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Thursday Bird Droppings: Two weeks until Opening Day

The 51 players left in camp will be cut down to 26 within 14 days

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MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at Baltimore Orioles
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

We are now just two weeks away from Orioles Opening Day. That’s only 14 days from now. The uniform number 14 was last in use by a player in 2021, when it belonged to Rio Ruiz. It’s not currently claimed by any member of the 40-man roster, any non-roster invitee, or any uniformed MLB-level coach. Some other past Orioles to wear the number include Nolan Reimold, Mike Bordick, and Mickey Tettleton.

Before we get to Opening Day, the Orioles have another 13 spring training contests to get through, during which time they’ll be paring down from the 51 players currently in camp to the 26-man active roster they’ll take into the start of the season. Reassignments and options handed out over the last few days have moved us from the “there are tons of prospects everywhere” phase of camp towards the serious phase.

Most of the infielders have been sent over to minor league camp, although there’s still room for prospects in the outfield with Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander away at the World Baseball Classic. That’s going to leave some more opportunities for Heston Kjerstad and Colton Cowser, the team’s first round picks in 2020 and 2021, to show themselves before they are inevitably reassigned to minor league camp. It’s been a good spring of results for Kjerstad. I really hope he can carry that into the regular season.

As is lamentably customary, there will not be an Orioles broadcast of today’s spring training game, even though it’s a 6:05 game and it’s being played in Sarasota. The only thing you can get is an online stream of Blue Jays audio, if you have access to that and want to listen.

Yes, that’s right, the visiting team has some audio and the Orioles themselves can’t be bothered. It’s an ongoing shame to which the relevant decisionmakers appear to be immune. You won’t get to watch Cole Irvin’s latest spring start. Maybe you don’t care much about that. There are probably going to be players in the game who it would be fun to get to see, and MASN just isn’t doing it. It sucks still.

Around the blogO’sphere

Gunnar Henderson on slow batting start, being the no. 1 prospect, and more (Steve Melewski)
Of the 2-21 hitting so far this spring, Henderson said his swing feels good, and he’s “just working on a little bit of directional things right now.” Okay then.

Meet Thatch, a dog who found his place at the Orioles spring training facility (The Baltimore Banner)
Though your Bird Droppings writer today is not a dog person, I recognize that many among you are, so enjoy this story of the dog that’s been hanging out on the field in Sarasota.

Connor Norby and Joey Ortiz needed to change to reach Orioles camp. The next step is the majors. (The Baltimore Sun)
One more reminder, as if anyone needed another one, that the instruction for Orioles player development has improved a whole lot in the last few years compared to what was going on before.

For MLB broadcasters, pitch clocks mean adjusting to a whole new ballgame (The Athletic)
Orioles broadcaster Geoff Arnold is among those quoted in this article about how broadcasters will have to adjust to the coming faster-pace of the games. The Orioles really haven’t given any of their talent much spring training time to adjust.

Some examples of what does and doesn’t matter in Orioles camp (School of Roch)
With one exception, the list of what does matter is players who are doing well, and the list of what doesn’t matter is players who are doing poorly. I wish I could be so optimistic.

And finally, enjoy this, if you haven’t already seen it:

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1953, then-St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck had his attempt to move his franchise to Baltimore rejected by fellow American League owners. As we know, the team made it here by the next year nonetheless.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1962-63 catcher Hobie Landrith, and 1954/60-61 catcher Clint Courtney. Today is Landrith’s 93rd birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him. His MLB career spanned 772 games over 14 seasons.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: 4th president James Madison (1751), physicist Georg Ohm (1789), baseball Hall of Famer Lloyd Waner (1906), comedian Jerry Lee Lewis (1926), longtime Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome (1956), journalist Jorge Ramos (1958), rapper Flavor Flav (1959), and comic man Todd McFarlane (1961).

On this day in history...

In 1926, a rocket launch in Auburn, Massachusetts marked the first launch of a liquid-fueled rocket. Rocketry pioneer Robert Goddard was responsible for developing, making, and launching the rocket.

In 1945, large-scale fighting in the Battle of Iwo Jima came to an end after five weeks, with the Americans securing control of the island. Close to 7,000 American men were killed in the fighting; the Japanese garrison of more than 20,000 were almost all killed.

In 1968, during the Vietnam War, American military personnel killed as many as 500 Vietnamese civilians in what’s now known as the My Lai Massacre. This did not become public knowledge for over 18 months.

In 1995, the state of Mississippi passed a formal ratifiction of the 13th amendment to the Constitution. The amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States, passed in 1865; Mississippi was the last state to officially ratify it.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 16. Have a safe Thursday.