Sarasota Diaries, part 1

I arrived in the Tampa International Airport on Thursday evening on AirTran flight 724. Shortly after retrieving my bag, which surprisingly wasn’t lost, I made my way to Avis to pick up my rental car. What transpired next was a terror I did not prepare for. The lady at Avis was alarmed when I brought in my reservation, I had reserved a mid size car and she believed they no longer had any available. After finding what appeared to be a manager, they were able to locate the “last remaining” mid size car on their lot. I was given the proper paperwork and instructed on where to go to get my keys. I made my way upstairs to the lot and received a strange looking key, obviously intended for use with a Toyota. When I arrived at my parking spot, a sheepish smile came upon my face. Of course I would get this as a rental car, of course…

A fucking Toyota Prius. What occurred next was the expected onslaught of stuck accelerator jokes and me feeling like the biggest douche ever. I then drove this Prius from the Tampa airport down to Sarasota, about an hour’s worth of solid driving and it was just as shitty as you would expect.

Friday was a night game so we had some time to kill during the day. There were two events that occurred that I feel need to be included in the blog. I will not describe the first as I think the picture will do it enough justice. You just don’t see this every day.

The Amish are everywhere down here, it was quite surprising. This next photo needs an introduction. As some of you may know, the ESH loves Denard Span. He is one of our favorite heckling targets for no reason that any of us are aware. The Orioles played the Twins last night and my seats were sandwiched between a large group of major league scouts and a large group of Denard Span’s family. This group appeared to be Span’s wife and their approximately 47 children. All of which were calling out to daddy when he came to the plate. One of these offspring had epic style that you just don’t see too often these days…

Yeah, that’s a rat tail.

Much respect to my lady companion Ashley for these photos, I’m not much for taking pictures.

On to the game, as you may have seen in the box score Chris Tillman started the game and struggled a bit. His stuff looked very good but he struggled locating and commanding any of his pitches, like he does sometimes. The good news is he still didn’t get rocked despite not bringing his “A” game. It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that he will start the year as the Orioles fifth starter. I’m not worried about him, guys with his stuff and minor league dominance at his age don’t come around often. He will figure things out and he will be very good assuming health.

A bright spot in last night’s game was Nolan Reimold. I listened to the ridiculous thoughts people were having regarding Reimold. I remember a poster on Orioles Hangout actually suggesting that he be put on the 60-day DL and not brought back until mid season because it was clear he was obviously not ready to play in the majors right now. This was after 18 spring at bats. Let me repeat that, 18 SPRING at bats. He had about 4 games worth of sporadic at bats and people were already saying he was cooked. If a guy goes 0-18 during the season, it’s a mild slump that barely gets recognized. Well since then he was been on a tear and he had two more hits last night including his first spring home run. I’m not much concerned about that however. What I wanted to see was how he was moving on the bases and in the outfield and he appeared to have very little remaining effects from his surgery. He was moving around quite well and did not appear tentative. He looked healthy, everyone can shut up now…though you had no reason to worry in the first place.

The biggest story of the game of course was Brian Roberts debut. What happened? Well, Brian looked exactly like a guy who had not seen live pitching in quite a while. He struck out 3 times and looked pretty bad doing it. He did however pull a ball just foul in his second at bat that missed being a home run by a few feet. He did this while batting left handed which had been the problematic side for his back, so I will take that as a decent sign.

Scott Baker absolutely dominated the Orioles lineup as most pitchers have been doing this spring. Plate discipline is a glaring weakness right now, but who knows what people are working on. You all can sweat over our poor spring if you want, it doesn’t mean a whole lot once the bell rings. I don’t put much stock into spring training in general, it’s silly to form your roster on the basis of performance over a small sample of games against inconsistent competition anyway. Everyone appears to be edging towards health and that’s all I want out of spring training, get to the regular season in shape, healthy, and ready to rock.

In conclusion, Amish people are funny, Denard Span has a whole mess of kids that are quite clearly awesome, and Sarasota is full of old people.

Part 2 coming tomorrow.

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