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Five can't miss dates on your Orioles calendar


Five can't miss dates on your Orioles calendar

Opening Day is still more than four months away, and it’s still 11 weeks until spring training. It’s never too early to think about the 2013 season, so let’s look at five dates to circle on next season’s calendar.

1) April 5 vs. Minnesota

The 2012 season began on Apr. 6 against the Twins. It was the 20th anniversary of the Opening of Oriole Park. Jake Arrieta pitched magnificently, and the Orioles won their first three games.

Next season, the Orioles begin with three games at Tampa Bay and return for three games with Minnesota before playing six at Boston and New York.

Buck Showalter and the Orioles will be greeted warmly, and while Jason Hammel or Wei-Yin Chen are good bets to start the Apr. 3 opener at Tampa Bay, perhaps Miguel Gonzalez or Chris Tillman will start the home opener.

The Orioles will take part in three Opening Days: Tampa Bay’s, their own and on Apr. 8 at Boston.

2) April 19 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Thanks to the new schedule, there will be at least one interleague game each day. The Orioles have never played a National League opponent this early in the season, and it’s the first meeting between the teams since 2004 and the first visit to Baltimore by the Dodgers since 2002.

The Orioles host San Diego for two games on May 14-15. In the past, interleague games were generally played in June. Due to Houston’s move to the American, there are 15 teams in each league and the Orioles will play 20 games against the rival league next year.

2013 will be the Orioles’ turn to play the National League West. From Aug. 5-19, the Orioles will visit San Diego, San Francisco and Arizona before hosting Colorado.

3) May 20 vs. New York Yankees

The Orioles play three games at Yankee Stadium in early April, but the Yankees don’t come to call until later in May. New York plays three weeknight games, May 20-22, then three weekend games at Oriole Park on June 28-30. The Yankees play four more games in Baltimore from Sept. 9-12.

The Red Sox, who probably won’t be as big a draw as they were in the past, don’t come to Baltimore until June 13. They play the last three games of the season in Baltimore on Sept. 27-29. Boston also plays a visit from July 26-28.

4) May 29 vs. Washington Nationals

The new schedule eliminates three game home-and-home series with natural rivals, but inaugurates two game home-and-home series. In the past, the Orioles and Nationals played a series in May, usually on Preakness weekend, and then another in June.

In 2013, the Orioles will play two games at Nationals Park on May 27-28 and two more on May 29-30. The teams will see four different starting pitchers.

By the way, the first game at Nationals Park will be on Memorial Day, and as usual, the Orioles won’t be home on any of the three summer holidays: Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.

In 2015, it will the Orioles turn to play the National League East, and they should again play three game home-and-home series with the Nationals.

5) July 30 vs. Houston Astros

It will be the Astros’ third visit to Baltimore, but their first as an American League team. Houston has had back-to-back 100 loss seasons and is managed by Bo Porter, who last year coached third base for the Nationals. Porter’s third base coach is one Dave Trembley, who managed the Orioles from 2007-10.

After the Astros leave, the Seattle Mariners arrive, and fans can warmly welcome back Robert Andino, who was traded on Tuesday to Seattle.

Perhaps later in the winter, other dates will become prominent, but for now, these look like fun.


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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

The Orioles have finally found their man.

After entering the Winter Meetings without having yet hired their new manager, a rarity in this era of baseball, the Orioles announced Friday that they had hired Brandon Hyde to fill the role.

Hyde joins the organization after spending half a decade in Chicago under Joe Maddon, and many years prior with the Marlins. He has a long background in player development, something that was important to new Orioles GM Mike Elias, which makes sense considering the state of the organization and their upcoming rebuilding process.

Hyde is 45, so he’ll have the opportunity to stick in Baltimore for a long time if he finds success, however, Elias defines it, in the next few seasons. Many times, the manager leading a team as it embarks on an organizational rebuild is not the same one who leads them back into contention, but the Orioles front office will certainly hope Hyde is up to both tasks.
“After conducting an intensive search, I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” said Mike Elias, Orioles Executive Vice President and General Manager, in a statement released Friday.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and Major League coaching, most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a World Champion, has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process. I look forward to introducing him to our fans next week and to working together with him to build the next great Orioles team.”

Elias was thought to have preferred someone with Major League experience, so as to avoid saddling an up-and-coming manager with multiple 90-plus loss seasons inevitably on the horizon in Baltimore. Hyde technically has experience coaching in the big leagues, though it comes in the form of a single game. The Marlins lost his one game as acting manager 2-1 to the Rays, and Jack McKeon was named interim manager the next day.

Maddon has developed a reputation as a stellar communicator and somebody open to analytics, and it stands to reason that Hyde would follow a similar style of leadership, especially considering how critical those traits are in the eyes of Elias.

Hyde replaces Buck Showalter, a beloved figure in Baltimore after his 8 ½ seasons at the helm brought winning baseball back to a city desperate for relevancy. Showalter’s contract was not renewed at the end of this past season, an understandable decision given his age and how long it will be until the franchise is ready to compete again.

Reports swirled about Hyde being named the 20th manager in franchise history as early as Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, though Elias and the front office were quick to emphasize that nothing was official at the time. In the end, Hyde does end up accepting the job, and he’ll be introduced at a press conference Monday.

Nationals bench coach Chip Hale was, along with Hyde, one of six finalists who interviewed for the position, so the Nats won’t be losing a valuable piece of their staff.

The Orioles are in the honeymoon phase of the rebuild, where hope springs eternal and the losses to come haven’t set in yet. Hyde checks all the boxes for what Elias was looking for, and despite his relative inexperience, he’s someone who should excite, if not necessarily inspire, the fanbase in Charm City.

Orioles fans won’t have many exciting acquisitions to cheer on in the near future, but they may have just made one of their most impactful. The O’s finally have their GM-Manager combination set for the foreseeable future, and they’ll hope to experience as much success and more as the previous regime.

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

Orioles new general manager Mike Elias is a busy man out in Las Vegas. Not only is he looking to add much needed talent to Baltimore's roster but he is also searching for a new manager. Elias interviewed six candidates, including Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, for the vacancy. On Monday, Elias said they were “pretty far along in the process.”

Then the reports surfaced on Tuesday that the Orioles had found their man. 

For a second straight year, Joe Maddon's bench coach has landed a managerial job (Davey Martinez). 

But, in the words of College Gameday's Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend!"

Does that mean Hyde is not the manager? Not necessarily. It likely means Elias wants the news to come out on his terms.