I love this time of year. It’s not because I’m finally on Spring Break. It’s not because I am essentially done all my work with the exception of editing. It’s not because I get to hang out with my friends without having to schedule around classes and homework. It’s because it’s finally baseball season again…almost. It’s close enough to baseball season where I’m getting ready for that first pitch at Camden Yards.
Last night, we broke in our field by going up and playing some. Okay, it may look a little weird when you have a 12-year-old boy who can’t really throw or catch but has a decent swing. Then you have my mom who still kind of plays like she’s in high school, me who can still hit with the best of them but has lost some speed since senior year, and my daddy who can jack the ball over the fence and st the designated pitcher. It probably even gets weirder when we are calling for balls and using a cutoff like we’re in a real game. Oh, well. It’s not like our neighbors don’t already know we’re nuts. We’ve had our Opening Day but we’ve been preparing for Orioles Opening day for a few months now.
Our original plan was to go on actual Opening day for two reasons. The first being that none of us have ever actually made it to the very first game the O’s played all season. We’ve been to the opening weekend but never the first game. The second was because the Birds open on my parents’ wedding anniversary. However, things got a little switched up. You see, apparently you cannot buy Opening day tickets at OPACY unless you are a season ticket holder or want to go through some outside seller (And then pay roughly $200 for tickets because we are spoiled and don’t sit in bad seats). So now we are going to the game that Saturday–the second game instead of the first. It didn’t seem like it would be all that bad since it just meant we wouldn’t have to see Jeremy Guthrie pitch since we all knew for some reason he was our number one. Now, I don’t even know who we’re going to see since we shipped Guthrie out (Something I’ve been calling for for about two or three seasons). I have a feeling that we’re looking at either my Jake Arrieta or the Zach Attack, Zach Britton.
The only reason I don’t care who’s starting the game we go down (Please be Jakey. Please be Jakey. Please be Jakey) is because we have the perfect seats to watch my three favorite players on that field. We are only a few rows back down the right field line. Right there will be my Nicky. Granted, since the whole abdomen surgery ‘Kakes has yet to make his Spring Training debut (That’s slated for Wednesday. Figures it would be a game not on MASN). Thanks to not being behind a million people, I’ll be able to see J.J. Hardy (Okay, my mama is way more excited about this one. That’s her boy). I absolutely love Hardy. He blew me away with his clutch hitting and glove last season and all I can say is that I was thanking the good Lord that we finally have a legit shortstop. I’m still confused at to why he didn’t get most valuable Oriole last season over Jones (Correct me if I’m wrong but Buck was ready to sit his sorry butt on the bench at one point. Hardy would never be the topic of a conversation like that).
Last but not least, I get to watch probably the person I most enjoy seeing play. In my head, there’s not a player better at the position in the majors–Matt Wieters. Matt is a 6’5″ 225 lb. switch hitting catcher. Okay, that’s enough to make him my first round pick but it gets even better. The boy can call one heck of a game behind the plate and even though my all-time favorite Oriole, Rick Dempsey, had an issue with how little he went out to the mound to help his pitchers a few seasons ago, he’s fixed that problem and knows how to calm down the boy on the mound. He can pop up quickly if he needs to field the ball. He can throw a bullet from the squat if he really needs to gun down someone at second. Wieters has a .995 fielding percentage and went to the All-Star game for us and he got a Golden Glove. Add all that in with his size helping him block the plate like a linebacker and his swing being able to send the ball to the flag court and I don’t really think there’s anyway his talent can be argued. The only bad thing about him is his speed on the bases. If we could just get him to unhook the wagon, then he would be the perfect player. The catcher needs to be the leader on the field since he sees everything that’s going on and needs to be anticipating what comes next. Matt does all of that. Luckily, I don’t think we’ll be losing him very quickly since he’s not a free agent until 2016 and I don’t think he’s the kind of guy who’s going to be leaving us for more money or a ring.
I think we are finally looking good this season. We’ve only been blown out one preseason game (Sadly, the only one I’ve been able to watch and thanks to a ridiculously late class, that was on Gameday). We’ve got Bundy looking good. We had some real talent last season in Frederick–Townsend, Machado. Roberts is apparently trying to come back. Okay, I really don’t see how this is anything good. As far as I’m concerned (And have been for like a million seasons), Roberts can pack his bags and go to another team. I’m not saying I don’t like B-Rob. I think he’s an amazing fielder, the best 3rd base stealer in the majors, and a good lead-off. That said, his constant injuries and illnesses irritates me to know end. If he could stay healthy, then I would love to have him back because we are a better team with someone like him (But I think Hardy and Andino fill the role well enough). But since I don’t think he can stay healthy, there is no reason to have him bouncing in and out of the lineup, screwing up the team’s balance and routine. A team needs stability and needs to know who’s going to be where and no what to expect from its players. Roberts messes all of that dynamic up. If there were a way to fix it and keep him there, then great but it’s getting to the point where trying to fix it is pointless since he’s getting closer and closer to retirement.
Well, I’ve got my new Pink O’s sweats, my Birds of the Summer shirt (Seriously, I may love it more than my Buck the past shirt), and the itch to play. It’s so bad that last weekend I watched a Phillies-Yankees game. It’s getting bad but the countdown has begun. And just to make things a little easier on myself, I’m going to the Keys Opening Day that Friday night. It’ll be a weekend full of baseball–my kind of weekend.