More notes and quotes before the home opener (and pregame ceremony)

It’s already been a busy day and we’re still waiting for the first pitch from Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta to start the home opener against the Minnesota Twins.

The Orioles have had runners on base for all five of their home runs in 2013. Last year, 122 of their 214 homers were solo shots (57 percent). Sixty percent of the Orioles’ runs this year have come via the long ball.

Chris Davis is trying to join Willie Mays (1971), Mark McGwire (1998) and Nelson Cruz (2011) as the only players in major league history to homer in the first four games of a season.

EarlNumber.JPGDavis is the only Oriole to drive in three or more runs in each of their first three games of a season. David Justice was the last American League player to do it in 2002 with Oakland. Brian McCann is the last National League player in 2007 with Atlanta.

The Orioles’ 3-4-5 hitters are batting .460 with six doubles, four homers, 15 RBIs and 13 runs scored.

Fourteen of the Orioles’ 20 runs this year have scored with two outs.

The Orioles have spray painted Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver’s No. 4 inside an orange circle in front of their dugout, just as they did at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

“I think the biggest thing is he always had time for me,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Took me a long time to call him ‘Earl.’ I’d call him, ‘Mr. Weaver’ and he finally said something pretty colorful to make me stop calling him ‘Mr.’

“He had time for me, and he didn’t have to. You could tell how much the Orioles meant to him. He’s watching today. There’s some more pressure. Trust me.”

Showalter would come off the mound at Ed Smith Stadium after a pitching change, his head lowered, and approach Weaver’s number in the grass.

“I’d always walk around it,” he said. “There’s a certain reverence we all have for that. I’ll think about him today, and I will all season and in the future. He was a special Oriole and always will be.”

Update: Instead of a ceremonial first pitch today, the Orioles paid tribute to Weaver by placing a baseball on the mound beside the pitching rubber.

Weaver’s name was the last to appear on the video board listing members of the “Orioles family” who passed away, and the silence at Camden Yards was broken. Weaver received a loud ovation.

Earlier, Brian Roberts walked from the dugout to the field after being introduced, unable to jog down the orange carpet.

As you would expect, manager Buck Showalter received the loudest ovation of the day.

J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters received their Gold Gloves.

blog comments powered by Disqus