The Baltimore Orioles announced yesterday that they’ve added an exhibition game to the end of the schedule. They’re slated to play the NY Mets on Tuesday, March 26th at 2 PM. The game will be held at the Naval Academy, and by broadcast on the Orioles Radio Network.
The Birds will play the NY Mets the day prior as well in their Sarasota finale. This game will count towards the Grapefruit League “standings” – for what that’s worth. The O’s open the season two days later on March 26th against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Two years ago the Washington Nationals “hosted” a final exhibition game against Boston at the Naval Academy. The Orioles stepped in however and ensured that they would be the only team allowed to do so again, as Anne Arundel County is located within Baltimore’s television market. The Birds did some outreach last year at the Naval Academy prior to the regular season starting, and now this.
The Orioles also announced that Chandler Shepherd will get the start in tomorrow’s exhibition opener at Atlanta. I have to admit, I didn’t see that one coming. Shepherd ironically started the regular season finale last year against Boston at Fenway Park. He’s only expected to pitch a couple of innings tomorrow, but he gets the start. Still no word on who starts Sunday at home against Boston.
Along with the rest of MLB, the Baltimore Orioles have to be looking towards West Palm Beach where the Houston Astros train while shaking their heads. Not only because of what they were doing in terms of the cheating scandal. But how they’ve handled it since the news of it brok. How one handles a situation can often begin to take on a life all of it’s own in cases like this. Needless to say with Houston, that’s what’s happening.
First off, when Houston won the 2017 World Series there’s not a fan across baseball that wasn’t happy for them. They had rebuilt their organization from the ground up. It appeared they had done it the right way, and that they had succeeded. Save for the fact that they cheated, that may well have been true.
But the players came across as less than humble about their success. They were loud and proud about the fact that they were the champions. Some people might not have an issue with that per se, however when it later comes out that you were cheating…yeah you’re going to get some blow back when you were less-than-gracious winners to begin with.
But it goes well beyond that. Players have come off as less than contrite when talking about this matter. And that’s a real problem. ALL PLAYERS from the 2017 squad should be counting their blessings that they got immunity. Instead, in their minds they seem to have done nothing wrong. That’s a major problem.
Each time they speak on the matter they put their foots further and further into their mouths. We’re supposed to believe that someone’s wife just didn’t want him taking his shirt off? And then we’re later supposed to believe that he had a bad tattoo he didn’t want shown? We’re just supposed to accept that?
This story isn’t going away. People are still talking about the 1919 Black Sox scandal, they’re still talking about gambling in baseball, and they’re still talking about PED’s. This isn’t going away. But engaging in self-preservation tactics such as excuse-making isn’t going to make it go away faster. It’s going to keep it in the national discussion.
The moral of this story is that organizations need to engage in proper damage-control when things like this happen. Because if you don’t, the poor manner in which the situation is handled will blow right up in your face.
Many fans will want to know who gets the ball in the Baltimore Orioles’ spring opener on Saturday against Atlanta. And for sure, it’ll mean something when manager Brandon Hyde tells us who it’s going to be. That will happen sometime between now and Saturday!
But keep in mind that many starters and/or regular players don’t play in road games during spring. At least not until the end of the spring. So whether Saturday gives us a fair representation of who might be in the rotation might be tough to gauge.
That’s why Orioles fans should be more in tuned with who starts on Sunday afternoon against Boston. That’ll be the “home opener” in Sarasota for the Birds. And generally the regulars will play in the home games. So it stands to reason that whomever gets that assignment might be looking to be in the rotation.
The Baltimore Orioles and the rest of Major League Baseball is being set up to have big problems this season – set up by Commissioner Rob Manfred. The commissioner has come out in the past few days and said that it would be inappropriate for teams to target Houston Astros players in games due to the cheating scandal. Former Oriole Nick Markakis said it best:
I feel like every single guy over there (on the Astros) needs a beating.Quote courtesy of AM-680 “The Fan,” Atlanta, GA.
At first I thought that the penalties handed down were appropriate. I’m now re-thinking that. I get why the league had to grant immunity to the players in order to hold the organization accountable. But all in all it does seem like a miscarriage of justice. And what’s more is that players across the league are expressing similar sentiments to what Markakis said above.
This truly is the perfect storm. Because Houston seems to feel that they’re being treated unfairly. If you listen to their players, there seems to be very little contrition. If anything, it’s the league and other players and teams who are having the audacity to target them. Baseball’s always policed itself in many instances. Odds are this will be no different.
