The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of major league baseball are attempting something that worked out really well just now for the NFL: a normal season. However I would submit that the coming baseball season, while not truly normal, will be more normal than even the NFL season was. The majority of NFL games were played without fans, whereas baseball will be admitting fans this year. It’ll be different than usual in that the numbers will be limited and social distancing will be necessary in ballparks, but we’ll see fans.
The NFL also had no preseason back in August, while baseball is going full steam ahead with it’s Grapefruit and Cactus League seasons. The Orioles open their exhibition slate of games on Sunday at Ed Smith Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not that it means anything, but Thomas Eshelman will get the start.
However the league has slightly scaled back the number of games that each team will play, and in the case of Florida, they’ve “quarantined” teams. The Orioles will only play teams that train on the Gulf Coast of Florida. This while teams who train on the east coast will also be playing one another exclusively. I suppose this cuts down on the amount of travel, although with a few exceptions the O’s normally seem to stick with Gulf Coast teams. The Grapefruit League schedule is also ever-so-slightly shorter than in the past, and there’ll be no split squad games.
Coverage of games is also scaled back this year, although that’s more on an individual team basis. As of now, Orioles’ radio will cover twelve games. That could change, but that’s where we stand now. We won’t be covering every game as normal here at Birdland Crush. However you can expect normal game recaps and analysis for a decent number of them. You can also follow me on Twitter, @DomenicVadala, for game highlights and reaction as well. However come April 1st in Boston, we’ll be full-throttle!