The first week of a new year hasn’t brought us closer to a new collective bargaining agreement. At least from what’s known in front of the scenes.
The view is more obstructed behind them.
National media would be all over renewed talks and any progress made, and it’s been very quiet on Twitter beyond hilarious videos of Betty White and the touching tributes to a comedy legend.
Man, 2021 showed no mercy, and 2022 started with the passing of former NFL running back and head coach Dan Reeves, who appeared in nine Super Bowls and also threw a touchdown pass in the iconic Ice Bowl in 1967.
You try throwing a frozen football in wind chill temperatures of 33-37 below zero.
Lost lives always put everything else in proper perspective, including the cliched resolutions. Like, for me, staying alive should be No. 1, but inevitably falls below “write fewer game stories.”
I wouldn’t dare to suggest resolutions for the Orioles. It’s a personal thing. But it’s also January and there’s very little news, so here’s one.
I’d be determined to bring out the September in Austin Hays much earlier in the season.
(Not as simple as me vowing to no longer eat my weight in potato chips while watching Netflix, but worth a try.)
Hays is a career .293/.344/.522 hitter in 85 games in September/October. His 18 doubles are 10 more than in any other month and his 16 home runs are 11 more. His next-highest OPS is .692 in August.
Some players wear down in the final months. Hays is just getting started.
Maybe it’s also because he tends to be at his healthiest. He’s appeared in 85 games in September/October. The next-highest total is 41 in August, followed by 28 in July.
But explain how he sustained a core muscle injury in May, which he revealed in this interview with MASNsports.com, and pushed through it before undergoing sports hernia surgery two days after the season.
Hays wasn’t healthy and still appeared in a career-high 131 games, finishing with 26 doubles, four triples, 22 home runs and 71 RBIs. He hit .284 with a .921 OPS, seven doubles, a triple, eight home runs and 22 RBIs in 30 games in September/October.
The former third-round draft pick reached base safely in 20 straight games to close out the season, the longest active streak in the majors, and in 37 of 38 dating back to Aug. 24. He hit safely in 34 of his last 38 games and 49 of 58.
Hays led the club with 71 hits and 31 extra-base hits after the All-Star break, and his 40 RBIs were second behind Ryan Mountcastle’s 41. He crafted a career-long 17-game hitting streak from Aug. 24-Sept. 11.
From a guy who needed sports hernia surgery.
Hamstring strains twice forced Hays onto the injured list, the second keeping him out of the lineup until June 11. The Orioles want him to get through a full season without any interruptions.
They also want to see what kind of numbers he can put up with a fast start.