Each Tuesday in the Toy Department we bring you a Q&A with the reporters and writers who are in the field, chasing the news. This week The Baltimore Sun's Orioles beat writer Jeff Zrebiec took time to answer some of our questions. Zrebiec has been covering the Orioles since 2005.
Question: First road trip of the season: You're wearing something that says "Baltimore" across your chest, right? I mean, what if you got lost walking the mean streets of Arlington, Texas?
: Yep, I’m psyched. There is a ton of Japanese reporters in my hotel near the ballpark, and I’m sure they're here to see "Baltimore" on the road jerseys, not Koji. I wasn’t able to relate to this whole argument, probably because I didn’t grow up in Maryland. But fans are obviously so passionate about it, so I’m glad the organization decided to make the change. You get shrugged shoulders when you ask the players about it, but the fans appreciate it.
Question: Be honest, is the Texas road trip the worst? If not, which is?
Question: Did you see anything last week that makes you think this Orioles team will be better than some of us expected?
: How worried are the Orioles about the group of pitchers they've assembled? Why would they think they could last through September with a patchwork starting rotation?
: Do you think they'll stick with 12 pitchers on the roster indefinitely?
: In most locker rooms or clubhouses, we have a couple of go-to guys for quotes. Who will fill that role on this team?
: Has anyone really replaced Kevin Millar as a clubhouse presence? Does that matter to a team?
Question: Manager Dave Trembley seems to think that if the Orioles can score a lot of runs every night, they'll have a chance. Is it a fair expectation to think they can continue at this offensive pace (Sunday's loss excluded)?
: One more on Trembley. On one hand, he's among those telling fans to be patient. On the other, he seemed to indicate that he expected to win at least four games in the team's first homestand. Which is it? What do you think he really expects from this team, and how realistic is he?
Question: We've read about Terry Crowley working with Felix Pie. How much credit does Crow deserve for the way this team has improved offensively in recent years?
: The season's first roster move was announced after Saturday's game. Are these decisions made solely by Andy MacPhail, and how much input does Trembley have in them?
Question: Sure, parting ways with D-Cab might've been an addition by subtraction. But look what they've replaced him with. How does this rotation rank against some of the others you've seen?
Question: You can be honest with us: Are you already dreading the second half of this season? Or do you think it'll actually be more fun with the arrivals of Wieters, et al?
: I'm sure having Peter Schmuck around is a great deal of help, but is it difficult covering the Orioles as a beat writer while also playing second base for the Tigers every night? Has anyone ever spotted you and Placido Polanco in the same room at the same time?