The moment one Houston Astros’ player is hit by a pitch, their bench is going to be chirping and saying that the guy should be suspended. And eventually that’ll probably happen – but not before someone incites a bench-clearing brawl presumably. And is Commissioner Manfred okay with giving worse discipline for guys retaliating for a legitimate reason than he did for the group who committed the act to begin with?
It’s not only that. The commissioner also said that he wasn’t taking the trophy away from them because it’s only hardware. So you’ve just disrespected every other World Series champion in the history of the game. In the name of what? Protecting the Houston Astros and their flimsy ego’s?
The commissioner is miscarrying justice. There isn’t anything that can be done about it, but he’s miscarrying justice.
The Baltimore Orioles will open the season on March 26th at home against NY. The rest of the league opens that day as well, and we’ll see first pitch ceremonies across baseball that day. But as of right now, to my knowledge, there’ll be one guy specifically NOT throwing a first pitch: President Donald Trump.
This is one of my favorite repeat or annual columns that I write. I do a variation of it every year on President’s Day. There’s no sport in America which has the relationship with the White House that Major League Baseball has. And in large part, that’s due to baseball being America’s Pastime. It was our only sport of consequence for some time.
But it’s also due to the fact that in 1910, President William Howard Taft was invited to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day for the Washington Senators. And the tradition stuck. President Barack Obama commemorated the 100th anniversary of Presidential First Pitches in 2010 on Opening Day at Nationals Park.
Generally these Presidential First Pitches come on Opening Day or in the World Series. Obviously one of the most famous was in 2001 when President George W. Bush threw out the first ball in the World Series after 9/11 in New York. But there are plenty of other notable times a President has thrown out the first ball.
President Calvin Coolidge did the honors on numerous occasions. Ironically however “Silent Cal” wasn’t a huge baseball fan. Instead it was his wife who followed the sport, but he appreciated the opportunity to take her out to the ballgame every year. In 1940 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first pitch (on Opening Day at Griffith Stadium in Washington DC) hit a Washington Post camera. Roosevelt was President for 12+ years, and he did the honors many times. He just had poor aim!
President Harry Truman, being ambidextrous, threw two balls in 1950 – one right and one left-handed. President John F. Kennedy also opened the 1962 season by throwing out the first ball at the new DC Stadium. Ironically, it would be renamed years later for the President’s slain brother, and is still known today as RFK Stadium.
President Richard M. Nixon, in the absence of baseball in Washington, took the tradition to the west coast in 1973 and did the honors in Anaheim. Finally in 1979, the tradition came to Baltimore. President Jimmy Carter threw out the first pitch in the 1979 World Series at Memorial Stadium. President Ronald Reagan came to town in 1984 for and did the honors, although not on Opening Day. President Reagan was also the first President to throw the pitch from the field. Previously Presidents would sit in the first row near the home dugout, and throw the ball to the catcher from there.
President George H.W. Bush came to Memorial Stadium in 1989 for Opening Day, and he returned later in his term with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. I remember that well, as they sat in a suite during the game and got to meet players and coaches from both the Orioles and Oakland A’s. I recall in the lead up to the game people were wondering if the Queen would eat a hot dog, requiring her to remove her white gloves. President Bush also came to Camden Yards for the inaugural first pitch on Opening Day in 1992.
The last President to do these honors in Baltimore was President Bill Clinton. He came to Camden Yards twice, most recently in 1996. However baseball returned to Washington in 2005, all but guaranteeing that future Presidents would most probably a throw out first pitches exclusively at Nationals Park. George W. Bush did so twice, and Barack Obama once.
Which brings us back to President Trump. I’m not naive, folks. I’m aware of the controversy surrounding this President. I have strong views on the situation, which I choose not to share in this column. But this is a fun, and non-partisan tradition. I wish it would continue.
Especially for a guy like Donald Trump, who apparently had a tryout with the Philadelphia Phillies. It nevertheless, I’m of the opinion that the President should throw out the first ball on Opening Day in Washington DC every year. Trump did attend a World Series game in DC last October, but didn’t throw a pitch. I call on the Washington Nationals organization, and the White House to make this happen. In closing I’ll say it again (and I always close this column in this manner): The President of the United States should throw out the first ball in Washington DC on Opening Day EVERY YEAR.
One thing that manager Brandon Hyde had learned about managing the Baltimore Orioles is how precarious guys’ health can be. And I’m not talking about labrums, quads, knees, etc. I’m talking the flu.
