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Put a bird on it!



Updated: 2017-03-27T10:00:02-04:00

 



Camden Chat’s 2017 pre-season contest

2017-03-27T10:00:02-04:00

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Everyone’s favorite contest has returned!

Every year we do a fun pre-season contest where you can make a bunch of predictions about the Orioles and, if you answer enough correctly, brag about it as much as you want come October. This is that contest!

If you are unfamiliar with the contest, it’s pretty simple. There are four categories of questions to answer. Many you will be able to make an educated prediction on, some are just silly. There are no prizes for winning other than a feeling of smug superiority, but trust me that feels pretty good on its own.

While I am the one who publishes this contest every year, I owe a shout out to my lovely husband Paul and to my good friend (and blog boss) Mark for helping me work through these questions and get a good variety throughout. Thanks also to the members of the Camden Chat community who submitted questions. I have included your names in the questions you provided.

A common question I get is about a player’s stats if he is traded to another team mid-season. Only his stats as an Oriole will count for the purposes of this exercise. There are also questions about what kind of series constitutes a sweep; I have answered that on the form. You may not like the answer, but what are you gonna do?

If you have any other questions, please drop them in the comments.

Unlike in years past, Google Forms requires you to click the next button to go to each new section. Be sure to answer the entire thing! After you do you’ll get to see a summary of responses for everyone who has answered so far. If you are having trouble with the embedded form below, here is a direct link to the questions.

Have fun! I hope you win.

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The Orioles have some choices for their Opening Day bench

2017-03-27T09:00:06-04:00

The Orioles not needing a fifth starter until April 15 gives them some more options for their Opening Day bench, even if the flexibility won’t last. There isn’t much silver lining to be found in the Orioles being without previously-expected Opening Day starter Chris Tillman for at least all of April. With Tillman ailing, though, and the fifth turn in the starting rotation not coming up until April 15, the Orioles can at least gain a little flexibility in how they stock their bench in the very early parts of the season. The Orioles may not end up choosing to do this, although if they don’t, that would be against the usual way that Dan Duquette operates. He may love marginal roster moves more than his children. The assortment of fifth starter candidates - Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson, Gabriel Ynoa, Jayson Aquino, possibly others - can all be optioned to the minor leagues to start off the season. That means that if the Orioles carry the standard seven man bullpen and only four starters until April 15, they get to squeeze an extra bench spot until then, no matter who comes up to pitch in that spot. The fate of one extra bench spot for nine games isn’t going to mean a whole lot for the season. That’s only 5.5% of the games in the upcoming season. But one way the Orioles have been able to exceed expectations in recent years has been their constant tweaking to have the best 25-man roster they can for each day’s game. Putting off a decision on how to trim the bench for nine games is absolutely an Orioles move. Who could be a good candidate for a short-term fifth bench spot? Before answering that, we’d have to settle on who we think are the four bench players who will be carrying on regardless. Two spots are easy. There must always be a backup catcher. Barring an injury in the last week of spring training, that seems like Caleb Joseph. There must also be a utility infielder. Ryan Flaherty will probably be that guy, once again standing sentinel over the Orioles infield, ready to do his thing when someone needs a day off. Things get hazier when you start to consider the outfield. The current assumption is that the last two bench spots the Orioles will have for most of the season will go to right-handed hitting outfielders, because the O’s seem to be committed to having two corner outfielders, Hyun Soo Kim and Seth Smith, who need platoon partners against left-handed pitchers. The Orioles are capable of confounding these assumptions by doing something weird and Oriole-like. They might decide, for instance, that Mark Trumbo is sufficient to man one of those corner outfield spots against left-handed starting pitchers. That would open up a bench spot for someone who may not be an outfielder at all. They could also continue to practice their “anyone can play outfield” philosophy by deploying Trey Mancini in this way. Neither of those are good ideas, though they may be Orioles ideas. Still, for the purposes of this exercise, I’m going with Joey Rickard and Craig Gentry as the assumed bench outfielders. Craig Gentry Gentry is giving every indication of being the kind of guy who will try to revive his career for a year in Baltimore. As long as Gentry’s healthy - a big if - he looks like the perfect prototypical fourth outfielder. He has speed and can play any outfield spot. He’s also a player the Orioles would need to have on the MLB team soon or they could lose him to an opt-out. When the opt-out guys have shown something, the O’s tend to give them a chance with the MLB club before losing them for nothing. Joey Rickard As for Rickard, well, the Orioles seem to like him. Why that is the case is an open question. Although Rickard had an exciting first week of the season last year, he went on to post a middling OBP with little power and poor defensive numbers before an injury ended his season on July 20. At -0.7 fWAR, Rickard was actually one of the worst players in MLB last season. But he is definitely, probably, maybe, hopefully a better right fielder than Trumbo. Aneury T[...]



