Good morning, Camden Chatters.
The calendar page has flipped to February. In a normal year, we could look forward to actual, real-life baseball being played this month. (Exhibition baseball, but still.) The Orioles’ Grapefruit League opener is scheduled for Feb. 26, set to kick off a stretch of 32 spring training games through March 27.
At this point, though, it’s anyone’s guess when that exhibition slate will actually be played. The ongoing negotiations between MLB and the MLB Players’ Association over a new collective bargaining agreement haven’t yielded much progress, and there’s precious little time left to avoid a delayed start to spring training — and perhaps the regular season as well.
A comprehensive article in The Athletic by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich laid out the biggest disagreements between the two sides, ending with the dire words: “A new CBA is not close.” It’s not the news any baseball fan was hoping for. Drellich tweeted that MLB and the MLBPA are scheduled to meet tomorrow, at least, so maybe there will be some movement in a positive direction.
If you’re looking to feel less bummed out, elsewhere at The Athletic, Keith Law unveiled his Top 100 prospects list for 2022, and — like Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus before him — his rankings include five Orioles: Adley Rutschman (#1), Grayson Rodriguez (#14), Colton Cowser (#52), Gunnar Henderson (#73), and D.L. Hall (#81). He joins the consensus in tabbing Rutschman as the top prospect in baseball, though unlike the other two publications, he has Rodriguez as only the third-best pitching prospect instead of the best. I can live with that.
Now let’s get to today’s Camden Chat Sporcle quiz, and it’s multiple choice. Can you identify the years when these notable Orioles events happened? There are a few you definitely should know if you’ve got a good grasp of O’s history, but others might be stumpers. Happy quizzing!
An outside opinion on the state of the Orioles rebuild - Steve Melewski
Baseball America’s editor in chief J.J. Cooper says the Orioles have “elite, impact talent” in their system but not as much depth as other teams. Again, I can live with that. For now.
Getting to know Aberdeen’s new manager - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko shares the unique story of how a high school coach in Connecticut ended up managing the Orioles’ High-A affiliate. Roberto Mercado is certainly a guy worth rooting for.
The Orioles are almost exclusively future-focused, and I’m (maybe?) complicit. How does that work? - Maximizing Playoff Odds
Jon Meoli gets meta, wondering if it’s ethically okay that he helps create Orioles prospect rankings for Baseball America and then cites those rankings when he writes for other outlets. Not that my opinion matters, but I think it’s fine.
Orioles optimistically announce 2022 giveaway schedule - Camden Chat
ICYMI, the Orioles announced their ballpark giveaways for the upcoming season, but because of the ongoing lockout, they couldn’t name the players whose T-shirts they’ll be giving away. Go ahead and buy tickets if you’re feeling lucky.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! On this day in 1944, Paul Blair, the eighth greatest Oriole of all time, was born. Blair was simply magical with the leather during his 13-year Orioles career, earning eight Gold Gloves for his stellar work in center field — and he could hit a little bit, too, playing a key role on the 1966 and 1970 Orioles championship teams. Blair, who passed away in 2013, would have been 78 today.
Other Orioles with birthdays today are 1996 lefty Kent Mercker (54), 1998 outfielder Rich Becker (50), and 2012 two-gamer Joe Mahoney (35).