2020 Orioles, from this answer from yesterday’s starting pitcher, Wade LeBlanc, one of the veterans vying for an O’s rotation spot to start the year:
Wade LeBlanc on competing for a job with the #Orioles : "I'm 35. If they don't know who I am as far as a pitcher, we got problems. I’m not trying to impress anybody at this stage."— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) February 23, 2020
“I’m not trying to impress anybody at this stage” - yeah. It’s just perfect.
In fairness to LeBlanc, MASN’s Steve Melewski transcribed the quote as “You are not really looking to impress anybody at this stage,” referring to pitching so early in spring training, which is not nearly as funny of a response out of context. LeBlanc pitched two scoreless innings to start yesterday’s game.
Yesterday’s result evens out the O’s Grapefruit League record at 1-1. The O’s play the Phillies on the road at 1:05 today. If you are able to watch MLB Network wherever the early afternoon finds you, you’ll be able to see this one on TV. This will be the first spring game action for Alex Cobb. Showing that he’s healthy is probably all anyone really wants to see from him this spring.
Around the blogO’sphere
How the O’s from 2014 draft class bonded (MLB.com)
A neat look at one of the aspects of baseball that fans don’t think about often - how a number of guys who move up the ranks together form bonds.
After season of improving pitches, Akin ready to put that to work (Steve Melewski)
Melewski notes that Akin went from throwing 80% fastballs with Bowie in 2018 to close to 50% last year in Norfolk. A lot of people should have lost their jobs sooner than they did!
Jose Iglesias traded a baseball for an Orioles cap in Cuba 21 years ago. Now he’s their shortstop. (Baltimore Sun)
Iglesias was asked about this same story in an in-game interview on MASN yesterday. It’s great. It probably won’t be the last time we hear about it this season.
Meet Ryan McKenna ... or is that Tony Stark? (Orioles.com)
Ryan McKenna doesn’t particularly look like Robert Downey Jr. or Downey Jr. as Tony Stark specifically, but I won’t knock the headline writer for this Q&A for indulging that answer anyway.
Rondon right in the thick of utility competition (School of Roch)
Quite a few utility infield-types have shuffled on and back off the roster over the course of this offseason. The Orioles will have a lot of choices for this role - hopefully at least one of them is a good or semi-decent choice.
Orioles outright Richard Urena (MLBTR)
Speaking of utility infield candidates who’ve come and gone from the 40-man roster... Urena was outrighted but also invited back to camp, so the O’s now have 69 players on the camp roster. That is many players.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
One current Oriole has a birthday today. Happy 25th to catcher Chance Sisco. It’s also the birthday of Orioles legend, and baseball Hall of Famer, Eddie Murray, who is turning 64 today. A special happy birthday to him.
The other former Orioles with birthdays today are 2015 reserve Chris Parmelee and 2007 seven-game catcher Gustavo Molina.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your non-Orioles birthday buddies for today include: Revolutionary War loser John Burgoyne (1722), Brothers Grimm brother Wilhelm Grimm (1786), baseball Hall of Famer Honus Wagner (1874), five-star admiral Chester Nimitz (1885), musician George Thorogood (1950), game designer Sid Meier (1954), Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (1955). and comedian Mitch Hedberg (1968).
On this day in history...
In 1582, the pope of the day, Gregory XIII, issued a bull titled Inter gravissimas, which announced coming changes to the common calendar. The Gregorian calendar that bears his name is still in use today.
In 1803, the Supreme Court decided the case of Marbury v. Madison, establishing the precedent that the Court may determine laws to be unconstitutional.
In 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached by the House of Representatives, which passed 11 articles against him largely involving an attempt to replace Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, in defiance of a law passed by Congress to protect Lincoln’s Cabinet.
In 1917, during World War I, the American ambassador to the United Kingdom, Walter Hines Page, was given the Zimmermann Telegram. The secret German document sought to incite a Mexican invasion of America if America joined the war, with Germany promising Mexico would recover Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
In 1980, the US Olympic hockey team defeated Finland 4-2 to win the gold medal. The famous victory over the Soviet Union happened two days prior.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on February 24 - or at least, until something happens later down in Florida. Have a safe Monday.