Let me begin by saying I am not in the land of sunshine and swaying palm trees, watching the Orioles work out in Sarasota, Fla. No, I'm here in sunny Baltimore, where I curse on the days I scrape ice off the car windshield and where I get most of my Orioles news from the outstanding reporting of The Sun's Eduardo A. Encina and my buddy Peter Schmuck.
Still, like everyone who follows the O's, I am riveted by the Brian Roberts saga.
Will he be able to play this season after suffering those horrible concussion symptoms? If so, how much? No one knows. Roberts doesn't know. His doctors don't know. Buck Showalter and the Orioles don't know. That's partly what makes the whole thing so riveting.
Each sighting of him captured by TV cameras or still photographers, whether he's hitting off a tee on a back field, or chatting quietly with Showalter, or running wind sprints with his teammates, leads to fresh speculation about his status.
A few observations:
1. Roberts looks super-thin to me. He was never a big guy, but now he looks too skinny and his shoulders have disappeared. His activities have been restricted all winter -- and that includes conditioning and weight-room work -- which explains the weight loss. Worry will do that, too. And Roberts has been worried about his symptoms for many months.
2. It's great to hear that he's running sprint drills at full speed. But if he hasn't even taken live batting practice yet, how can he possibly be ready for Opening Day?
3. Showalter is taking the exact right approach with Roberts: plan on him not playing this season. If he surprises you and gives you anything, it's a bonus. This was one of the better lead-off hitters and second basemen in baseball when he was healthy. But that seems so long ago that it's hard to remember at times.
4. Roberts is taking the exact right approach with the media this spring. He's not giving daily updates on his condition. He doesn't want his health to be a distraction for the Orioles. He doesn't want to waste time and energy talking about his status every day. The comeback from severe concusion symptoms is a long and complicated process, with many ups and downs. It does no good to share every little up and down with the voracious media and it's 24/7 news cycle.
If you know Brian Roberts at all, you're pulling for him.
Even from a thousand miles away.