Friday, February 25, 2011

Fingers Crossed...

Brian Roberts has sat out the last two days (Wednesday and Thursday) of Spring Training.

Don't get too concerned...he says it's his neck, not his back.

Roberts says he slept on it wrong.

He's not concerned. Neither is Buck Showalter. So why should we be?

The answer is simple. As goes Brian Roberts, so go the Orioles.

Ok, to be fair, this season might be different. The Orioles have depth that we haven't seen in years, and...

...that's pretty much all I could think of. Sorry.

The O's don't have another leadoff hitter. Period. The team experimented last season with no success. Roberts gets on base and creates havoc once he's on. How many times has the man stole second, only to steal third on the next pitch? He's just a joy to watch, and keeps the pitcher on his toes.

Roberts is still one of the best in baseball when it comes to defense. This year he and Matt Wieters are the only returning starters around the diamond, meaning he will be the constant when it comes to routine plays. While it may still be early, Roberts needs time to gel with the new additions to the roster...

Look at the facts...last season, the Birds went 30-28 with Brian in the lineup. The O's were a dismal 36-68 without Roberts penciled in as the starting 2B/lead-off hitter.

The O's need Roberts this season. That's a fact.

Let's all keep our fingers crossed...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Brief Introduction

Wow. So much has changed this off-season for the Orioles, I don't even know where to begin.

Oh, I should probably begin with an name is Jon Parr, I love the O's, and I'll be following them all season long right here. I've actually been blogging about the Birds for the last few seasons: 2008, 2009 and 2010. While I'm always optimistic (check out my past intros and see for yourself) I honestly feel like this season will be a success. More on that later...

With the Orioles returning to WBAL-AM 1090 Radio, I finally have a chance to get my blog on a reputable website. I've been at the station for two years now, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to write about my home team on the flagship station's site. If you want to know more about me, check out my profile to the right of this post, or shoot me an email.

I've never started my blog this early...pitchers and catchers reported to camp last week, and all position players had until today to report. With WBAL covering Spring Training extensively, I thought it would be a good time to get into the swing of things...

As I mentioned earlier, a lot has changed for the Orioles this off-season: the team has found a new radio home, as well as a brand new training facility in Sarasota, Florida. For the first time in years, the major leaguers and minor leaguers will be right next to each other, as opposed to a three hour drive apart.

In addition to the changes of scenery, the O's have changed the line-up cards as well. The team is vastly improved from the club that took the field last season. The infield has been completely revamped, with Brian Roberts the lone starter returning from 2010 (Matt Wieters remains the O's backstop as well). Andy MacPhail's flurry of offseason moves included finding a new first baseman, shortstop and third baseman, not to mention a starting pitcher, a pair of back-of-the-bullpen arms, and a big-name designated hitter.

If you haven't been paying attention this winter, you probably won't recognize most of the names on the roster. Here's a quick recap of who's new in 2011:
  • Derrek Lee was signed to a one-year contract and will play first base
  • J.J. Hardy was acquired from the Twins and will take over at short
  • Mark Reynolds is a power-hitting third baseman, but strikes out a lot
  • Vladimir Guerrero gives the Birds their first true cleanup hitter in a long time
  • Justin Duchscherer could claim the #2 spot in the rotation if he can stay healthy
  • Jeremy Accardo should provide help in late-inning relief
  • Kevin Gregg will battle with Koji Uehara for the closer's role in 2011

On paper, the Orioles that take the field in 2011 are one of the deeper teams Baltimore has seen in over a decade. The fact that Buck Showalter is in charge of that talent makes the Orioles a team that shouldn't be taken lightly. Under Showalter, the O's finished out 2010 with a 34-23 record, the best in the AL East over the final few months. If the Orioles can carry that momentum into this season, 2011 should be fun to watch (and listen to once again on WBAL-AM 1090).

Like I said, I've never covered Spring Training before, but with the entire team in camp today and the first game just eight days away, expect to hear back from me soon...