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Tuesday Bird Droppings: We finally got to watch the Orioles

The Orioles were on local television for the first time in 2023, and there was plenty to like about what we saw.

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MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at Baltimore Orioles
Austin Hays led an O’s offensive attack with an Earl Weaver special.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Ladies and gentlemen, we now have undeniable evidence that the Orioles actually do exist. Yesterday, fans finally got to watch their team on a local TV broadcast for the first time this spring, with MASN televising the Birds’ 10-7, walkoff win over the Phillies in Sarasota.

Why it took until the 10th game of exhibition play, or why the team-owned television network is producing only three broadcasts the entire spring, are questions that nobody involved seems inclined to answer. O’s fans will just have to enjoy their precious few opportunities to watch their team before the regular season begins. And there was plenty to enjoy in yesterday’s contest.

Cole Irvin, who’s likely on track to be the Orioles’ #2 starter, pitched decently enough (three innings, one run) while Austin Hays bashed a three-run homer and Adley Rutschman went 2-for-3. Ryan O’Hearn, fighting to make the team as a backup first baseman, continued his sizzling spring with two hits, including a walkoff three-run homer in the ninth inning. Anthony Santander, playing his last spring game for the Birds before departing to join Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, made his first career start at first base and did fine, though he wasn’t tested with any particularly tricky plays or short-hop throws.

Perhaps most enjoyably, O’s fans got a good look — their first look, in many cases — at the club’s brigade of highly touted prospects, led by last year’s #1 overall pick Jackson Holliday, who smoked a sharp single up the middle. Coby Mayo, Connor Norby, and Colton Cowser — who crushed a game-tying, opposite-field homer in the eighth — also saw action.

There were some hiccups. Austin Voth and Bryan Baker, two guys who seem like locks for the Opening Day bullpen, combined to give up six runs, with Voth coughing up three homers in the sixth inning alone. Mychal Givens, making his first appearance since rejoining the Orioles, was charged with two balks in one inning after failing to come to a full stop before his delivery.

Good or bad, it is, of course, a few more weeks before any of this really matters. The O’s just need to keep working off the rust, remain in good health, and be ready to go for Opening Day in Boston in 23 days.


Santander Handles First Base Assignment Without Incident - School of Roch
If Santander plays the position well enough, maybe the O’s won’t need to carry an extra backup first baseman. But then where would that leave the unstoppable Ryan O’Hearn?

Some pitchers filter in as we hit the third day of the O’s international prospects rankings - Steve Melewski
Melewski wraps up his ranking of the Orioles’ top 20 international prospects, a list that would have been impossible to make under the previous O’s regime when there were only, like, two international players in the entire system.

Building a five-tool Orioles infield prospect — with the help of the Orioles’ infield prospects – Baltimore Sun
Nathan Ruiz polled the Orioles’ top six infield prospects about which is the best at each tool (hitting, power, fielding, throwing, running). You might be surprised about who they voted the best hitter.

Orioles playing quicker, crisper games under new MLB rules -
Rich Dubroff points out that the Orioles haven’t taken advantage of MLB’s new, steals-friendly rules, with the club attempting only five stolen bases so far. They’re just saving their legs for the regular season. Smart!

Connolly’s Tap Room: Pitch clock a welcome change or integrity-of-game killer? - The Athletic
What say you, Camden Chatters? Do you think the pitch clock is a good thing, or are you wrong?

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Two former Orioles have March 7 birthdays: 1998 outfielder Joe Carter (63) and 2021 two-game catcher Nick Ciuffo (28).

On this date in 2003, the Orioles brought fan favorite B.J. Surhoff back to Baltimore, signing the 38-year-old outfielder to a minor league contract. Surhoff had spent five previous seasons with the O’s and was a key part of the 1996-1997 postseason squads before the Birds traded him to the Braves during their 2000 fire sale. Surhoff’s second stint with the Orioles lasted three years before his retirement in 2005, and he was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 2007.