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Sunday Bird Droppings: The first Orioles spring training game is today

The Grapefruit League season kicks off today, although it won’t be on TV or radio in Baltimore.

2021 Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
Freddy Galvis looks like a cool dude. I don’t know if he’s playing in today’s Orioles spring opener.
Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 32 days remaining until the next scheduled regular season Orioles game, which is Opening Day. If the ritual half-baseball of spring training is of great interest to you, there’s better news for you: That schedule begins at 1:05 today, as the O’s host the Pirates in Sarasota.

Spring training games, especially the ones early in the schedule, tend to not have a lot of resemblance to the regular season. The lineups, in late innings particularly, have a lot of players who won’t be making the team. Innings can just be ended summarily when a manager decides his pitcher has reached a pitch count.

This year, for pandemic precaution reasons, teams can even decide ahead of time to play as few as five innings, rather than the standard nine. O’s manager Brandon Hyde told reporters last week that he’s got enough pitchers who need innings to play nine every time, but who knows how other teams will view it.

Another pandemic precaution is that teams will do a lot less traveling and will instead mostly play the same pod of teams. Most spring training stadiums are going to be limited to 25% capacity of fans. And most games will not be broadcast in Baltimore, with only 12 of the 28 games on the schedule set to be on the radio. There has yet to be an announcement of MASN broadcasts. That may mean there will be none until the regular season.

So today’s opener is happening, but it won’t be on Orioles radio or TV, and only a quarter of the seats in the Orioles spring home stadium will be filled. Everyone else who is interested in the outcome will have to just follow the usually-janky-in-spring-training Gameday summary, or hope that the beat writers don’t get bored of tweeting the goings-on after two innings like they usually do.

The fans who have paid money to attend this contest will get to see starting pitcher Thomas Eshelman, scheduled to be followed by some or all of Fernando Abad, Eric Hanhold, Josh Rogers, Isaac Mattson, Marcos Diplán, and Conner Greene.

Around the blogO’sphere

This, that, and the other (School of Roch)
We’ve reached the “Roch feels the urge to state that Chris Davis won’t be getting playing time at third base” part of spring training.

Trey Mancini’s next step towards return comes as starting first baseman in spring opener (Baltimore Sun)
Not that you’ll be able to see it! Or hear it on Baltimore airwaves. Maybe the Pirates broadcast will have a few words to say about Mancini’s return to the diamond.

Inbox: Who is Orioles DH? Closer? (
Joe Trezza fielded fan questions to say there probably won’t be just one regular designated hitter or one regular closer.

Roster decisions face Orioles as games begin (Baltimore Baseball)
Hyde said it’s going to come down to the end of camp as to whether the Orioles decide to carry 13 or 14 pitchers. The idea of a three-man bench even with a 26-man roster is unappealing.

Mentorship with Freddy Galvis and a Chris Davis take (Steve Melewski)
Freddy Galvis came to the Orioles because they gave him the best opportunity to play. While he’s here, he’s been sharing what he knows with younger players.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1996 reliever Mike Milchin, and 1981 two-game outfielder Dallas Williams.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: actor Bernadette Peters (1948), Ravens Super Bowl-winning coach Brian Billick (1954), and funny voice man Gilbert Gottfried (1955).

On this day in history...

In 1827, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was incorporated. The B&O Railroad was the first in the country to offer transformation to both freight and passengers.

In 1935, nylon was invented by a DuPont scientist, Wallace Carothers.

In 1953, scientists James Crick and Frances Watson began telling friends that they had discovered the chemical structure of DNA, although the finding wasn’t formally published until April.

In 1983, M*A*S*H aired its final episode, ending an 11-year run on television. Contemporary accounts said that 125 million people watched the finale; today, that number is thought to be more in the 106 million range in the US, a number of viewers that has only been topped eight times since, all for Super Bowls.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on February 28. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!