The Baltimore Orioles are formally breaking camp this morning, as they leave Sarasota for Baltimore. Of course they’ll stop in Norfolk, VA to play the Tides, which has turned into a tradition of sorts. And let me tell you, that game is a huge deal in the Hampton Roads area. The O’s played the Washington Nationals down there in the final spring game in 2009, and I drove down for the game (seeing that my kid sister went to school in nearby Newport News). The town had been buzzing all week at the prospect of a big league game being played there.
But at the end of the day, that game won’t be covered too much here or on other outlets. As I’ve said ad hoc, it doesn’t even count towards the Grapefruit League standings. Mind you, the Grapefruit League standings themselves don’t count; so this game doesn’t count towards the unofficial standings that don’t count!
That gives the Orioles two full days back in Baltimore to get settled at home before real league play begins. They’ll have a team workout at Camden Yards on Wednesday, and of course the curtain goes up on the 2018 season on Thursday. And the Minnesota Twins will be the opponent – as if the O’s didn’t see enough of them in the spring.
At this time of year I’m always reminded of how thankful I am when camp is over. Covering some of these games are like watching paint dry. And each year as a writer I go through a bit of a dead period during spring training. Since there’s no ebb or flow to the games whatsoever, they’re very hard to cover. So you save your “best stuff” for the regular season. And that’s now on the horizon.
Once teams get into a routine and a groove, the road gets much easier. But the Orioles will open up at home, have a day off, and then close out that weekend series before heading out on the road to Houston. So that presents a bit of a challenge in a sense – you get home and get settled, but not too much because you’re heading back out of town.
There’s also a lot of pomp and circumstance to Opening Day, as well there should be. Not to mention the day off after Opening Day, which in a sense grinds the season to a halt. But you manage as best you can. And as I said, once the O’s get into a groove all of these concerns will cease to exist.