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Wednesday Bird Droppings: The Eve of Opening Day

The most wonderful time of the year is less than 24 hours away.

Milwaukee Brewers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

The day is almost here. Opening Day comes tomorrow, and with it the perennial hopes and dreams of 30 franchises.

As Orioles fans, we enter the season in a better position than most clubs. The overall talent on the roster is the best of the Mike Elias era, the youth movement is the envy of baseball, and there is potential for a playoff push. But it could have been so much more clearcut.

The efforts to improve the team with outside talent this offseason were minimal, and keeping prospect Grayson Rodriguez off the Opening Day roster after an uneven spring is incredibly frustrating. Maybe the 2023 Orioles win more games than the 2022 version, but I’m not entirely convinced about that. That’s disappointing.

But let’s save the pragmatism pessimism for another day, because it’s Opening Week! This is the time of year to say “if everything breaks right, I could see these guys in the World Series.” And you can certainly make that case for the Orioles.

There isn’t much to worry about on defense or with the bullpen. The lineup looks good, the eventual promotion of Colton Cowser will make it better. The rotation is OK, clearly lacking upside. But Rodriguez will be up sometime soon, John Means is expected to return midseason, and please, please make a trade! Considering they won 83 games a season ago, it’s entirely possible they jump to 85 or 90 this year, and all ya gotta do is get in the tournament, baby! Anything can happen!

We have no baseball to watch today. Instead, it’s a gauntlet of 15 games on Thursday, beginning at 1:05 with the Braves and Nationals, and running through a batch of west coast games (Diamondbacks/Dodgers, Guardians/Mariners) with post-10 p.m. first pitches. Until then, we will have to simply sit in silence, twiddling our thumbs. We’ve made it six months. We can go 24 more hours.


Five things we learned from Orioles spring training | The Baltimore Sun
It was not the most informative spring since the Orioles didn’t really make many tough roster choices. Rodriguez going to Norfolk instead of Baltimore feels a bit cowardly to me. Jordan Westburg looked every bit like a big leaguer, and yet he returns to Triple-A. These just are not the actions of a team hoping to win right now, and that’s disappointing.

The 2023 award winners will be ... |
Picking Gunnar Henderson as the Rookie of the Year isn’t the most bold choice, but I still love it! The Orioles will need him to make a big impact right away to cover up some of the holes that exist elsewhere in the lineup. Winning some yearend awards would indicate he does just that.

Irvin chosen to start third game in Boston | Roch Kubatko
Naming Cole Irvin the third starter behind Kyle Gibson and Dean Kremer makes a lot of sense. I am definitely concerned about mixing his history of home run trouble with a debut at hitter-friendly Fenway Park, but it’s not like there were many favorable alternatives. Kyle Bradish appears likely to be fourth in the rotation, and his two starts in Boston last year were quite poor.

Orioles CEO John Angelos again whiffs on self-imposed deadline to share club’s finances | The Baltimore Sun
But he is always prompt to put his own foot in his mouth.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • The late Juan Bell (b. 1968, d. 2016) is the only former Oriole born on this day. He played infield for the Birds from 1989 through 1991 before being traded to the Phillies the following season for infielder Steve Scarsone.

This day in O’s history

Not much has happened on this day in O’s history, according to Baseball Reference. So instead here is some action from beyond Oriole Park:

1927 - The land speed record is broken by the Sunbeam 1000hp in Daytona Beach, Florida

1961 - Following the ratification of the Twenty-third Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, residents of Washington D.C. are now allowed to vote in presidential elections.

1974 - The Terracotta Army is discovered in Shaanxi province, China

1984 - The NFL’s Colts franchise transfers their entire organization from Baltimore to Indianapolis via Mayflower moving trucks in the middle of the night.