This is March in Baltimore. Sixty degrees one day, thirty the next for no apparent reason. Being in education we are in the long period of uninterrupted time between President’s Day and Spring Break that just makes the kids antsy and uncooperative. Daylight Savings time means we all start getting up in the darkness again, just as soon as we were all enjoying the sunshine but March does bring us one glorious thing – Spring Training baseball.
The Orioles opened up camp earlier this month and games are under way. Early impressions:
-Chen Wei-Yin is going to be a very good pitcher for us. He has only pitched two innings but his bullpen sessions have brought nothing but good news and he is starting to turn some heads. SI’s Jon Heyman tweeted after Chen’s start that he could be a “sleeper”. I contend that Chen would not be such a “sleeper” if he were picked up by another team, but I digress.
-Brian Roberts is done. Stacey Long over at Camden Chat posted these pictures from the 2012 photo day sessions and I agree that Roberts looks so sad. He looks like a shell of his former self. His small frame is usually balanced out with an athletic physique but no more. A Summer and a half of limited work outs he just looks small. He looks so small that I just don’t see how we will possibly see Brian Roberts start in a major league game this year. I honestly predict a contract buyout before Opening Day.
-Brian Matusz isn’t “back” yet, but he is rounding the corner and about to pull into “back’s” driveway. Yes, he gave up three runs in his first Spring Training start but the most important thing is his velocity. Matusz’ velocity was back up in the low 90’s consistently throughout his two innings. Matusz’ inexplicable drop in velocity last season led to his horrendous nightmare of a Summer. There is no way that Brian Matusz is a 10 ERA pitcher and getting the zip on his pitches back is step one to getting back.
-Nolan Reimold is cursed. Yesterday Nolan Reimold was drilled in the face by an Alex Cobb fastball. Thankfully, he is okay minus a swollen cheek and a chipped back tooth. Reimold is another important key to this team. Reimold burst onto the scene in 2009 but a disastrous ’10 campaign set him back. He came on strong toward the end on 2011, as he got more ABs, and has been named the starting left fielder for the team. Reimold has the ability to leadoff as well, something this team needs without Roberts in the lineup. in 2009 Reimold got on-base at a .362 clip, very impressive and useful in the number one slot. Reimold also has very significant power and having a guy who can get on base and have 15+ homer power at the top of the lineup is something that can only help the Orioles going forward.
-Jason Berken will likely not break camp with the team due to injury, and we aren’t freaking out about it. The reason why is because of Dan Duquette’s offseason. Duquette went out and got as many arms as possible any way possible and now we actually have depth in the bullpen. Last year Berken’s injuries put a big hole in the pen and it hurt the team. Now if Berken misses the first month or so of the season it is no big deal because there seems to be an army of relievers waiting to take his place. Every year fans go into the offseason expecting the pen to be a strength but with so many arms competing for so few spots this year it might actually be true.
March is usually long, annoying and boring. Spring Training baseball finally gives me something to talk about and digest over the sameness of the days. But not this year. This year March has been fantastic. You see, on March third I married the love of my life. I met her at a local pup four-and-a-half years ago. We talked about teaching, school, history and I was smitten. I then offered to take her to Opening Day that year, she nearly leapt with excitement, I knew it was love. Fast forward to March third, 2012 when we committed our lives to one another and she made me the happiest man in the world.
This Summer should be fun.