Reminder about spring training tickets

Reminder about spring training tickets
I'm having serious laptop issues. And by "serious," I mean that it stopped working. It does make a neat grinding sound once in a while, but that's about it. So do I, but it depends on the meal. I'm currently using a computer at the Carroll County Public Library. Just seemed easier than blogging on my Blackberry. And yes, it took a busted laptop to get me inside a library. Ewwww, what are all these books doing here? Anyway, I'm getting assistance from the Web studio in moving...
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Ticket increase and FanFest reminder

Ticket increase and FanFest reminder
Yes, it's true that the Orioles are raising non-prime single-game ticket prices at Camden Yards for the second time since 2003. You can go to www.orioles.com and get the breakdown of the prices. Though math isn't my strong suit, the average increase for 2011 works out to $3 a ticket. The left field upper-reserve seats still can be purchased for $9, and the cost for season-tickets remains the same. Otherwise, you'll have to dig a little deeper. The average price for non-prime,...
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How will the 2011 bullpen stack up?

How will the 2011 bullpen stack up?
Going back to last night's entry, the 1970 Orioles were voted the fourth-best team on the "MLB Network Countdown." The 1998 Yankees, 1975 Reds and 1961 Yankees made the top three. Perhaps it's the fan in me, but I still regard the 1969-1971 stretch as a dynasty despite only one championship. We can include 1966 and make it two. Since we've spent so many days talking about the bullpen and how it shapes up as the strength of the 2011 team, and since we're also going back in time, it seems...
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Where does the 1970 team rank?

Where does the 1970 team rank?
The "MLB Network Countdown" will rank the top 40 greatest teams in baseball history at 9 p.m. It probably comes as no surprise that the 1970 Orioles made the final cut. The 1984 Detroit Tigers, 1998 New York Yankees and 1995 Atlanta Braves also will be featured. Teams are ranked from 1961 to the present, and the 1970 Orioles made the Top 10. Meanwhile, the NFL Network is currently showing a replay of last weekend's Ravens-Steelers game. I think I'll pass, so to speak. By the way,...
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Kevin Millwood: "I don't think the door is closed"

Kevin Millwood: "I don't think the door is closed"
I just got off the phone with Kevin Millwood, who doesn't sense that he's close to signing with another team. Millwood has been linked to the Royals, Indians and Yankees at various times, and he indicated that all three teams remain in play. He's confident that he'll secure a major league deal rather than having to settle for a minor league contract with a spring training invite. So what about the Orioles? Millwood said his agent, Scott Boras, mentioned the Orioles among the teams that...
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Orioles still searching for a starter

Orioles still searching for a starter
I'll start with some alumni news: Former Orioles outfielder Lou Montanez signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to this tweet from Baseball America's Matt Eddy. The Cubs made Montanez the third overall pick in the 2000 draft. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez was taken first by the Florida Marlins. The Minnesota Twins used the second pick on right-hander Adam Johnson. You must remember that the Orioles used the 14th pick on University of Texas pitcher Beau Hale. See how...
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O's exchange salary arbitration numbers with Guthrie, Scott

O's exchange salary arbitration numbers with Guthrie, Scott
The Orioles announced that they exchanged salary figures with their two remaining arbitration-eligible players today: pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and designated hitter/outfielder Luke Scott. According to an industry source, Guthrie is seeking $6.5 million and the Orioles countered at $5 million. He earned $3 million last season. Scott is seeking $6.85 million and the Orioles countered at $5.7 million. He earned $4.05 million last season. Hearings will be scheduled, most likely next month, if...
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Is Armando Galarraga worth considering? (updated)

Is Armando Galarraga worth considering? (updated)
While examining possible trade options for a starting pitcher, it's been noted that Detroit's Armando Galarraga could be made available. Well, he's really available now because the Tigers designated him for assignment earlier today. Galarraga agreed to a one-year, $2.3 million deal a day earlier, but he wasn't really off the board. The Tigers needed to make room for Brad Penny, and Galarraga apparently is the odd man out. Galarraga came within a blown call by first base umpire Jim Joyce...
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Noteworthy day (updated twice)

Noteworthy day (updated twice)
Today is the date that players and teams exchange arbitration figures, a process that makes my eyes glaze over. These players aren't going anywhere. They can't become free agents. They just need to have their contracts finalized. Here's the drill: The players' agents will submit a figure, the Orioles will make a counter offer and they'll end up settling near the middle. I would care a lot more if half of it was being deposited in my checking account. Otherwise, they can make $500,000...
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The bottom of the order

The bottom of the order
While discussing Derrek Lee's placement in the lineup and which players might fit into other slots, manager Buck Showalter mentioned how you can get a pretty good read on a team by looking at its 7-8-9 hitters. Signing Lee and trading for Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy has left the Orioles with a potentially deeper lineup than past seasons. Showalter seems inclined, at least a month before spring training, to bat Nick Markakis second and Lee third. He wants to keep Adam Jones lower in the...
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The Showalter influence

