Dear Baltimore Orioles,
With just 11 days ’til baseball season starts — the earliest Opening Day ever — I thought I’d drop a note and say “hi.”
I see that lots has been going on in Birdland.
You’ve set up a new program to let kids attend Orioles games for free through the 2018 season. You’re expanding play areas at the park and creating new menu options especially for kids. Awesome!
Since I last wrote, you’ve picked up a couple of starting pitchers.
Good for you.
Welcome back, Chris Tillman and your 7.34 ERA.
You were a broken Bird most of last season which, we’re assured, is the reason for the stinky ERA. I hope you’re feeling better because I hate when Editor/Husband yells when starters get shelled in the third inning. (Or, second. Or, first.)
And, welcome to Birdland, Andrew Cashner.
Your 3.40 ERA in 2017 with the Rangers would have made you the ace of the O’s. The ace.
Cashner signed a two-year, $16-million deal. This would be plenty for most people. But, Cashner made the Orioles front office waive their strict no facial hair clause, refusing to sign with the team if he had to shave his beard. “I think this length is kind of what it’s supposed to be, I guess,” he told The Baltimore Sun.
You have to appreciate a guy who wants his beard to be happy.
You know what will make me happy, Cash’? How about 15 wins?
(A note to the Official Team Beard Checker: Look at the other O’s in this post. There may be some fuzz-cheaters in your ranks.)
That brings the Orioles to four starting pitchers. Math isn’t my strong suit, but let me try.
Number of starting pitchers a Major League baseball team requires: 5
Number of starting pitchers the Orioles currently have on their roster: 4
5 – 4 = 1
Wait. Something’s not adding up.
I know that you have a lot of things going on, Orioles. With so much doing to do, who has time to fill out a roster?
I’m here to help.
Sure, I get annoyed when someone who has never done my job tries to tell me how to do my job. I get a little snippy. I’m counting on you to rise above snippiness and hear me out.
Some Orioles will begin the season on the Disabled List. Closer Zach Britton. Sometimes slugger Mark Trumbo.
Another sometimes slugger Chris Davis also seems to be sometimes broken.
Here’s a thought. I know you like veteran players – age and experience are a plus. Their lower price tag, like a loaf of day-old bread, an even bigger plus.
I have found an available free agent to fit your needs.
Sure, he’s 34, which is 238 in dog years. But, no one else has signed him. Actually being available is a big plus, right?
There are a few negatives:
** He’s not a pitcher. Well, he’s not a pitcher currently. As I mentioned, Reynolds is 34, which is only 33 in sea turtle years. I was about that age when I switched careers. So, why not see if he can heave the ball over the plate? If you fail, you say, “Well, he’s a fielder, we knew this stupid idea wouldn’t work.” But, if he succeeds you are – and by you, I really mean, I am – brilliant.
** He’s 34, which is 198 in armadillo years. But, Mark Trumbo who is on the D-List (that’s what you call the Disabled List, right?) is 32, which is 128 in guinea pig years, so it’s pretty close. Plus, they’re both named Mark which simplifies a swap-out.
** Reynolds says he would prefer to re-sign with Colorado, but he is also content to not sign with anyone and spend more time with his family. But, he still lives in Virginia, which is nearly commuting distance to Baltimore. It never hurts to ask, right?
There are plenty of plusses:
** He used to be an Oriole. You might even have a box of his caps and jerseys tucked away somewhere. You save a few bucks and he’s practically turn-key!
** He’s funny. Which you can see here as he discusses the unsuccessful “Final Vote” campaign to send him to last year’s All-Star game. Being funny is an intangible. It won’t win you any games, but it will win you points with The Baseball Bloggess.
(I originally posted this video last summer. So? Still funny.)
** He’s a University of Virginia alum and in January he was inducted into the UVA Baseball Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class. This may be meaningless to you, but not to me.
15 HRs in 2002 are the most by a UVA First Year * 35 Career HRs are 2nd most in UVA history
** He strikes out a lot, which, admittedly, doesn’t seem like a plus. (He led the league in strikeouts in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.) Last year, he K’d 175 times, placing him at #10. He struck out 34 percent of the time.
But, Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis K’d 195 times last season, which was 40 percent of the time.
You do the math. No, really, you do it. I hate math.
** Sure, Reynolds is 34, which is 442 in squirrel years. That means he was born in 1983. Do you know what else happened in 1983?
The Orioles won their last World Series.
On the day Mark Reynolds was born, August 3, 1983, the Orioles defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-2.
Storm Davis got his 10th win. Eddie Murray hit a homerun and a double. Rookie Cal Ripken grounded into a double play.
Ummmm … That’s Uncomfortable.
The Orioles won and Mark Reynolds was born. The Orioles went on to win the World Series.
What could be more perfect than that?
Glad I could help.
Your Forever Oriole Friend, The Baseball Bloggess
Wow, I’m 21 again—in sea turtle years (give or take a year or two). Watch out ladies.
Lottsa luck this season, Bloggess.(See if they can trade for either Kershaw or the entire Astros lineup)
In Galapagos Turtle years I’m 25 … unfortunately still not young enough to score free tickets with the Orioles kids’ promotion. Good luck to your Dodgers, v … and I say this every year, because it is a tradition, and because I never give up: See you in the World Series for a rerun of ’66!
