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Wednesday Bird Droppings: New start times coming to Camden Yards

A rumor out of Japan, free agent match making, and earlier games in Baltimore.

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Division Series - Texas Rangers v. Baltimore Orioles - Game One Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

There isn’t much player news to discuss, but the Orioles did grace us with a notable morsel yesterday. The team revealed that they will be introducing new standard start times for all 2024 home games.

  • Sunday games start at 1:35
  • Saturday games starter at 4:05
  • Weeknight games start at 6:35
  • Friday games start at 7:05

There are several exceptions here: Opening Day (Thursday, March 28) will have a first pitch of 3:05, Saturday, June 29 against the Rangers will start at 7:15, and Thursday, August 22 will also start at 7:15. On top of that, there is the chance (elevated now that they are good!) of the Orioles being featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball at some point in the season. If that happens during a scheduled home game, that first pitch would be pushed back as well. Finally, there are 10 midweek day games planned to provide a cushion for either the Orioles or the visiting team to travel at the conclusion of a series.

As the Orioles explained in their press release, this isn’t all new. The team implemented 6:35 start times for weeknight games prior to Memorial Day and after Labor Day during the 2023 season. The announcement on Tuesday simply expands that decision to encompass the entire season.

The bigger news is the movement of all Saturday games to 4:05. The Orioles had previously began some of their Saturday games in June and July at 4:05, but the vast majority of the season saw later start times, typically 7:05.

I struggle to have particularly strong reactions in any direction. I’m going to watch the Orioles regardless of the time they play. But I will say that I do like the earlier start times during the week. It fits my life perfectly: finish work, whip something together for dinner, get the kids cleaned up during the first inning, and then successfully make it though the final eight frames on the couch or while doing various end-of-day tasks.

It will be interesting to see how the 4:05 game times on Saturdays work out. It would seem to fit into people’s summertime behaviors quite well. For those that attend the games, it presents an Orioles game as the start to your night downtown. It will only be 6:30 or 7-ish when the game wraps up, still daylight. You can then head out for dinner or to your favorite watering hole at a decent enough time.

Only four months ‘til Opening Day!

Links

It sure looks like a home run: The MLB rule changes | Steve Melewski
Yep, the league nailed it on this one. The rules sped the game up, the players didn’t really seem to mind, and the sport didn’t suffer. It sounds like more changes are coming. My guess is that they won’t all be quite as a flawless, but it’s nice to see an old-fashioned sport willing to alter its ways.

Orioles prepares multi-year major contract offer to acquire Naoyuki Uesawa | Sanspo.com
Let’s take this nugget with the largest hunk of salt. The outlet here is a Japanese-language website, and the NPB pitcher’s 30-day posting period was just opened. There’s also kind of a lot of info here, including projected salary and a specific role on the roster. Considering the Orioles’ front office is notorious tight-lipped, this feels like some shenanigans afoot from the player’s representation. That doesn’t mean the Orioles won’t sign him, but the circumstance certainly don’t fit the club’s recent M.O.

A free-agent fit for all 30 teams as Winter Meetings near | The Athletic
The Orioles will eventually need to spend in free agency to support their in-house talent. It’s been reported that they were at least interested in Aaron Nola before he re-signed with the Phillies. One would imagine that means that Jordan Montgomery could pique their interest as well. But he’s a tough one to nail down in terms of contract size. His numbers are good and steady, but the stuff isn’t eye-popping.

This, that and the other | Roch Kubatko
Roch’s always good for a few factoids. This blog doesn’t disappoint.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Craig Gentry is 40 today. He played an inexplicably high number of games in the Orioles outfielder between 2017 and ‘18.
  • Guillermo Quiroz turns 42. He was the O’s backup catcher turn the 2008 season.
  • Brian Holton is 64 years old. Between 1989 and 1990, he served in a swingman role on the O’s pitching staff.
  • Joe Price turns 67 today. The southpaw was a solid bullpen piece for the 1990 Birds.

This day in O’s history

1967 - The O’s trade shortstop Luis Aparicio, outfielder Russ Snyder, and first baseman John Matias to the White Sox in exchange for infielder Don Buford and a pair of pitchers, Bruce Howard and Roger Nelson.

1975 - Brooks Robinson and Paul Blair both win what would end up being the final Gold Gloves of their careers.