Good morning, Camden Chatters.
Though there obviously are still a number of obstacles that could be thrown in its way, the 2021 MLB season is almost starting to feel...real.
Pitchers and catchers are set to report in four days. Spring training games begin at the end of this month. And yesterday, MLB announced the regular season game times for all 30 teams. So, it looks like we’re doing this thing! 162 games or bust!
Notably, the Orioles’ schedule features 6:35 start times for all weeknight games in April, May, and September, a shift the club had originally planned for the 2020 season before the pandemic struck. The comparatively early start time was designed to allow families with children to attend more games on school nights. So the fact that the O’s are trying it again this year indicates that they expect to allow fans into the ballpark, though the club hasn’t made an official announcement about how many will be permitted to attend.
The O’s also have a number of weekday afternoon games on their slate — eight of ‘em in all, including Memorial Day and Labor Day, as well as the home opener April 8. There’s also a Sept. 16 game that starts at 5 pm, for reasons I can’t discern.
Granted, with COVID-19 still ravaging the country, this schedule could still change at any time. Last year’s originally planned 162-game slate was of course shortened to 60, and even that original 60-gamer was upended within the season’s first week, as a coronavirus outbreak on the Marlins turned an Orioles scheduled series in Miami into a home series against the Yankees.
Time will tell how much of this 2021 schedule will actually play out as planned. But for now, it looks nice to see it all in print.
Orioles 2021 prospect rankings: Keith Law on Baltimore’s top 20 – The Athletic
Keith Law ranks the Birds’ top 20 prospects, and he’s definitely the high man on Adam Hall, whom he ranks sixth (compared to MLB Pipeline’s 16th), ahead of even Gunnar Henderson. Here’s hoping his optimism on Hall proves to be well founded.
Norfolk Tides to remain Orioles’ affiliate for another decade - The Virginian-Pilot
Good news: the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate is officially locked in for 10 more years. That’ll keep the O’s from having to relegate their minor leaguers to, like, Ottawa. (Remember those lean years?)
Orioles look for leadoff hitter, DH; Núñez signs minor league contract with Tigers - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff suggest Cedric Mullins as the Orioles’ most likely leadoff hitter, which would surprise me because I don’t foresee him even being an everyday player. My choice would be Austin Hays, but nobody asked me.
Why does Camden Yards have a Ruth statue? - Orioles.com
I would’ve simply answered this, “Because he was born in Baltimore, duh,” and stopped writing. But Joe Trezza, being more professional, goes into much more detail about the Bambino’s early connections with the city.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three All-Star Orioles pitchers were born on this day: right-hander Jerry Walker (82), stress-inducing closer Don “Full Pack” Stanhouse (70), and the late Pat Dobson (b. 1942, d. 2006). Dobson’s two-year stint in Baltimore was a referendum on the uselessness of win-loss stats for pitchers; in 1971, he went 20-8 — one of the Birds’ four 20-game winners that year — yet in 1972, he had a league-worst 16 losses despite making the All-Star team and having an identical ERA+ as the previous year.
Today is also the birthday of two guys who combined for just 11 games with the Orioles: catcher Chris Snyder and outfielder Adam Stern, who turn 40 and 41, respectively.
On this day in 1987, the Orioles signed two-time All-Star Ray Knight, fresh off winning World Series MVP honors with the Mets, to be their new third baseman. It didn’t work out. Knight posted a mediocre .683 OPS for an O’s club that lost 95 games, then was traded to the Tigers after the season.