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Thursday Bird Droppings: Two weeks to go until Opening Day

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Two weeks from today, the Orioles will be playing real baseball. Today, they’re playing no baseball on an off day.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles
Two! Two weeks until Opening Day! Ah ah ah!
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 14 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. We’re really almost there now! That’s only two weeks away from today. The O’s have a few roster decisions to make between now and then, and they also have to hope that no one else gets hurt to take himself out of the picture over the last week and a half of spring games.

The Orioles don’t have a scheduled game today. After beating the Braves yesterday, their overall spring training record is 5-11-1. That’s worth a “Not great, Bob!” overall, although winning yesterday was nice. When teams break camp, all of these numbers will be erased and none of them matter, but there sure hasn’t been much in the exhibition to make an O’s fan carry forward good feelings about the coming season.

Wednesday’s game saw the Orioles attempt the radical concept of “get at least as many hits as there are innings in the game,” usually a good way to have a fighting chance in a game. Austin Hays collected another three hits and five other players in the starting lineup picked up at least one hit. Meanwhile, John Means retired the first ten Braves in a row before giving up a solo home run. He gave up just that run in four innings and got extra work in the bullpen after exiting the game.

Although this was a home night game in spring training, you could not watch the game on television, or listen to it on the radio in Baltimore. Despite one report a week or so ago that there would be forthcoming MASN broadcasts of spring games, the O’s have now played 17 of their 28 scheduled games with no announcement of anything to come. Why the Orioles-owned TV network can’t be bothered to broadcast O’s spring games is beyond me.

Combine the complete absence from TV and the relative absence from radio with the fact that pandemic restrictions on press presence kept beat writers from watching workouts and have kept many of them from even attending games and it adds up to a real black box of a spring training. Things are happening and even the people whose job it is to see it and write about it aren’t seeing much of it.

Do the players who are thus far playing poorly look good? Do the ones who are playing well actually look bad? Is Chris Davis even being sighted anywhere in the complex? Is Matt Harvey getting results in his back field action against live hitters? These are some of the mysteries. Perhaps we’ll get answers to some of them based on the roster choices made for Opening Day.

The O’s next play on Friday night at 6:05 against the Pirates. This game will have Pittsburgh TV and radio, but nothing in Baltimore. Saturday’s game against the Yankees is another no TV, no radio affair. You’ll have to wait until Sunday at 1:05 to hear Orioles broadcasters talk about an Orioles game. That’s the start of a stretch where seven of the final nine games of spring have an O’s radio broadcast.

Around the blogO’sphere

Hernández receiving treatment on sore elbow (School of Roch)
King Felix didn’t get immediately rushed to Dr. Andrews after his latest outing, so he could be worse off, but you don’t want any rotation candidate (or especially a presumptive rotation member) having a sore elbow with two weeks to go until the season starts.

Rutschman shares special bond with sister (Orioles.com)
“Orioles prospect is close with sibling” is not a genre of story we get very often. Adley Rutschman and younger sister Josie kept one another entertained during everyone’s 2020 isolation, and now she’s helping administer vaccines at home in Oregon. A+.

Once a top prospect, Maikel Franco hopes to provide Orioles with best version of himself (Baltimore Sun)
I think we would all be excited to see the best version of Franco playing for the Orioles this year. Franco, among other things, is excited to be reunited with Freddy Galvis, as they were teammates in Philadelphia together.

John Means pleased with his outing (Steve Melewski)
Unrelated to John Means’s pitching last night, manager Brandon Hyde told reporters after the game that he’ll be announcing the Opening Day starter on Friday. I’ve got a hunch that it might be Means.

Orioles announce updated 2021 home game times (Press Box)
The Orioles initially announced 6:35 start times for home games on weeknights in April, May, and September. Yesterday, they announced that those games would revert to the more traditional 7:05 start time. Perhaps they’ll try to get the 6:35 experiment going again next year.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There is one current Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 29th to Trey Mancini! It seems like most of the MLB world is rooting for him in his comeback season, but I think Orioles fans will be rooting for him the hardest.

A few former Orioles were also born on this day. They are: 2010-11 reserve catcher Craig Tatum, 1997 outfielder Geronimo Berroa, 1977 one-game pitcher Randy Miller, and 1954 three-game pitcher Dick Littlefield.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: 22nd and 24th president Grover Cleveland (1837), composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844), Diesel engine inventor Rudolf Diesel (1858), soldier/poet Wilfred Owen (1893), novelist John Updike (1932), ice cream man Ben Cohen (1951), model Vanessa Williams (1963), rapper Queen Latifah (1970), Maroon 5’s Adam Levine (1979), and singer-songwriter Lykke Li (1986).

On this day in history...

In 1241, the Mongol invaders defeated the Poles in the Battle of Chmielnik, leading to Krakow being plundered.

In 1766, the British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, though a variety of other measures still to come nonetheless led to American independence.

In 1942, America’s War Relocation Authority was established, with the goal of taking Japanese Americans into custody.

In 1965, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov exited his Voskhod 2 craft for a 12 minute spacewalk, making him the first person to walk in space.

In 1990, 13 works of art worth around $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. This is the largest art heist in US history. No one was ever arrested and the works have never been recovered.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 18. Have a safe Thursday.