There are now 39 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. The last several weeks have brought no negative developments to change that. Position players are required to report today with a first full squad workout tomorrow, and the O’s first exhibition of the year is scheduled for one week from today - even if you may not be able to see or hear it in Birdland.
For most of the last week, we’ve been getting variations on the usual spring training storylines about pitchers. There are stories about who’s getting stretched out as a starter, who’s developed a new and improved pitch, who’s feeling healthier than ever.
With position players coming into the mix today, that probably means the beginning of the annual Chris Davis round of stories. Did he do anything different this offseason? Has he changed anything at all? Does he look any different? We all know he had a good early part of spring training last season and was robbed of the chance to get to carry that over in April. By the time baseball began again in July, he stunk.
I’m not looking forward to the renewal of this ritual. We are more than four years removed from when Davis a good baseball player for anything other than a two or three week stretch. Those two-week stretches are increasingly rare. I have no expectation that he will be able to perform again and I’m just waiting for the Orioles to finally decide this and banish him from the roster forever.
Perhaps if it becomes clear that the 2021 season will begin on time and be played in full, that will inspire the Orioles to make this decision. The read-between-the-lines from the beat writers through the offseason is that the O’s didn’t ditch Davis over the offseason in case of a shortened season getting them off the hook for some salary, the way that the shortened 2020 season did.
Maybe with pandemic-related precautions limiting access of the writers to the players and even to the stadium at all on workout days, there will be less of the daily Davis drumbeat. I guess we’ll start finding out about that tomorrow.
Around the blogO’sphere
Valdez could emerge as starter (and other notes) (School of Roch)
I’m feeling like “César Valdez as a possible starting pitcher” is going to be one of this spring’s stories that beat writers keep talking about that ends up amounting to jack squat.
Hunter Harvey’s health a top priority for Orioles (Orioles.com)
Let’s hope that “Hunter Harvey did extra work to build up his innings” doesn’t also turn into one of those spring training storylines that amounts to jack squat.
Rule 5 pitchers Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells making early impression on Brandon Hyde (Baltimore Sun)
Returning to our same theme of possibly meaningless stories that get a lot of ink, it seems the Rule 5 pitchers have done well for themselves in the early days of camp.
Hyde not putting limit on innings for Akin and Kremer (Baltimore Baseball)
There’s no limit to start out, but there could end up being a limit by the end of the season. It’ll be a mystery!
How Dean Kremer used quarantine time to improve a difference-making pitch (Steve Melewski)
Somewhere, Dan Duquette is shuddering, because it seems that Kremer has turned his slider into a cutter.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
One lone former Oriole has a birthday today. Happy 76th to Tom Shopay, a reserve in five different seasons over the 1970s.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: writer Anais Nin (1903), poet/playwright W. H. Auden (1907), philosopher John Rawls (1921), musician Nina Simone (1933), civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis (1940), actor Alan Rickman (1946), baseball Hall of Famer Alan Trammell (1958), actor/writer/producer Jordan Peele (1979), and animator/voice actor Justin Roiland (1980).
On this day in history...
In 1797, a small French force landed and fought British reservists in the Battle of Fishguard. This is recognized as the last hostile invasion of mainland Britain.
In 1848, Marx and Engels published The Communist Manifesto.
In 1972, President Nixon made a state visit to China, after which diplomatic relations between the US and China were normalized.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on February 21. Have a safe Sunday.