Today is the Orioles’ annual FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Eduardo A. Encina and I will be there and, if our wireless Internet cooperates, we’ll be blogging throughout the event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The doors open an hour early for season-ticket holders.
If you are there and you see Ed or me, stop us and say hello.
Frankly, with the club’s minicamp earlier this month, a lot of the players we wanted to talk to have already given their opinion on things. But here are some things worth checking in on Saturday.
** To me, the most interesting storyline is how the fans interact with vice president Dan Duquette. Yes, many who come out are diehard fans and probably won’t get snippy with their favorite team’s architect. But the lack of any significant moves has a chunk of the fan base irritated and bordering on angry. And I can only imagine some will address Duquette about that inactivity.
** I’m also curious as to whether any of the players will address the club’s lack of moves with any pointed words, specifically the failure to get a veteran starter so far. Chris Davis told me earlier this month that he feels the team needs a veteran to help Chris Tillman lead the rotation. It will be interesting to see if any other players say the same thing.
** There’s always the potential for a surprise announcement – Miguel Tejada’s return springs to mind a few years back. But I think a Fanfest announcement is less likely this year simply because there is absolutely no way the Orioles will be discussing a player’s signing until a physical is passed. And they would have had to do something rather quietly in the past few days to make that happen. Not saying it is impossible, but in this day and age of the 24-hour, constant media cycle, it would be pretty surprising.
** I also want to see how Manny Machado is getting around on his surgically repaired left knee. Obviously, walking around in a convention center and playing third base aren’t exactly the same thing, but I’m curious to see if there is a noticeable limp at all.
** Without Jim Johnson in the bullpen this year, that group will take on a different dynamic. Some of the most entertaining and stand-up guys on the team are in that unit – Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day and Troy Patton, for instance – and we’ll get an initial look at how they will mesh with some of the new guys, such as Ryan Webb. Hunter certainly will address the potential of becoming the club’s closer and Patton undoubtedly will be asked about his suspension.
** I’m sure there will be some other decent topics – Matt Wieters’ thoughts on arbitration, Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy on potential free agency – that will come up Saturday.
We’ll try to keep you updated on everything.