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Friday Bird Droppings: The Orioles finally play ball today

It felt like we might never see this day again, but baseball is officially back in action as the O’s play their first Grapefruit League game today.

2021 T-Mobile Home Run Derby
It’s his 30th birthday and the Orioles finally play ball today. Trey Mancini has reason to smile.

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Hey, you know what I like? Baseball. And today, dear readers, there are finally going to be actual Orioles baseball players taking part in an actual baseball game again, more than five months — and one long, aggravating lockout — after they last took the field for a competitive game.

It doesn’t matter that it’s an exhibition game that won’t be televised, or that the Orioles’ starter will be non-roster invitee Spenser Watkins, or that the players we’ve heard of will probably be out by the fifth inning. Baseball is happening, people! That’s so much better than the alternative. The O’s kick off their revamped spring schedule at 1:05 this afternoon against the Blue Jays in Sarasota.

Had spring training started when it was originally supposed to, the Birds would have begun their Grapefruit League schedule nearly three weeks ago, and by now we’d be getting tired of exhibition games and ready for the real season to begin. Instead, we’re at least, like, two or three days away from that feeling. So let’s enjoy it!

In the meantime, there’s still plenty of offseason business left to conduct in this post-lockout surge. If you’re one of the intrepid Orioles fans still holding out hope for the club to make a shocking Carlos Correa signing, good news: the one and only reporter connecting Correa to the Birds has some more grist for the mill.

The linked article offers all sorts of juicy tidbits, not only about the O’s going hard for Correa but a rumor that the team is working on a contract extension for top prospect Adley Rutschman. Pay no mind to the fact that Scott Boras’ name is misspelled in the tweet and Rutschman’s is misspelled in the article. I want to believe, dang it! Raul Ramos is the hero we need — and the hero we deserve.


Top 100 Prospects list MLB Pipeline 2022 -
Jonathan Mayo unveiled his updated prospect list, and Rutschman is ranked second, behind the guy who was selected one spot behind him in the 2019 draft. Ah, well, I guess being the second best prospect in all of baseball isn’t too bad. I guess.

Mancini getting reps in the outfield (and other spring notes) - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko’s got the latest news from camp, including one player returning to a position we thought he’d abandoned for good. Whatever. Weird stuff happens in spring.

With Orioles rotation very unsettled, righty Chris Ellis rejoins team - Steve Melewski
Chris Ellis is back. I’d make a “print the playoff tickets” joke, but this guy was basically the Orioles’ best starter at the end of last season. So...print the playoff tickets!

Spring training injuries to top Orioles prospects Adley Rutschman, Heston Kjerstad show the next player development frontier they're pursuing might be the hardest - Maximizing Playoff Odds
Jon Meoli’s got an interesting look at how the Orioles’ developments in biomechanics and movement prep exercises are designed to keep players healthy, Adley Rutschman notwithstanding.

Baltimore Orioles To Again Allow Outside Food And Drink At Camden Yards – CBS Baltimore
Hooray! The most aggravating and bewildering policy in recent Camden Yards memory is now a thing of the past. 2022 is going to be a good year.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And a very happy 30th birthday to the Orioles’ clubhouse leader, longest tenured player, and all-around great human being, Trey Mancini. Just over two years after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and having no idea what his future might hold, Mancini will be spending this birthday playing baseball in sunny Florida with a clean bill of health, newly engaged to former MASN reporter Sara Perlman. As Rich Dubroff writes, it’ll be an especially happy birthday for Trey.

Former Orioles with March 18 birthdays include catcher Craig Tatum (39), outfielder Geronimo Berroa (57), one-game right-hander Randy Miller (69), and the late lefty Dick Littlefield (b. 1926, d. 1997), who pitched three games for the inaugural 1954 Orioles.

On this day in 1999, Eddie Murray was elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame, following a legendary 13-year career with the Birds in which he launched 343 home runs, OPS’d .868, was a seven-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glover, Rookie of the Year, and finished in the top-5 of the AL MVP vote five times. Murray was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame four years later, his first year of eligibility.