Timehop gave me a harsh wake-up call this morning.
The social media archive app gave me a flashback to three years ago today, when Jake Arrieta was in an Orioles uniform toeing the rubber at the bullpen mound inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
But, unlike today, he wasn't preparing for his next postseason start.
As the Orioles were preparing to play Game 2 of the American League Division Series with the New York Yankees on that October evening in 2012, the promising young hurler was getting in a side session. His next appearance was undecided, because Arrieta wasn't even on the active roster.
He remained in uniform, though.
I happened to catch a moment at the ballpark that evening, roaming the inside of Oriole Park with another reporter doing interviews with fans, as Arrieta worked in the bullpen under the watchful eye of Orel Hershiser. The former Dodgers and Indians standout pitcher -- in town as part of the national television broadcast team -- was working with Arrieta, it seemed, on the advantages of changing up his stance on the pitching rubber.
No fanfare. No cameras — aside from my iPhone. Certainly no expectations.
The picture -- posted to my Instagram three years ago -- popped up Thursday morning, a reminder of the promise Arrieta held for the Orioles.
Quite a contrast to Thursday morning's sports section in The Baltimore Sun, in which Arrieta was lauded for running his scoreless streak to 31 innings amid the Chicago Cubs' 4-0 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League-Wild Card game.
It was Arrieta's first postseason appearance. The Orioles lost that series to the Yankees in 2012, and Arrieta wouldn't make a postseason roster again until this year.
The Orioles gave Arrieta about six more months to work things out before trading him to the Cubs with Pedro Strop in July 2013. In return, the club received starter Scott Feldman (no longer with the Orioles) and catcher Steve Clevenger (who has spent parts of three seasons with the Orioles).
Among the active pitchers on that 2012 Orioles roster — Jason Hammel, Pedro Strop and Tommy Hunter. All of them are in Chicago with Arrieta. None of them were starting the biggest game for the Cubs in a decade-plus.
That distinction went to Arrieta — the new ace of the rebuilt Cubs' ballclub.
Meanwhile, the Orioles -- devoid of an ace -- are said to be prioritizing pitching this winter.
Dan Duquette doesn't need Timehop to remind him of what could have been.