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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Three more days until Orioles baseball

That headline can be read as either a promise or a threat, depending on your excitement level for the 2022 O’s.

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MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers
Hopefully there are a lot of Trey Mancini dingers on tap for the 2022 season.
Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

We’re getting so close now. In just three days, the Orioles’ 2022 regular season will begin, for wherever it make take us. Hang on tight!

Yesterday, the O’s finished their abbreviated nine-game home slate at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, falling to the Pirates, 9-3. They have just two Grapefruit League games remaining, against the Blue Jays in Dunedin today and the Tigers in Lakeland tomorrow, before breaking camp and traveling to...well, elsewhere in Florida. The O’s kick off the regular season with a three-game series in Tampa Bay beginning Friday.

Still, for a team that’s days away from playing games that count, the Orioles have a heck of a lot of uncertainty with their roster. The Birds still have 40 players in camp, leaving them with a dozen to cut by Thursday. There are more roster spots up for grabs than ever before, especially after Sunday’s trade that send Cole Sulser and Tanner Scott to Miami and vacated two slots in the bullpen. Some way or another, the Orioles will find 28 players for their Opening Day roster, but it might not be quite the group we expected.

In the meantime, if you’re itching for baseball and can’t wait three days, good news: the Triple-A Norfolk Tides begin their regular season tonight at 6:35, hosting Charlotte for the first of six games. I would’ve thought that baseball’s top pitching prospect, Grayson Rodriguez, would be taking the ball for Opening Day, but it’s likely to be lefty Kevin Smith, according to Steve Melewski. Either way, it’ll be fun to see some of the Orioles’ prospects in action, including outfielder Kyle Stowers (but not including #1 overall prospect Adley Rutschman, who is still recovering from a strained right triceps). The rest of the O’s affiliates will start their seasons on Friday, the same day as the big league Birds.

In just days, we’ll be absolutely awash with baseball, with both the majors and minors in action for the next six months. Come join us, won’t you?

Links

Orioles season preview 2022: Five questions that should define the season, from prospect debuts to rotation holes – The Athletic
Dan Connolly predicts that the 2022 Orioles will probably be terrible but at least won’t be boring. So I guess we’ve got that to look forward to.

Young starters challenged to step up or aside (O's lose 9-3) - School of Roch
Based on his quotes in this article, Mike Elias is as tired as the rest of us of seeing certain young O’s pitchers struggle. The difference is that he’s in a position to do something about it.

Scott’s departure saddens Fry, creates opportunities for others - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Hearing an emotional Paul Fry talk about how his son can't hang out with “Uncle Tanner” anymore is enough to melt even the most jaded Orioles fan’s heart.

Orioles Opening Day preview 2022 - MLB.com
Zachary Silver offers his predictions for the upcoming season, and you’ll never guess his picks for team MVP and team Cy Young. ...Actually, you definitely will, assuming you watched the team at all in 2021.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Several early-years Orioles were born on this day, including the 1960 AL Rookie of the Year, infielder Ron Hansen, who turns 84 today. An extra happy birthday to him. Also born on this day were the late 1956 left-hander Fred Besana (b. 1930, d. 2015) and outfielder Roger Marquis (b. 1937, d. 2004), whose entire career lasted just one game in 1955 as an 18-year-old. Among more recent Orioles, it’s the birthday of righty Winston Abreu (45) and catcher and Baltimore native Steve Clevenger (36).

In their history, the Orioles have an impressive 14-4 record on April 5, including three Opening Day victories. The O’s had eerily similar games on this exact date just two years apart, in 2001 and 2003: in each case, the Orioles had a 2-1, walkoff victory over the Red Sox in which the winning run scored on a ninth-inning, bases-loaded walk. Spooky! It was Melvin Mora who did the honors in the 2001 game and Tony Batista in 2003.

And on this date in 2013, the Orioles pulled off a 9-5 win over the Twins in their home opener, with Chris Davis’s mammoth grand slam snapping an eighth-inning tie in front of a raucous crowd of 46,653 at Camden Yards. Davis, who had homered in the three previous games, became just the fourth player in MLB history to homer in the first four games of a season. He also set a new record with 16 RBIs in his first four games. Ah, that version of Chris Davis was a lot of fun.