Monday Bird Droppings: More cuts coming as Opening Day approaches

2017-03-27T07:09:37-04:00

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One week until Opening Day. Can it be? Yes, friends. We are tantalizingly close to real, live baseball.If the meaningless stuff is your bag, the O's and Red Sox square off today in Grapefruit League ball at 1:05.

Orioles getting closer to 25-man roster - School of Roch
Expect a big round of cuts today, sayeth the self-styled Professor of Posts.

Jayson Aquino eyes rotation job with Orioles | MLB.com
If predicted Jayson Aquino and Gabriel Ynoa would be competing for roster spots, walk do not run to the nearest 7-11 and play the Powerball.

Way-too-early guide to the MLB trade deadline -- Buyers' edition
Yes, this is too early.

Drafting Pitchers Who Have Undergone Tommy John Surgery | FanGraphs Baseball
Seems like something Dan Duquette would get in on. Perhaps coincidentally, drafting TJ pitchers seemed to spike in 2012.

On this day in 1994, the O's traded David Segui to the Mets for a couple guys. Hyun-soo Kim opened the KBO season with a 4-4 performance on this day in 2010.

Momentary O's Junior Lake and Johnny Monell celebrate birthdays today. If you're celebrating with them, please send my regards.




Chris Tillman throws without incident, will head north with Orioles

2017-03-26T12:51:58-04:00

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There hasn’t been much good news about Chris Tillman for a while, but the Orioles pitcher threw on Sunday with no problems.

For the first time in what feels like forever, Chris Tillman went through a scheduled throwing session when he was supposed to without experiencing any setbacks. Manager Buck Showalter told Orioles reporters before Sunday’s spring training game against the Blue Jays that Tillman’s throwing went well today and he’ll be throwing again on Tuesday, as previously planned.

That’s finally some good news about Tillman, or at the very least the stopping of continuing bad news. It’s been one bad thing after another ever since Tillman reported to camp and everyone learned he had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his shoulder back in December.

Tillman’s work on Sunday consisted of playing catch at 60-90 feet. He’s expected to work with longer distances on Tuesday before he starts working his way back into the routine of actually pitching.

Showalter also told reporters that Tillman would accompany the Orioles when they head north from Sarasota rather than remaining behind to pitch in extended spring training. That probably means they’ll just do the bullpen session parts of his rehab in Baltimore rather than having him be distant in Sarasota. It also means he’ll get to be a part of the Opening Day atmosphere, even if he’s not the Opening Day pitcher.

There was no indication that this changes the timeframe of the Orioles expecting Tillman to miss at least all of April. All of the setbacks have robbed him of the usual spring training period to build up his arm strength for a regular workload. If he stays on track to toss again on Tuesday, maybe he really won’t miss much more than April and all of the ballyhooing about the fifth starter will really just be for 3-4 starts.

That wouldn’t be so bad, as long as Tillman doesn’t wake up tomorrow or Wednesday with the kind of soreness that leads them to shut him down again.

For today, the news is good, which hasn’t been the case for a while, so that’s something O’s fans can enjoy.




