A week has passed since I stuck my head inside my mailbag. And I've been told many times to get my head out of my mailbag. Or something similar.
You ask, I answer, you ask again and I'm either accommodating or a jerk. It's fun for the whole family.
Your questions and my responses are unedited. We run with scissors here. We pet stray dogs. We go to 24-hour diners and order fish at 2 a.m.
We live on the edge.
Also, my mailbag takes the last chocolate chip cookie on the tray and leaves your mailbag with oatmeal raisin.
How many games will the Orioles win in 2022?
I have a question of my own: How many games will they play? Hopefully, the season starts on time and consists of 162 games. The Orioles won 52 last season and I'm taking the over in 2022. I'll stop short of predicting a .500 finish, but the record should improve. That's all you're getting from me, especially with so much work remaining on the roster.
What are the odds that Buck Britton is the O's manager in 2024?
And now we're up to 2024. This is a fun little exercise. He should be an internal candidate if a change is made. If. And if he's in the organization in 2024. More ifs.
Even with the lack of certainty about the 2022 season, have there been any updates on the MASN broadcast roster?
None. A news release should go out later, or so I'm assuming. That's usually how it works. And I'll hope, as always, that I'm still mentioned among the website staff.
Can I get your take on the All-Star Game situation and Major League Baseball denying Baltimore?
Let me just say that the Orioles and their jewel of a ballpark haven't hosted since 1993. They've put in their bids, made their pitches to the commissioner's office. Nothing. Only three other American League teams haven't hosted the game since then: the Athletics, Blue Jays and Rays. Tropicana Field has never been the site of the Midsummer Classic. Every year, the commissioner is asked in a press conference about the Orioles' chances and the response is the exact same, that they're a "viable candidate." I roll my eyes at the answer and the attempt to pry it. We're left to speculate why. Meanwhile, Mike Mussina is ready to start warming up in the bullpen at a moment's notice.
Does Jim Palmer get paid every time the movie "Naked Gun" is shown? I know, odd question.
We like 'em strange around here. Way to raise the bar. Palmer says he gets around 97 cents per showing and is trying not to take it personally. A Hall of Fame response.
Who are the next three impact prospects after Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall? And recent call-ups can be included.
Will need my crystal ball for this one and it's cracked. Using it for bowling was a bad idea. Could be outfielder Kyle Stowers or a starting pitcher like Kyle Bradish or Kevin Smith, two recent additions to the 40-man roster. Maybe it's left-hander Zac Lowther. I'm just looking at the 2022 season. And I'm just tossing out a few names. There are pitchers like Bruce Zimmermann, Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer, Mike Baumann and Alexander Wells who will be given an opportunity.
Where do the top pitching prospects in the organization train during the offseason? And don't say "your mom's house."
I'd never. It varies. Some guys work out at performance centers, some have their own setups at home. During the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown, players were gathering at local high schools or recreational fields. Anyplace they could throw and hit.
What is your favorite game show of all time?
Totally into "Jeopardy" now, if that counts. It feels too intellectual for a game show. I'll go with "Make Me Laugh," which I remember as a kid. The version hosted by Bobby Van. And "Hollywood Squares" with Paul Lynde in the center square. And of course, "Match Game" with Gene Rayburn's creepy microphone and flirtations.
What are the odds that Mike Elias is intentionally stocking up position players in the farm system to acquire more starting pitching via trades? It's what the Astros did.
Improving the farm system and pumping talent through the pipeline has many benefits, including how the front office can trade for bigger pieces when in contention. Of course, this idea isn't new to the organization. It's just been executed better so far. The talent part.
Do Kakes and A.J. get voted into the Orioles Hall of Fame this year?
That's Nick Markakis and Adam Jones, for the uninitiated. Not former pitching coach Al Jackson. The criteria for induction includes how a player must spend at least three years with the club and be retired for at least three years. Jones' time in Japan delays his eligibility. Markakis retired after the 2020 season. So, no. But eventually, yes.
Thoughts on "Cobra Kai" S4?
I stopped watching after the second season, but have been thinking about getting back into it. Emily and I tend to get hooked on shows much later than everyone else. Right now we're binging "Jane the Virgin." Next, a western we heard about called "Gunsmoke."
Any updates on a new collective bargaining agreement?
USA Today's Bob Nightengale wrote on Monday that no negotiating sessions were scheduled between MLB and the players' union. ESPN's Jeff Passan wrote Wednesday that MLB is preparing proposals to bring to the table, with sources telling him that the earliest negotiations will ramp up in late January. So, starting spring training on time remains iffy but do-able. That last part is from me.
Is it true as part of the 30th OPACY celebration that the Orioles are blocking all uniform numbers in the 70s-90s for the 2022 season?
Here's what the club passed along: Jerseys for all uniformed personnel will feature the official Oriole Park at Camden Yards 30th anniversary logo patch on the right sleeve. The Orioles Team Store will have 30th anniversary merchandise, novelties, glassware, hats and apparel available for purchase. Opening day will include a large celebration and festivities will culminate on Aug. 6 versus the Pirates, with a pregame ceremony celebration and ballpark-themed giveaway item. Also, the Orioles will offer $10 seats in the Eutaw Street bleachers for every home game, Monday through Thursday, except opening day. Inside the gates, fans will be able to view an exhibit featuring memorabilia and never-before-seen photos of the ballpark from the last three decades and they can contribute their own photos and memories. More information is coming later.
What's your pick for the Washington Football Team's new name?
I covered Baltimore's Canadian Football League team during the first season after it was denied using Colts and instead went with Baltimore CFLs. They became the Stallions in their second season and won the Grey Cup. So, yeah, the Washington NFLs. Just do it.
Got a dark horse candidate in spring training?
I'd like to wait until the team releases its camp roster. Otherwise, it's a pitch-black horse candidate. But if you're insisting, I'll say pitcher Logan Gillaspie because he was a surprise addition to the 40-man roster and proved that he can defy the odds. The bullpen isn't set. An impressive showing in camp opens the door a little wider for him.
Could Rylan Bannon be a dark horse candidate?
Bannon is on the 40-man roster and the Orioles haven't promised the third base job to Kelvin GutiÃ©rrez or anyone else. At least, not yet. Bannon went on a home run binge at Triple-A Norfolk and finished with 15, but he also batted .176/.297/.370. I'm thinking he's more likely to begin 2022 with the Tides, but the whole point of a dark horse is to go against expectations. So go right ahead.
Is a taco a sandwich?
That's a hard no. Or a crunchy one.