Let the Countdown Begin

With the 2009 regular season officially over, baseball fans can take a deep breath after the intense 162-game marathon that is a spring, summer, and fall filled with regular season baseball.

But for many fans, it won't take long to start missing it all over again.

So for starters, keep these "MLB Important Dates" in mind and remember that there's plenty from the baseball realm to look forward to in the months ahead.

Oct. 7, 2009: Division Series play begins
Oct. 15, 2009: Championship Series play begins
Oct. 28, 2009: World Series begins
Nov. 20, 2009: Reserve lists for all Major and Minor League levels filed
Dec. 1, 2009: Last date for former Club to offer salary arbitration to receive compensation
Dec. 7-10, 2009: Winter Meetings, Indianapolis
Dec. 10, 2009: Major League Rule 5 Draft -- Winter Meetings, Indianapolis
Dec. 12, 2009: Tender deadline

Is anyone headed to a playoff game or the World Series this fall? How about to Indy for the Winter Meetings in December?

Either way, don't forget, too, about the Arizona Fall League, which kicks off on October 13. The Orioles will send eight players to the AFL to continue developing their skills with the Phoenix Desert Dogs.

Look for 1B Brandon Snyder, 3B Josh Bell, CF Matt Angle, and RHPs Josh Perrault, Brandon Erbe, Ryohei Tanaka, and Eddie Gamboa. Infielder Brandon Waring will also be eligible to play two games per week.

As for offseason moves, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail will obviously be a much-watched man this winter. Do you still have faith in MacPhail and the rebuilding process? I think O's fans still can. There appears to be a lot of promise to bet on out of the gates next season, so we'll wait and see come spring training 2010, and eventually, with the arrival of Opening Day at the Yard.

Which brings us to the last date to look forward to in the days without regular season baseball ahead - If all else completely fails, is it too early to be excited about Opening Day on April 6, 2010 and/or the O's home opener on Friday, April 9? You tell me...

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