Concerning a rerun of ’66—-Hear, Hear!!!!!! (but only with different results)
I said “rerun” not “redo” :)
Hey, 34 is a great age. You’re old enough to have a handle on who you really are and young enough to enjoy it. Hope the O’s hear your message.
I think 34 is about 108 in baseball years. That said, I think Mark is a great influence, a veteran to look up to, and smart enough to make up for an ever-aging body. Plus, funny. Never discount a sense of humor. I think I have made a pretty convincing case. :)
Wow! You know you’d hear from me! Personally, Mark is a great personality and was key to the Rockies last year. Not only as a player, but a fan favorite and clubhouse team player. Our ‘Be Like Mark’ campaign was pure fun. We would welcome him back with open arms, as we did with Cargo. But we don’t get to make those decisions…the annoying ones do. To find pitchers, Rockies went to their farm system. We’ll talk again on this, I am sure!
The Rox are definitely the front runners … the O’s and Cards have also inquired … two other places he has played. To have former teams come calling speaks to Reynolds’ talent and character.
The O’s could certainly do worse than Mark. And, of course, this post reminds me of his early baseball “lineage” in the area we knew growing up as Tidewater.
Well done, Bloggess!
What a great SI story … I love it! Thanks for sharing it. When I was putting together the Virginia-Born Project I was looking forward to writing about Mark and couldn’t figure out, initially, why he wasn’t on the Virginia lists I was pulling together. That’s when I discovered he was actually born in Kentucky … so he didn’t make the “born in Virginia” requirement. (I still might bend the rules for him.) There’s sure some wonderful baseball elixir in the Tidewater air!
Yes indeed, a potent elixir now- apparently requiring decades of fermentation 😉. In my youth (and I’m advancing in Dirt years), it was pretty much solely Chuck Stobbs. ⚾️
In redwood years, I am mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms, but shall try to respond anyway. (I’m brave like that.) You get no sympathy from me. My Tigers have 2, maybe 3….um, okay, maybe 1 starting pitcher, and he isn’t sure he feels so good. He got a boo boo on his elbow. That would be Michael Fulmer, who, when healthy, is a kick-ass major league hurler. After that we have Nats retread and reverse league ERA “leader” Jordan Zimmerman, who busies himself sending war-mongering telegrams to the Mexican government when not serving up dingers to anyone with a bat in his hands. Also, in squirrel years, he is 5,349. After him, we have Boyd and Norris, two Blue Jay babies who fell out of the nest when David Price flew over to Canada. Occasionally, they each display promise, making their parents so proud. Mostly, though, they get bombarded. After them, we have, like your Orioles, ? Mark and the Mysterians. 96 tears may not be nearly enough once the season starts. Speaking of, I cannot summon my normal excitement over a Thursday opener against the NL Pirates. Whee.
For the record I hate–really hate–all the lumberjack beards. I know you, hitting one fifty three…got to be good looking cos he’s so hard to see. I notice that Miguel Cabrera showed up without the scraggly goatee this spring. He lost about 134 squirrel years in doing so. May those who remain furred-up contract a deadly case of Mike Napoli disease and be cursed to wander from team to team. If they cannot stop for a razor~~May one kindly stop for them.
Yes, the Tigers seem to be in a similar mess as the O’s. Sorry about that.
What I don’t understand about all the beardedness is this — it must be unbearably hot under there in the middle of summer. Ack.
There was a time when I would mourn the Twins starting their season on the road. This year I am pretty much excited about opening up in Baltimore.
You’re not helping.
I’m sorry your Orioles are dragging their feet… so close to the season! But I do love your humor in spite of the situation.
I believe I may have spurred them to sign Alex Cobb last night. Maybe, maybe not. I’m going to go ahead and take credit for it anyway!
Looking forward to your annual predictions for the season this year–I do hope you’ll be entertaining us with this year’s edition prior to opening day! A sense of humor goes a very long way with me, but it does not get the ball over the plate now, does it? Good luck to your beloved Orioles!
Thanks Wendy … please check your gmail for an email from me on that very post you are referencing. :)
Congratulations on now having 5 different pitchers to start before the regular season does! 😉
Thank you! I was very surprised by the signing of Alex Cobb last night (most O’s fans were).
I’ve very excited and look forward to our next four years together. (Please know I said those exact same words in 2014 when we signed Ubaldo Jimenez to a 4-year deal. With apologies to Ubaldo, who I think is a great guy, I hope the baseball gods are kinder to us with this one.)
Great Read and good luck this season. Safeco has also expanded it’s kiddo areas and food menus. Say, how did you get so many followers? I just started my blog and would appreciate any tips you might have.
Thanks for stopping by. I’ve been blogging now for six years … patience and writing regularly is important. Also, I’ve had the good fortune of being recognized by a few online and print outlets that have featured my work. And, I’ve found my niche — highlighting the life stories of little known Virginians who played baseball — has its own little following of history and baseball buffs. Write because you love to write … the rest will follow. I know it sounds trite, but I stand by it! Best of luck to you … and I’ll be sure to stop by and check out your blog! :)
Hey, thanks for that! Yes, please do. I’m new to writing about baseball but enjoying it immensely. I usually write long-form fiction and essay, however, I wanted to endeavor on a project more cathartic and less intense. I can already see how you’ve been able to stay engaged for 6-years! Well, keep in touch, and thanks again.