Thursday, March 27, 2008


It's staying light longer, the Leafs are all-but-eliminated ... that can mean only one thing: We'll soon see the first halter top of the season. OK, two things: It's almost baseball season, that mystical, wonderful time of year where you commit to a team for six months, knowing full well they won't win. Here's a starting nine for the Baltimore Orioles.

  1. Stuff White People Like #93 -- pop-culture references: The Wire, set in Baltimore, recently wrapped up its run, but the Orioles are still around to provide a portrait of hopelessness, despair, decay and ruin.

    You'd have a better chance of finding a bullfighter in Nova Scotia than finding anyone who isn't down on the O's.

    The glass-half-full take is that GM Andy MacPhail once rejuvenated the Twins, who once upon a time were also mired in mediocrity and hemorrhaging public goodwill due to having a cheapskate owner. The Orioles are pretty much in the same spot.
  2. Bill of goods: It's pretty clear that Guillermo Quiroz is Spanish for "Sal Fasano," but it's heartwarming to learn that the former Blue Jay has found a home in Baltimore.

    Quiroz is pencilled in to be the personal catcher for Canuck lefty Adam Loewen, whose 2007 season was ended by a stress fracture in his elbow. That ought get Quiroz what, 10, maybe 11 starts? Keep your fingers crossed he'll get more.
  3. When it all goes wrong again: Back in 2006, the Orioles looked like pretty set for starting pitching -- righties Daniel Cabrera and Hayden Penn; left-handers Loewen and Erik Bédard.

    One by one: Cabrera has morphed into the second coming of Armando Benitez (wicked fastball. Penn is beginning his third season in Triple-A. Loewen is coming off surgery and Bédard, as you might have heard, is sipping lattes in Seattle.

    (Kameron Mickolio, one of the pitchers picked up in the Bedard deal, is a big curiosity -- a 6-foot-9 fireballer but extremely raw, since he didn't start pitching until after he was out of high school.)
  4. Oh, one game proves nothing: In a space of a few weeks last summer, the Orioles became the first team in 110 years to get lit up for 30 runs in a game and got no-hit, 10-0, by Boston's Clay Buchholz in just his second major-league start.
  5. The experts speak: "The Orioles are likely as 5 1/4-inch floppy disks to make a comeback in 2008." -- Baseball Prospectus 2008
  6. Which segues right into: All that living lost to playing Earl Weaver Baseball on the family Tandy between 1988 and '97 has cultivated a lifelong soft spot for the Orioles.

    Man oh man, could the game use a manager like Earl Weaver.
  7. Well, someone has to go first: BP 2008 has Opening Day starter Jeremy Guthrie down for a 6-8 record and a 5.07 earned-run average in 125 innings this season. That's about as close as the Orioles come to having an ace pitcher.
  8. The Two-Thirds Trio: Nick Markakis in right and Adam Jones in centre will be stars someday.
  9. Need-to-know: It promises to be a 162-game dirge down in Baltimore. The biggest story around the team might be whether they can get a nice package in return for leadoff man Brian Roberts. It's a long road back to being able to contend to be the best of the second-tier teams in the AL East.

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to


Anonymous said...

Please note that the Orioles right fielder is Nick Markakis, two k's, not two s's. You spelled it wrong last year, too.
-An Orioles fan who reads your blog

sager said...

Good catch ... Mar-ka-kis, of course, can pronounce it but have trouble with the spelling.

Typically it's been the other way around. Thanks.