"What's left to be done is win a ring," said Orioles outfielder Adam Jones when asked about what's next after the teams accomplishments from last year. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
If you have a precious ticket to Opening Day at Camden Yards, be sure to bring your lungs.
There are going to be all sorts of opportunities to use them as each Oriole runs down the orange carpet during pregame ceremonies and the Toronto Blue Jays play the heel in the first of many 2015 showdowns between a couple of formidable American League East rivals.
You remember the Blue Jays. They're the team that tried to steal Dan Duquette out of the Orioles front office over the winter, but didn't want to pony up enough of their young talent to pry him out of his long-term contract.
Jays ownership allegedly violated baseball protocol and disrupted the Orioles offseason, and might do so again next winter, so there's no reason why you shouldn't boo them lustily when they take the field.
Yes, I realize that the Blue Jays players had nothing to do with any of that and it's unlikely that the baseball operations people in the Jays front office were too happy about it either, but unless you have a Rogers Communications cell phone you want to stomp on, this will be your only opportunity to voice your disapproval.
It's all in fun now, but imagine what the reaction might have been if the Orioles had to play the "Welcome Back, Kotter" theme and show Duquette on the video board watching the game from the Toronto courtesy suite.
The Duquette situation provided months of offseason speculation and left Orioles fans to wonder just how hard their executive vice president of baseball operations was working to enhance their club's chances of improving on last year's playoff run.
It certainly didn't smell right — and how many times do I have to tell you that perception is almost reality in the Internet age — but it turned out that Duquette was going about his business pretty much the same way he has since he joined the Orioles front office a few months before the surprising 2012 season.
The Duq keeps his cards close and it was frustrating for both the fans and media to hear only crickets when they wanted to hear their baseball ops guru pledge his undying loyalty to Charm City and, more importantly, say something other than goodbye to several popular free agents.
Duquette had his reasons, of course, and one of them was that he would have been a fool not to be interested in becoming president of the Blue Jays franchise, so publicly blowing them off was not an option.
Maybe he could have handled it all more deftly, but the important thing is that he kept faith with his team-building philosophy and made some underappreciated moves that now seem pretty important.
He took some heat from both the fans and a few of his veteran players for driving too hard of a bargain with popular clubhouse leader Nick Markakis and allowing him to sign a rich, four-year contract with the Atlanta Braves, but traded for right fielder Travis Snider in late January. It's too early to tell how the right field shake up will shake out, but Snider had a strong opening series at Tropicana Field.
Duquette also made a very late move to add free-agent infielder Everth Cabrera, whose behavioral issues over the past few years seemed to make him a risky acquistion. Again, there's no way to predict how well that gamble will pay off over the long-term, but it certainly seemed fortuitous when J.J. Hardy suffered a shoulder injury in spring training and had to open the season on the disabled list.
So, while you're booing the Blue Jays for trying to disable the Orioles front office at a critical point in the offseason, count your blessings. If Orioles owner Peter Angelos had not insisted on overwhelming compensation to allow them to lure Duquette away, who knows whether the organization would have been able to fill those holes as effectively.
There are other capable people in the Orioles front office, so it's possible that everything would have moved along just fine, but this way Duquette will be able to join in the celebration of last year's terrific season and this year's home opener instead of enduring a very uncomfortable homecoming.