There are now just 11 more days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. This was a number in use by Chris Owings in the 2022 season. #11 remains unclaimed for the 2023 O’s, so far. Its most memorable wearers are from long ago: Doug DeCinces, Luis Aparicio, Gus Triandos. In a bit of synchronicity, #11 was also worn by Robert Andino when he destroyed the 2011 Red Sox.
Another ten spring training games stand between now and then. This includes two separate games today, as the Orioles split their squad with a home team playing the Pirates and a road team playing the Yankees simultaneously at 1:05. In keeping with this spring training’s theme, neither game will be televised in Baltimore, but you will be able to listen on the radio to the flagship stations - 97.9, 101.5, and 1090 - for the home game.
In yesterday’s game, the Orioles went on the road and lost to the Red Sox, 9-6. They are now 10-10-2 in Grapefruit League games. Two assumed members of the 2023 pitching staff, Grayson Rodriguez and Austin Voth, did not have good days, continuing some scuffling through this exhibition schedule. Rodriguez was spared from his line having five earned runs only by virtue of a throwing error that he committed; two earned runs on six hits and two walks in 3.2 innings of work doesn’t feel a whole lot better.
The struggles for Rodriguez in particular are tough for me to see accumulate. As I’ve written before and will write again, it’s much better to have to talk myself down from excitement over a player who’s performing well in these spring games - of which the Orioles have many, especially among the infield and outfield prospects who we hope will soon be a part of the MLB team - than to have to conjure up the justifications for why it doesn’t matter yet that the results suck.
You can certainly do this exercise for Rodriguez. It’s hard to make the jump for the major leagues, even for a lot of top-ranked prospect talent. Look no farther than Adley Rutschman last year, who scuffled a good bit at the plate for the first three or so weeks of MLB games before starting to look like the player we all dared to dream he might be able to be. It’s spring training on top of this. The goal is to get built up for the season, not strike out 12 batters in a row in a game that doesn’t count. Discovering things that don’t work could be valuable lessons heading into the regular season.
It’s just that it’s not far off, and at times it doesn’t feel great to just tell myself, “Well, it’ll be okay when it matters.” Sometimes it is and other times it isn’t. Gunnar Henderson’s lack of spring training hitting fits in this same category.
Does it matter? No one seems concerned, either the player or anyone with the team. They don’t seem concerned for Rodriguez either. It’s a meme on this site that “Mike Brown is a downer,” from some random commenter who complained about my negativity without bothering to notice my correct name. I hope this is all just Mike Brown stuff that will look silly by June. It wouldn’t be my first freezing cold take and it won’t be my last.
Around the blogO’sphere
For second straight start, Grayson Rodriguez unravels in the fourth inning (The Baltimore Banner)
I wish the headlines could be more awesome, you know? That’s what it comes down to.
McCann on Rodriguez: “His stuff is elite and he’s got a chance to be very special” (School of Roch)
Okay, fine, that’s better.
Bautista looking sharp after first two Orioles outings (Baltimore Baseball)
Manager Brandon Hyde says he’s looking to get Bautista into three or four more spring games before the season. Things seem to be on track for Bautista to make the Opening Day roster.
Bruce Zimmermann makes his rotation pitch (Steve Melewski)
Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann is holding out hope that he can pitch his way onto the Opening Day roster. It’s a crowded mix, but he’s gotten some decent results so far this spring.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
There is one lone former Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 49th to Rocky Coppinger, who pitched in 45 games for the Orioles from 1996-1999.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Old West lawman Wyatt Earp (1848), baseball Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn (1927), novelist Philip Roth (1933), actress Glenn Close (1947), actor Bruce Willis (1955), and composer Yoko Kanno (1964).
On this day in history...
In 1279, competing Chinese dynasties Yuan and Song fought the Battle of Yamen, in which the Mongol-led Yuan forces, which had established themselves as a dynasty eight years prior, defeated the Song and completed its collapse after over a three-century reign. Yuan remained in control of China for nearly a hundred years.
In 1831, burglars broke into Wall Street’s City Bank and stole about $245,000 in that day’s money. This is recognized as the first documented bank heist in American history.
In 1918, Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which both established time zones and approved daylight savings time.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 19. Have a safe Sunday.