Note: OK, so the Baltimore Orioles lost today. But winning 5 of their last 6 and sweeping the Rays — in Tampa — is nothing to sneeze at.
Ever since Baltimore exchanged the Ottawa Lynx for the Norfolk Tides, all the minor-league affiliates are within a few hours’ drive of each other. Each has a loyal fan base that does more than attend games; they are part of the family.
The teams’ current records do not reflect the whole product. At present, only Bowie has a winning record at .500. What the coaches and managers are doing is developing skill, rehabilitating players recovering from injury, honing raw talent, and tying the clubs to the “mother ship” as part of a bigger picture.
But it’s in the minors that top-rate prospects are waiting in the shadows. Pitchers like Suk-min Yoon and Kevin Gausman are in Norfolk. Alexi Casilla is back with Baltimore on a minor-league deal. And until Manny Machado returned, Tides infielder Steve Lombardozzi was called up.
Having watched some of the “scrubs” in spring training the last three years, I enjoyed seeing young players showcase themselves with more than talent. They had guts, motivation, drive, desire. Infielders like Esposito and Pena currently in Frederick got a taste of the Majors. You can bet that feeds the hunger to move east on I-70 as quickly as possible.
Translation: The roster is deep. And the O’s front office has plenty of prospects and backups standing by whenever the call is made.
Part 1 is here.