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Friday Bird Droppings: Where we’re antsy for baseball to start

By Opening Day, the Orioles could officially have a new owner in charge and their #1 prospect in the lineup. Let’s get spring training started already.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
Will Jackson Holliday be donning an Orioles uniform on Opening Day?
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Baseball season — or at least the slow ramp-up to baseball season — will be starting very soon. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Sarasota in less than a week (and a few, surely, are already there). Then come the position players a week later. Then some workout days. Then a seemingly interminable schedule of exhibition games: 32 Grapefruit League contests over the course of 30 days.

It’ll be nice to see the whole gang back on the field, but I can already tell I’m hardly going to have the patience to slog through five weeks of meaningless games. I just want it to be Opening Day already. This is the most optimistic I’ve felt about an upcoming O’s season since...maybe ever? Coming off a 101-win season and then adding Corbin Burnes will do that to a guy.

Two recent bits of news have made me all the more eager to get this season started. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to the media after the owners meetings in Orlando and indicated that the sale of the Orioles to David Rubenstein will move “as quickly as possible.” Sources told The Baltimore Sun’s Matt Weyrich that the process could be completed in as short as a six-week time frame, which would make Rubenstein the control person by Opening Day. It would certainly be nice if the regime change is all taken care of by then.

The Orioles’ opener should be an especially exciting one on the field, too. For one, it’s their first time opening the season in Baltimore since 2018, as the previous two times they were supposed to do so — in 2020 and 2022 — were wiped out by the pandemic and the lockout, respectively, which forced schedule changes. No doubt the Camden Yards crowd will be amped up to greet the defending AL East champions.

And that lineup could well include Jackson Holliday, the #1 prospect in baseball. In an interview Wednesday, general manager Mike Elias reiterated that the Orioles will give Holliday every chance to make the team as a 20-year-old rookie. Elias noted that Holliday will see playing time at both second base and shortstop this spring to increase his versatility. Whatever gets him on the roster works for me.

Alas, it’s still almost seven more weeks until first pitch at Camden Yards. We don’t know yet if Holliday will be on the roster that day or if Rubenstein will officially be in charge. Still, it’s going to be a thrilling day for Orioles fans no matter what. So let’s get spring training started so we can starting counting down the days.

Links

O’s claim Livan Soto, 40-man roster now full - Steve Melewski
The Orioles filled up their 40-man with the addition of a former Angels infield prospect. Like Nick Maton before him, if Soto gets significant playing time with the O’s this year, it will mean something went very wrong for the team.

Orioles position preview: Led by Burnes, rotation runs deep - Baltimore Sun
When’s the last time the Orioles started a season with a rotation that looked this good? The 1970s?

Under new ownership, Oriole fans hope extensions are on the table - BaltimoreBaseball.com
I mean, new ownership certainly couldn’t hurt the Orioles' chances of locking up a young star. But it seems especially unlikely for the Scott Boras clients like Holliday and Gunnar Henderson.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Today’s Oriole birthdays certainly run the gamut. We’ve got a current Oriole and hometown kid, the Baltimore-born lefty Bruce Zimmermann, who turns 29. We’ve got two old-timey Orioles, the late right-hander Erv Palica (b. 1928, d. 1982) and outfielder Vic Wertz (b. 1925, d. 1983), the latter who was part of the inaugural 1954 Orioles team that relocated from St. Louis. We’ve got a Baseball Hall of Famer, Vladimir Guerrero (49). We’ve got a guy with a delightful name, Napoleón Calzado (47). And we’ve got Doug Linton (59), who...doesn’t fit into any of those categories, but I hope he enjoys his day as well.

Feb. 9 has been a pretty slow day in Orioles history. On this date in 2010, they signed veteran lefties Mark Hendrickson and Will Ohman, who went on to pitch a combined 103 games for the Birds that season, with expectedly mediocre results. That 2010 O’s team was not good, folks. And on this date in 2012, the Birds signed veteran first baseman Nick Johnson, who slashed .207/.324/.391 in 38 games before a wrist injury in June ended his season and his career.