Pitchers and catchers reported last week, and sure enough so did the flu bug. All it takes is one guy to have something, and suddenly the entire clubhouse is at risk. All the Orioles can really do is send guys home when they’re taken ill. And that’s exactly what they do.
However the problem is that with any virus you’re at your most contagious in the 24 hours before you show symptoms. So you could be exposing other guys and not know it. Kind of a big issue.
This happens to almost every team on an annual basis. Last year it happened to the O’s in April – during the regular season. That’s certainly worse than having it happen now. It just goes to show you that players aren’t superhuman. They’re just as susceptible to germs and virus’ as you and I.
Along with the rest of the fans around the league, I have to imagine that Baltimore Orioles’ fans were appalled earlier this week when the Houston Astros offered their apologies for the cheating scandal. Various players spoke from the team’s spring training facility in West Palm Beach. As did ownership and manager Dusty Baker.
Baker came off as genuine. And why not? He’s the one guy who legitimately had nothing to do with this. All he can do is talk about the future, and how the organization’s going to move on.
But players and ownership sounded like they were reading from prepared texts. Odds are they were. I’ve said since the beginning that I thought the penalties were appropriate. However the situation’s only gotten worse since the news broke. More people were involved and knew about it. There was obviously an attempt to hoodwink every other team in the league. And they did, because they won the World Series.
Am I saying that the lack of remorse should make MLB dish out more discipline? No, I’m not a fan of doing that either. I firmly believe that you shouldn’t “re-discipline” people if it was unpopular the first time. But Houston’s really testing the limits of that point.
Another sentiment that’s circulating is that teams are going to target the Astros this year. And it wouldn’t shock me to see their players plunked more than often. And ultimately a guy could face more discipline for that than the Houston players did for the cheating to begin with. Where’s the justice there?
The Baltimore Orioles have made what appears to be a minor signing, but one that could have implications for the 2020 season. They signed LHP Tommy Milone to a minor league deal. The contract also comes with an invitation to spring training.
Milone, 33, made his debut with Washington in 2011, and has pitched for six teams since then. He has a career 4.47 ERA, and a record of 50-47. Now a veteran, Milone has primarily been a reliever the past couple of seasons after being a starting pitcher before that.
My understanding is that the Orioles are going to attempt to work Milone out as a potential starter. And why not, given that he’s started before, and he isn’t costing them too much money. And on a minor league deal at that.
But Milone has the potential to be a veteran back-of-the-rotation presence who could eat some innings. A guy to whom perhaps the Means’ of the world could look for guidance. The rotation is the biggest question mark for this organization going into Grapefruit League play, so if Milone can step up and look good in spring outings he has a real shot at breaking camp as a starter for the Orioles.
Baltimore Orioles’ fans are in luck if they want to get an early look at the team. As per usual, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) will be airing seven spring training games in 2020. Whatever your reason for tuning in, be it to see the regulars gearing up for the season or to see the future of the team, I suggest you tune in.
The seven games aired by MASN are as follows:
- February 23rd vs. Boston (1 PM)
- February 26th vs. Atlanta (1 PM)
- March 2nd vs. Tampa (1 PM)
- March 8th vs. NYY (1 PM)
- March 12th vs. Toronto (1 PM)
- March 20th vs. Boston (6 PM)
- March 22nd vs. Philadelphia (1 PM)
That first game against Boston of course is the Orioles’ home opener in Sarasota. There might be other games that are aired on television in the sense of them being picked up by ESPN or MLB Network. But that remains to be seen. The Orioles presumably will also have a slate of games air on the radio, and we’ll report on that list as soon as we get it.
As the Baltimore Orioles gather in Sarasota for their preliminary workouts, the baseball world’s eyes are once again on Houston. As time is going on, it appears that the cheating scandal is getting worse and worse. Yesterday we heard alleges of the cheating continuing past 2017, and that it went back well before that year as well.
As we know, Major League Baseball already handed down it’s punishments to Houston. But could there be more on the way? The players presumably were given immunity from punishment, and I believe that regardless of anything else the league should honor it’s commitment. (Legally they might have no choice.) But could this change things?
If in fact it turns out that the cheating continued past 2017, perhaps there’s some leeway. The league may well be able to hand down suspensions because in theory the players were only talking about 2017 in terms of the immunity. Maybe what happened after 2017 is still free game.
It sounds like a lot more people knew what was going on than we initially though. And the fact is that the league’s been under pressure by more and more fans to issue further discipline. Again, I don’f favor that per se. But if the scandal went further than previously though, I think that does make a difference.