Sunday Bird Droppings

2017-03-26T08:00:01-04:00

Only 8 days until Opening Day. That is, of course, the uniform number worn proudly by Orioles legend Andy Etchebarren from 1962-1975. Oh, yeah, and Cal Ripken. On to the news... Gabriel Ynoa tosses five scoreless innings (Orioles win 6-3) - MASN Sports Yeah, one starter didn’t suck this weekend! Showalter on Lee: “He’s got a chance to help us this year” - MASN Sports Chris Lee was optioned to Norfolk Saturday, but you’re gonna see him again in an Orioles uniform, and I’d bet it will be soon. Orioles option lefty Chris Lee to Triple-A, but don't rule him out as fifth starter - The Sun See, told you! Orioles' Craig Gentry: 'I didn't know if this opportunity would come again' - The Sun "Honestly, after the past couple years, I didn't know if this opportunity would come again," Craig Gentry said. "I assumed I might be able to be in the minor leagues [this year], something like that, but the opportunity to make a big league team, I didn't know if that would ever pop up again." Orioles' Wade Miley: To make minor league start - CBS Sports He got tired last start, so he gets a MiLB start next. I’m sure this is all part of his plan for world dominance this year. Orioles' Michael Bourn: Timetable pushed back to late April - CBS Sports He and Chris Tillman can play tidily winks to pass the time. Orioles' Adam Jones on his burnished image post-WBC, iconic catch and Team USA success - The Sun Jones talks about “the best experience” of his life after WBC - MASN Sports Both stories are wrapped around the same set of quotes, so go compare. Birthdays and History Happy Birthday to former Orioles Jesus Tavarez, Jarvis Brown, Mickey Weston, and Dan Morogiello. They share today with famous people including poet Robert Frost 1874; singer Al Jolson 1886; playwright Tennessee Williams 1911; U.S. Vietnam commander Gen. William C. Westmoreland 1914; actor Strother Martin 1919; first female SCOTUS Justice Sandra Day O'Connor 1930; actor Leonard Nimoy 1931; actor Alan Arkin 1934; actor James Caan 1939; former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives and Baltimore native Nancy Pelosi 1940; Watergate journalist Bob Woodward 1943; singer Diana Ross 1944; Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler 1948; actress Jennifer Grey 1960 - Actress ("Dirty Dancing"); country performer Kenny Chesney 1968; guitarist James Iha 1968; and actress Keira Knightley 1985. On this day in Baltimore baseball history... 1960 - A Baltimore Orioles-Cincinnati Reds series scheduled for Havana, Cuba, is moved to Miami, Florida, by Baltimore chief Lee MacPhail. The Reds, with a minor league club in Cuba, want the trip, but the Orioles fear increased political unrest on the island. On this day in world history... 1780 - The British Gazette and Sunday Monitor was published for the first time. It was the first Sunday newspaper in Britain. 1885 - Eastman Kodak (Eastman Dry Plate and Film Co.) produced the first commercial motion picture film in Rochester, NY. 1942 - The Germans began sending Jews to Auschwitz in Poland. 1951 - The U.S. Air Force flag was approved. The flag included the coat of arms, 13 white stars and the Air Force seal on a blue background. 1982 - Ground breaking ceremonies were held in Washington, DC, for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 1989 - The first free elections took place in the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin was elected. 2000 - In Russia, acting President Vladimir Putin was elected president outright. He won a sufficient number of votes to avoid a runoff election. Consider this your discussion space for NCAA Baseball: Michigan at Maryland. [...]



Saturday Bird Droppings

2017-03-25T09:35:17-04:00

Happy Maryland Day! There are a mere 9 days until Opening Day, and you can feel the excitement! That’s the uniform number last worn by David Lough and worn most notably by current Orioles executive/coach/totally-not-the-owner’s-spy Brady Anderson. It was also Reggie Jackson’s number for 1976, the one year he spent with the Orioles. On to the news... Mike Wright hit hard before Trey Mancini gives Orioles 5-5 tie with Twins - The Sun Glad to see the starting rotation rounding into shape heading into the season. Buck Showalter hoping for Chris Tillman's recovery after Orioles rotation candidates falter - The Sun “We’ll keep running them out there and see where we are,” Buck Showalter said. “Hoping things go well Sunday with Chris.” Well, if that doesn’t inspire confidence, I don’t what will. Showalter on Wright’s struggles and more after tie with Twins - MASN Sports It’s basically the same quotes in a slightly different order than the article from The Sun. This, that and the other - MASN Sports Roch’s always helpfully-headlined article runs through a bunch of possibilities in the outcomes of fringe roster pieces like Aneury Tavárez and Logan Schafer. Orioles' Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy get deepest starts of spring in minor league camp - The Sun Not that it went particularly well for either, especially Gausman. Hey, maybe they’re still working on stuff! Trumbo on lack of spring attention: “I couldn’t care less” - The Sun Mark Trumbo doesn’t seem like a player who’s gonna worry about how often he’s mentioned in the game story, as long as the Orioles win. MLB.com’s Richard Justice talks Orioles - MASN Sports Richard Justice covered the O’s for the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post before moving on. Birthdays and History Happy Birthday to former Oriole Woody Held. Well, there’s a name you don’t see every day. Mr. Held shares today with famous people including actor Jeanne Cagney 1919; sportscaster Howard Cosell 1920; author and activist Gloria Steinem 1934; Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin 1942; actress in The Greatest Christmas Movie Ever Bonnie Bedelia 1948; singer Elton John 1947; actress Sarah Jessica Parker 1965; guitarist Jeff Healey 1966; Olympic figure skater Debi Thomas 1967; WNBA legend Sheryl Swoops 1971; and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick 1982. On this day in Baltimore baseball history... nothing much happened. On this day in world history... 1634 - Lord Baltimore founded the Catholic colony of Maryland. Everything else on this day pales in comparison. Consider this your discussion space for NCAA Womens’ Basketball Sweet Sixteen action, and #3 seed Maryland takes on #10 seed Oregon in Bridgeport, CT this morning at 11:30 on ESPN. [...]



