February 21, 2010
Big League Stew contributor David Brown began his spring swing through Florida's Grapefruit League on Saturday with a trip to Sarasota to check on the new tenants in town, the Baltimore Orioles. Check back throughout the day here for reports from the soon-to-be-renovated Ed Smith Sports Complex. Also follow Dave's Twitter feed for updates on what's happening Sunday.
Good morning, my runaround Stewies!
If you think something magic happens every time you go to a Baltimore Orioles spring-training workout, I can affirm. But there's more to them than Orioles Magic, which we'll get to in a later post.
Kevin Millwood(notes), pictured above with pitching coach Rick Kranitz to the left, brings 13 years of experience after being traded from the Texas Rangers. Other than the outs Millwood gets, his leadership, it is hoped, will take some pressure of Jeremy Guthrie(notes) and the inexperienced starters who follow in the rotation.
"More than anything, he's going to be a huge guy for the young guys to look to see how he works and how he goes about his business.
"And if they can start having his work habits now, who knows where they will be able to be eight, 10 years in."
Whoa, whoa! Eight years! The O's haven't had a winning season in the past 12 years. Wieters is one of the top young players in the game, so maybe he'll be around to see the Orioles turn the ship north in the standings. Outfielder Adam Jones(notes) says it has to get better, and soon.
"The arrow has to be pointing up. It has to," Jones said, "or it will be terrible. We won't finish well at all."
OK, boys and girls. How 'bout some more pictures?
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The Orioles are reputedly rich in pitching prospects and Brandon Erbe is one of the better ones. That's one reason this little red-haired boy is being forced by his guardian to ask for Erbe's autograph. A teenaged George Sherrill(notes) impersonator (in the Hilton Hotels logo cap) looks on. Born on Christmas Day 1987 in Owings Mills, Md., Erbe can throw in the upper 90s and is 6 feet, 4 inches of gracious autograph signer.
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Manager Dave Trembley deals with the unfortunate facts of living in the AL East, where the Red Sox and Yankees are expected by most to rule. The Orioles have been touted as a "sleeping giant" by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. I'm just not sure if Trembley will still be managing by the time the giant's eyes open. He won't be if it's going to take EIGHT YEARS, Wieters (right).
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Because it's what we do, here's an update on Nick Markakis'(notes) hair. Over the winter, it appeared to be in mountain man mode. But the time for duck blinds has passed. It's now time to get cranking on the home runs and if that takes shaving off every last blade of hair, that's what No. 21 will do.
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Finally, at least for now, I made a purchase at the souvenir tent. An orange — very, VERY orange — Orioles hoodie, just like this one. I can't wear it "at work" but I will at home, where I will be seen quite easily by all Chicago ground traffic no matter the lack of light.
I don't know what the question is, but the answer is none. None more orange. Which brings me to the nice lady at the tent who sold it to me.
Me: "Not only is it well-made and stylish, but I'll be able to be seen from miles away."
Nice Lady (perfectly serious): "Oh, you could totally take this and go deer huting."
Stay tuned for more from Sarasota. Don't crowd, people! Room for everyone!