ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - I woke up and it hit me. This is my last morning in Florida until I make a return trip to The Trop.
I left my house on Feb. 11. I have no idea if I'll be able to find it.
The challenge will be to catch my 9:20 p.m. flight out of Tampa. Today's game begins at 3:10 p.m. I really can't afford one of those 18-inning thrillers, or five pitching changes in the top of the eighth inning.
Should I be forced to leave before the final out, we'll never speak of it again.
Miguel Gonzalez takes the hill for the Orioles, while the Rays are sending out Roberto Hernandez. Not the former closer, the former Fausto Carmona.
Why is Hernandez the Rays' No. 3 starter when he supposedly beat out Jeff Niemann for the fifth spot? Probably has something to do with Hernandez's former team, the Cleveland Indians, following the Orioles here for a three-game series.
Jake Arrieta will start Friday's home opener against the Minnesota Twins, and the forecast seems to be improving by the hour. So much for a 100 percent chance of rain. It's down to 20-30 percent, depending on where you check. And I heard it will clear up by the afternoon.
I hate rain water on my crab waffle fries. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. We've still got one more game to play against the Rays.
It may have gone unnoticed by some people last night, but third base coach Bobby Dickerson had one heck of a game. He made three aggressive sends that led to runs.
Third base coaches are like offensive linemen in football. They usually get noticed only if they do something wrong. Dickerson, however, stood out for the right reason.
The man had some mighty big shoes to fill. DeMarlo Hale is highly respected as a third base coach. He will go down as one of the best in Orioles history, though he wasn't around for long.
Dickerson, in only his second game at the major league level, filled those shoes quite admirably.
"This isn't Bobby's first rodeo," said manager Buck Showalter. "He's been doing this for a long time. And one thing I like about him, he ain't scared. When you do the things he's done to get to this level, you don't come into it timid."
The Rays should be scared of Chris Davis, who has seven RBIs in two games. Davis didn't secure his seventh last year until his 17th game.
One more item from last night: Executive vice president Dan Duquette chose not to comment on the report from CBSSports.com that the Orioles offered catcher Matt Wieters a contract extension believed to be for at least five years.
A deal isn't close, but it's interesting that talks apparently have started with agent Scott Boras, even if they're preliminary in nature.