by Eric Garfield
Good morning from Sarasota. As I checked in this morning and picked up a roster for Hangout poster @Legend_Of_Joey, I noticed the photographers and their cameras set up. It’s picture day at the Orioles Twin Lakes complex and that can only help as far as ID’ing each and every player. I haven’t talked to anyone about the schedule for today but the parking lot is full and the field crews have cages on all the fields and are finishing as they set up outside net cages and finalize the mounds. To me it looks like there will be lots going on and I’m glad to be here for all of it. I have been sent notice about the team/MLB policy as far as proximity to players and staff due to corona virus concerns so it may be difficult to interact and get solid shots/videos. I’ll still be able to observe plenty of action.
The players should be exiting any minute now so I’ll check out the day and be back soon.
Busy day out at the complex and yes, @Legend_Of_Joey and I were able to connect and watch baseball action. Every big name was there and there was a simulated game, at least a few innings after lunch. The vans rolling in and out, fans watching and cheering, the players’ intensity growing, coaches instructing; it’s finally a real camp!
I have notes, some video, a cool story about meeting an O’s farmhand from my youth and an important current employee too but now I have to go and play with my dog. Probably my best bet for coordinating this info and organizing it will happen at the O’s game but I might be distracted. It starts in 2 hours and I plan on being there.
I cannot emphasize enough how much I love seeing kids start to appreciate the game and a family that had come from Texas to watch Grayson (wouldn’t you?) got a gift for their boy Tatum from Daniel Fajardo. I also can’t begin to tell you how good of a guy Fajardo is. Maybe my picture can, but what a start to Tatum’s day!
I tried in vain to remember and used google to help me but couldn’t recall the name of the former O’s minors pitcher I met. He talked about Ponson, Steve Bechler and his own reliance on a 94mph fastball. He had a beautiful wife and family and probably didn’t notice his gleam as he walked down the pavement getting closer to the fields he used to throw on. I did point out his smirk, and he finished my thought, with initials as the pitchers marched out for PFP. He sighed.
The hugely important employee I met was Director of Education in Player Development Anaíma Garcia as I thought she was a reporter taking notes on my level. I was mistaken, she’s a recent hire and is in sponge mode learning her new players and her own responsibilities. Alway watching with a note pad and writing, she seems like she’s taking in a lot but not overwhelmed. The latest example of the O’s hiring people who are hungry and ready to grow.
All this in addition to Keys catcher Daniel Fajardo giving away a bat. Minor league camp is just a great place to be and take in the sport.
Now I’ll have to give to the action I saw in note form or I’ll never make the O’s game….I tried for a while to look up the pitchers name/ pic
-rookie level outfielder Lamar Sparks was dressed and looks considerably larger than last summer. Big shoulders, filling out the jersey
-starter Dean Kremer looked to be a little more fluid and quicker with his legs in his delivery and especially initiating the motion than I’d seen him at the outset of big league camp. Maybe warming up? Looked limber. Curve came out slow but he was working on it, it was working for him
-Adley Rutschman was back and in a rotation of catchers getting regular work/use as I predicted. He didn’t get a hit in the sim action I saw, but caught DL Hall, made good solid contact to right and threw out a runner at second
-starter Michael Baumann was really solid and had every pitch available in sim action. He got outfielder Kyle Stowers on hip level heat swinging. I was happy to see Stowers turn on a hitter’s pitch, it was just 95+. Next up corner JC Escarra, he took the count to 3 balls and did his thing, eyeing a high pitch all the way back to the glove as he dropped the bat walking to first.
-I noticed the umpire giving Cody Sedlock the corners with breaking stuff when he didn’t hit actually them, and not rewarding him with strikes when he did, Blue=mid-season form. Also Cody had the change working as hitters swung through his stuff early twice. He was up before Kyle Bradish who I didn’t focus on but really looked clean and string with stuff the 4-5 pitches I saw.