The Showalter influence
I'm sure plenty of you are still recovering from the Ravens' loss yesterday. One friend of mine is inconsolable. She sent me a profanity-filled text message late in the fourth quarter because she couldn't curse at home in front of her kids. That's what I'm here for. I guess the countdown to spring training intensifies. There's one less distraction. Not long after the Orioles confirmed that they'd hired Buck Showalter as their third manager of 2010, I was asked whether free agents...
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The 'pen is mightier

The 'pen is mightier
I feel as though I've written this before and it doesn't pan out, but the Orioles' bullpen, at least on paper, appears to be the real strength of this club. We don't know which left-hander will be signed, but the backend of the 'pen is daunting. Kevin Gregg's experience closing in the American League East is a huge benefit, and Koji Uehara is more than capable, as he proved over the second half of last season. Jim Johnson says that his elbow is a non-issue. If it stays that way and...
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A complete lineup of FanFest autograph stations

A complete lineup of FanFest autograph stations
As you've heard, the Orioles have introduced a new autograph policy for their annual FanFest on Jan. 29 at the Baltimore Convention Center, which is designed to support youth charitable endeavors through OriolesREACH and shorten wait times. Children ages 4-14 will have a specially designated Kids Only player autograph station that is free of charge and will operate continuously throughout the day. All other stations will require the advance purchase of autograph vouchers exclusively at...
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More from new O's reliever Kevin Gregg

More from new O's reliever Kevin Gregg
Kevin Gregg, talking to reporters earlier today on a conference call, discussed the negotiating process that eventually brought him to Baltimore. "It was one of those things where it's nice to see interest early, know what's going on," he said. "Fortunately for me, I had a lot of interest all over board. They see you as closer, they see you as setup guy. A lot of different angles and contracts to be presented, and I think that time frame was just going through stuff and trying to find the...
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Gregg on Gregg

Gregg on Gregg
New Orioles reliever Kevin Gregg hears some pitchers talk about how they want no part of the American League East. Gregg can't relate to it. He closed for the Blue Jays last season and will gladly take the ball - preferably in the ninth inning. "The American League East is considered the best division in baseball. I'm not scared of it," Gregg said during today's conference call with reporters. "I didn't want to back away or run from it. I'm up to the challenge. I like it. I'm...
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Kevin Gregg finally official

Kevin Gregg finally official
The results of Kevin Gregg's physical are back, and he passed. They're now hanging on Andy MacPhail's refrigerator. I made up the last part, but I needed a laugh. Gregg has signed his contract, a two-year deal for $10 million that includes a vesting option for 2013. He's expected to get first crack at the closers job in spring training after recording 121 saves over the last four seasons. Gregg's signing leaves the Orioles with 39 players on their 40-man roster. I interviewed former...
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Frank Robinson hospitalized (updated)

Frank Robinson hospitalized (updated)
In case you haven't heard, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson was taken to Scottsdale Memorial Hospital this morning because of dizziness and an irregular heartbeat. I don't have any updates, but I wanted to alert you. Here's the MLB.com story. Robinson, 75, is a senior vice president of Major League operations. He's also one of the greatest players in baseball history and a cherished member of the Orioles family. You can't overstate what he meant to the franchise. He might not be the...
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VandenHurk not worried about roster spot

VandenHurk not worried about roster spot
Rick VandenHurk hasn't been obsessing over every pitcher that the Orioles add to their camp roster, though each move could impact his future in the organization. If it's me, I'm keeping a chart and pacing the floor. I might be up to two packs a day. VandenHurk is out of minor league options and would have to be exposed to waivers and outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk if he doesn't make the club in spring training. The Orioles want to add a veteran starter and one more reliever, but that...
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Nothing official with Gregg

Nothing official with Gregg
Sorry to leave you hanging, but I won't be passing along quotes today from reliever Kevin Gregg. I hope that you didn't plan your entire day around it - like I did. I'm sure you're smarter. The Orioles are still waiting to receive the results from his physical. The weather might have played a factor in the delay. No reason to fret. We'll probably get the announcement tomorrow morning and it will be business as usual. Gregg agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract with a vesting...
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Jim Johnson says he's "focused and ready for the season"

Jim Johnson says he's "focused and ready for the season"
One of the things that manager Buck Showalter likes about his roster is it includes players who have a chip on their shoulders. (As opposed to Sidney Ponson, who had potato chip crumbs on his chest. Not the same.) Showalter wants guys who find extra motivation in the idea that they have something to prove - and you can include Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy and Derrek Lee in that group. Does Jim Johnson belong in it? Johnson emerged as a dominant setup man in 2008, using his heavy sinker to post...
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