Orioles vs. Twins Friday night spring training game thread

2017-03-24T18:50:01-04:00

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Another day, another audition for the Orioles fifth starter spot. Mike Wright gets his turn in the spotlight on Friday night.

There’s not much time left for people on the fringes of the Orioles roster picture to make their case. At least a couple of them will be getting their time to shine, or burn out, on a televised MLB Network spring training game against the Twins on Friday night.

Fifth starter candidate Mike Wright is the biggest of these, though he will have to ply his trade while pitching to an outfield that includes Pedro Alvarez, so it’s fair to say it’s not the best of circumstances for him to do his thing. Not that he’s made the most of any chances where he did have the best of circumstances up until now.

Ryan Flaherty returns to the Orioles lineup for the first time in a while. Seth Smith remains absent, as he has since March 8. It may be time to wonder whether this opens the door for Aneury Tavarez - tonight’s center fielder - for at least a little while.

  1. Ryan Flaherty - 2B
  2. Paul Janish - SS
  3. Pedro Alvarez - RF
  4. Trey Mancini - 1B
  5. Hyun Soo Kim - LF
  6. Chris Johnson - 3B
  7. Chance Sisco - DH
  8. Caleb Joseph - C
  9. Aneury Tavarez - CF

Vidal Nuno and Logan Verrett are also scheduled to pitch after Wright.

This is still a very “road spring training game” lineup that bears no resemblance to one that will take the field in the regular season, not even in some kind of Dave Trembley-esque Sunday forfeit lineup. But it’s less than a week from now that the Grapefruit League will be over. Time to work out the kinks is almost over.




FanPost Friday: Why should somebody root for the Orioles?

2017-03-24T10:00:04-04:00

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There’s a good chance you were born an Orioles fan. If you were trying to win over a brand new fan to the O’s, what would you tell them?

As strange as it is to imagine, not everyone on Earth was born having long-term family ties to a particular baseball team. Some people make their choices later in life for other reasons. Some people even now don’t much care about baseball and have no favorite team at all!

You might have already seen the story of the Reddit user from Croatia who took it upon himself to e-mail all 30 MLB teams to ask why he should pick their team to be his favorite. It’s an interesting experiment, even if in the comments he reveals himself to be a bad person by divulging that he is a Patriots fan who is considering becoming a Red Sox fan since he’s already a Patriots fan.

The reply from the Orioles fan services representative, Erin, is the most thoughtful and personal of the bunch that he has received to date. She mentioned a little bit of everything that the franchise has going on, including some praise for the Orioles charitable efforts.

What would be your pitch to the non-fan about why they should root for the Orioles?

Are you going to try to sell them on going to a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards? The history of the Orioles, including three World Series championships? Or would you lean more on their recent success including the delight of getting to cheer for great players like Manny Machado and Adam Jones?

Comments are closed on this post. Tell everybody your story by writing a FanPost. You don’t have to say a lot - the minimum is just 75 words and any story is a good one. Drop into today’s Bird Droppings and let us know you’ve shared your story so people can check it out.