Today marks two months to go until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. You’ve been able to buy tickets for a little while now. Whether a game is actually played at Camden Yards on that day is going to depend on the ownership-imposed lockout of MLB players being settled in time. It sure feels like time is running out to avoid some kind of delay. Spring training is supposed to begin two weeks from tomorrow. Hard to see that happening.
The rituals of a coming spring training are proceeding nonetheless. Late last week was Truck Day for the Orioles, where all of the equipment is loaded up in Baltimore and sent on a truck down to Sarasota. Tickets for spring games are on sale; the Orioles spring opener is set for February 26. This feels even less likely to occur on that date than the current Opening Day.
Truck Day also saw the Orioles share a construction update for the left field fence project. The work is ongoing. Hopefully they’re not going to need the entire two months between now and the currently scheduled opener to get it done.
The LF wall project is moving along pic.twitter.com/DmXqU8khGs— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) January 28, 2022
Seeing the distance between the old fence and what looks to be the new fence, it really drives home what a big move this is. I am all the more curious to see what it’s going to be like to see it in action.
Are the Orioles right-handed hitters going to find they’re having a tougher time getting the ball over the fence? Are the Orioles going to run out left fielders who are capable of fielding the extra space? Will Orioles pitchers un-suck enough that the extra fence distance will make a significantly positive impact on their ERAs?
Until the lockout’s over with, it’s all on hold. The two sides at least had some meetings last week, though they don’t seem to have produced immediate progress. Maybe that will change this week as the two sides start to stare down the imminent idea that spring training is going to be disrupted without an agreement coming soon.
Around the blogO’sphere
Spring training to-do list for the Orioles’ Mike Elias (Baltimore Baseball)
The Rule 5 draft tops Rich Dubroff’s to-do list, which also includes things like “Sign more players” and “Get the spring training roster in order.” Yes, those do seem important.
Can Santander recapture 2020 form next season? (Steve Melewski)
One reason I’m bearish about Anthony Santander is that in an already-shortened 2020 season he was still only to play in 37 games. Perhaps more hopeful, for me, is that he might reclaim his June-August 2019 form. Even that’s only 73 games! The full season health and quality just haven’t been there for him.
Oriole of the Day: DJ Stewart walks the walk, but struggles in other aspects (The Baltimore Sun)
We’ll be starting our own daily look at members of the Orioles roster today. The Sun’s most recent entry was for DJ Stewart, about whom I feel no excitement for 2022, in part because of those new left field dimensions. Sorry, DJ.
‘Make it rain’: How Jessie Coffield went from college lacrosse captain to ubiquitous catchphrase (The Athletic)
One way you know the lockout is heading into its third month is when an Orioles writer is tasked with writing about the lady we saw (what feels like) six times per game in commercials last season. The mildly local angle is that she is a native of Northern Virginia.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 2010, Melvin Mora officially became a former Oriole when he signed a one-year contract with the Rockies. He’d been with the team for the entire 2000s decade. His replacement at third base was Miguel Tejada, who’d signed a week prior. Tejada was below 0 WAR when he was traded in July, where he racked up 1.2 WAR for the Padres in two months. Sheesh. Mora had a 0.0 WAR season for Colorado.
There is one lone former Oriole who was born on this day. Happy 52nd birthday to 1998 two-game reliever Joel Bennett.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: dynasty-founding shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543), “Penman of the Constitution” Gouverneur Morris (1752), composer Franz Schubert (1797), baseball color barrier breaker Jackie Robinson (1919) and fellow Baseball Hall of Famers Ernie Banks (1931) and Nolan Ryan (1947), actress Kerry Washington (1977), and entertainer Justin Timberlake (1981).
On this day in history...
In 1846, a simmering conflict between the towns Juneautown and Kilbourntown on opposite banks of the Milwaukee River was settled when the towns agreed to unite and incorporate into one city: Milwaukee.
In 1915, during World War I, the Battle of Bolimów between Germany and Russia led to the first large-scale use of chemical weapons in the war. The German gas, similar to modern tear gas, was blown back over their own lines, but did not cause problems as it was too cold for the gas to be active.
In 1943, during World War II, the Battle of Stalingrad came close to being settled after nearly five months with the surrender of German Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus. The two sides are believed to have suffered a combined two million casualties over the battle.
In 1968, the American embassy in Saigon was attacked by Viet Cong guerrillas. This marked the start of the Tet Offensive, seen as a turning point against the war for American public opinion.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 31. Have a safe Monday.