Opening Day has come and gone and yet again it was amazing.
It never ceases to amaze me the sheer amount of humanity that descends upon Baltimore on opening day. Every bar, every hotdog cart, every street corner is simply overflowing with people. The various critics of the organization and team always state that no one wants to talk about or really care about the Orioles anymore, yet Opening Day gives us a glimpse of what might be.
Obviously tonight's game against the Twins will not be as well attended as opening day was and not every game would be like that even in a good year but the point remains. After spending a day in the writhing sea of humanity that was downtown Baltimore yesterday you realize that this town wants to love the Orioles again and anyone who denies that is completely lost to their own curmudgeony ideology.
Random Thoughts about the day:
-The new hats make the Orioles look as if they have an entire new uniform, and they are great.
-It is really great to see Brady Anderson in an Orioles' uniform again.
-The new rooftop deck looks amazing, the food service was greatly improved over last year's opener - Natty Boh Brats all the way.
-I question the fence in the flag court. How long before we have a fan interference call out there? If you haven't seen it you are very close to the action in real life.
-The minor touches and aesthetic changes in and around the ballpark are perfect. The powers that be have taken great care to update the look of the park without making any real glaring changes. You look at some of these things and you have to remind yourself that they weren't always there.
-I really hope that the rooftop deck remains a general admission area. The issue is that it does have a seating capacity, of about 300 people according to the Baltimore Sun, and there is no way to really regulate that without 1) a bouncer or 2) selling tickets. So get out now and enjoy the great free view while you can. I can imagine the team keeping it open on non-prime games but selling tickets on prime-nights.
-I am too old for Federal Hill. Not on Opening Day. Nope, just not my scene anymore. I'm six years out of college and married brah, I don't care what frat you are pledging.
-Jake Arrieta looked great. he kept the Twins guessing all day and only had one hit go out of the infield.
-It is so good to see Nick Markakis go opposite field on opening day. It was a blast too, with that certain "no-doubt-about-it" trajectory right off the bat. You will not erase questions in one day but Nick's big game yesterday did a lot to quite some rumblings about his future.
-Eric Lindstrom had trouble finding the plate but was still effective, I still like the pick-up. Meanwhile, Troy Patton was atrocious and made the game way too close. it was a decent idea putting Patton in there to get some work in, he needs to find his stride at this level somehow if he is going to a legitimate member of this team. he was clearly on a short leash yesterday, it got shorter after that blast from Willingham.
-Speaking of Josh Willingham, I thought the throw to get Markakis at the plate yesterday was bigger than his monstrous homer in the ninth. I didn't think there was anyway he would get Markakis on a throw after catching the foul ball. But the second I verbally questioned him from the stands he uncorked a one-hop throw to nab Markakis and short-circuit a strong inning for the Orioles' bats.
Tonight Tommy Hunter will go up against Francicso Liriano as the Orioles try to take the opening series for the second year in a row. Buck Showalter is playing some percentages here starting Ronny Paulino as tonight's DH (Paulino has a .378 OBA against lefties) and Nick Johnson will be making his debut at first for the Birds. The Orioles have fared well against Liriano over the last couple of years as he has tried to regain the promise of his breakthrough season before he was sidetracked by injuries and ineffectiveness.