There are now 42 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. That’s six weeks away. Hey, we’re getting there! Pitchers and catchers reported earlier in the week and had their first workout day yesterday. The remaining players have another three days to report, with the first full squad workout set for the coming Monday.
The early days of spring training are not full of exciting happenings even in a typical year. That will be even more true this year because the necessity of continuing pandemic precautions means that some of the typical stand-bys of the early days, like reporters taking distant video of groups of pitchers throwing bullpen sessions side-by-side, will not be present. Reporters are not allowed into the workouts at all and have to catch up with whoever is made available over Zoom.
Some teams have posted short videos of bullpens and other workouts to their team Twitter pages throughout the afternoon. The Orioles posted no videos while there was still action going on but did leave us with this, which will have to be good enough:
And for anyone out there who was just dying to see Félix Hernández in action in an Orioles uniform, Sun beat writer Jon Meoli dug through the b-roll footage the team provided to media to get a screenshot for you:
This, from the team’s b-roll spring training footage, is Félix Hernández pitching in a Baltimore Orioles uniform. pic.twitter.com/5X2Q9EaEMU— Jon Meoli (@JonMeoli) February 17, 2021
As to whether he ever wears an O’s uniform in the regular season... well, that’s going to be part of what’s figured out in spring training. I have to figure a pitcher with King Felix’s level of fame would have the inside track to claim an open rotation spot if he can show he has anything at all left in the tank.
It may be the case that he does not. Independent information of how he’s pitching is going to be hard to come by due to the aforementioned lack of reporter presence. There are not expected to be many broadcasts of spring training games, either, so no hearing or seeing for ourselves. Any player who interests you, it’s going to be something of a mystery of how he’s doing and what his chances are until the team makes a decision about him.
Around the blogO’sphere
As camp begins, another look at rotation candidates (Steve Melewski)
You know it’s a thorough list when it takes the time to include Konner Wade and Spenser Watkins. The more likely candidates are, naturally, discussed in greater detail.
Bullpen could be an Orioles strength in 2021 (Baltimore Baseball)
The word “could” does a lot of work sometimes. It’s true that if optimistic health and performance scenarios occur simultaneously for five or more relief pitchers, the bullpen could be good for a while.
2021 Top 100 Prospects (Fangraphs)
Bask in another list that has the Orioles with four prospects in the top 100, plus Heston Kjerstad checking in at 103. Skip the capsule about DL Hall if you want to keep imagining he’ll be at the top of the Orioles rotation in another two years.
Hidden storylines as Orioles hold first spring training workout (School of Roch)
I can’t say that I’ll be spending too much time wondering whether reporters ever get to meet Freddy Galvis or Yolmer Sánchez in person before they become free agents or get traded.
What Hyde seeks: Q&A with manager Brandon Hyde (Press Box)
Press Box got some time with Hyde in January and posted the transcript yesterday. There’s a lot, so check it out. One highlight for me is his ongoing advice to Chris Davis about hitting: “Make an aggressive mistake.”
For Orioles, rainy first workout for pitchers and catchers begins preparations for challenging season (Baltimore Sun)
Meoli sees a metaphor for the coming Orioles season in the first day’s rainy workout. Also, no one is totally sure how trying to have a full season after a 60-game season will go for pitchers generally.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
There is one current Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 24th birthday to Ryan Mountcastle! May he hit many dingers in the season to come.
A number of former Orioles were also born on this day. They are: 2005 first baseman Walter Young, 2009 catcher Chad Moeller, and 1990-91 utility man Jeff McKnight.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: battery inventor Alessandro Volta (1745), Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari (1898), actor Jack Palance (1919), novelist Toni Morrison (1931), musician Yoko Ono (1933), movie man John Hughes (1950), actor John Travolta (1954), Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna White (1957), rapper Dr. Dre (1965), and actor Molly Ringwald (1968).
On this day in history...
In 1885, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published.
In 1930, a cow named Elm Farm Ollie was put on a plane that flew 72 miles from St. Louis to Bismarck, Missouri. During this flight, Elm Farm Ollie was milked, so she holds the distinction of being the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft as well as the first cow to be milked in the middle of a flight.
In 1979, the first fully televised Daytona 500 race was held, with Richard Petty winning for a then-record sixth time. Most remembered from the race, however, was the immediate post-race fight that made it onto the broadcast between two drivers, Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison, who had been leading the race before a last lap crash.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on February 18. Have a safe Thursday.