O's can't let April showers become downpours

April is an exciting yet brutal month on the baseball schedule because in most cities, spring hasn't sprung. It's freezing and the threat of a rain delay or postponed game always looms heavy.

This April the impending weather should be the least of the Orioles concerns. The schedule on the other hand could be the back breaker. Or---it could be a launching pad to the season we've all been waiting for.

Of the Orioles first 28 games, 21 are against division opponents and 12 are against the Red Sox and Yankees. It truly will be a case of sink or swim.

Glass half full: it's a chance for the Birds to come out the gate swinging and make the statement that the rebuilding phase is over. This team is ready to compete in the AL East.

Glass half empty: Remember 1988? It was the infamous season in which the Orioles started 0-22. Need I say more?

Andy MacPhail brought back Dave Trembley at the end of the 2009 season on the premise that Trembley deserves the chance to show he can win with the players he helped develop. It was made clear though, he will be judged on wins and losses this year. A 1988-ish start would not bode well for the skipper.

One thing is for sure, the Orioles are going to have to come much more ready to play than the 14-6 spring training debacle we saw on MASN Wednesday afternoon. For the record, the Red Sox were leading 14-2 going into the bottom of the 9th inning. Minor leaguers and bench players "rallied" to score four throw away runs in the 9th.

On my way to the Tampa airport to fly back after that game, MASN's director said the O's will "just need to beat up Oakland and Seattle that first trip on the road". As if it was the easy part of the schedule.

I looked at him as if he had three heads.

Maybe Tim didn't get the memo---based on offseason moves, the Mariners are the pre-season favorite to win the West this year. Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez lead their rotation and they also acquired one of the most versatile players in the game in Chone Figgins.

Piece of cake right?

It's time for the Baby Birds to fly. They won't have the luxury of easing into the schedule this year.