The sun is shining, the days are longer, and baseball is near! Our Orioles are continuing to prepare for the upcoming 2021 season, and I am back to continue delivering some exciting news and updates! This is Monday Thoughts!
A lot has happened here in the last week, including some fan attendance updates, injuries, and stand out performances. Let’s dive right into the headlines!
1. Orioles announce fan attendance for 2021 to start at 25%
For months now, us Oriole fans have been waiting on some news about how many fans, if any, would be allowed at Camden Yards this season.
Last week, Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan announced that large venues in the state of Maryland could re-open at 50% capacity. A few days later, Baltimore City’s mayor, Brandon Scott, okayed Camden Yards to run at 25% capacity.
11,000 fans will be allowed to attend Camden Yards to start 2021, and it’s expected throughout the season that more will be welcomed in as vaccines continue to be distributed.
Some things will be different, however. First off, the gates will only open an hour before game time, and batting practice will have ended by the time the gates open.
Also, the kids run the bases promotion will not exist this season, as well as cash payments within the stadium. Yes, you read that correctly. Camden Yards will only allow transactions at concession stands with debit or credit cards.
Unfortunately, this means the classic beer vendors will not be allowed to sell beer while walking around the seats. I really hope Fancy Clancy will still be able to work around Camden Yards in some respect!
I understand the cutting out watching batting practice before games, but, man, can I say I’m disappointed in that. After missing Camden Yards so much in 2020, I was really looking forward to catching some balls during batting practice! However, beggars can’t be choosers, so I’ll be happy with the fact I can be at Camden Yards again in general!
2. Bruce Zimmermann wants to make the Opening Day roster really badly, and he should.
So far, spring training has been rough for the O’s; there’s just no denying that. The pitching has been pretty poor, with a few standout exceptions. One of those exceptions has been Bruce Zimmermann.
Zimmermann, a Maryland native, made his debut last September. Two appearances last year saw six runs off as many hits, with two home runs in a total of seven innings of work. Coming into spring training, Zimmermann had high hopes of improving on his debut and hopefully breaking camp as a piece in the bullpen. So far, he has done everything right.
Zimmermann has seen the mound three times so far in spring, totaling nine full innings. In those nine innings of work, Zimmermann has allowed just one hit, walked three, and struck out 10. After a full game’s worth of pitching, he has yet to allow a run and has a clean ERA, which sits at 0.00.
Having Bruce make the Opening Day roster, producing how we know he can and is currently doing in Florida, would be a giant addition to that bullpen. Last season, the Orioles bullpen held a collective ERA of 3.90, which was a decent hit above average across the league.
They also held a OPS+ of 85, which is 15% better than the league average. Adding Zimmermann to Tanner Scott and the rest of that bullpen will make that bullpen even better than last season, when they were the highlight of the season.
3. Maikel Franco nears a deal with the Orioles.
Third base is a serious issue for the Orioles currently. Rio Ruiz has held the position down for the last two seasons and has shown that we need a true player at the hot corner. With Rylan Bannon in the wake, but not quite Opening Day roster ready, the Orioles are smart in picking up Maikel Franco.
Last season in Kansas City, Franco saw some of his best success in the majors, hitting for a .278 average with a .778 OPS and a 109 OPS+. Franco will come into Baltimore and will definitely produce at the plate, but it most likely won’t be consistent. He played in all 60 games last season and had averaged 140 games played from 2016-2019 while in Philadelphia.
Franco won’t be the best player on the team, but he brings improvement to the third base position. He has the potential to be a 20 home run and 20 double kind of hitter, and I think Camden Yards will actually assist him on that. Worst comes to worst, he plays well, gets us a prospect, and then Rylan Bannon takes over mid-season. To me, this is a good move.
As the deal is finalized and numbers are revealed, The Baltimore Battery will update fans on the signing of Maikel Franco.
What are your thoughts on the latest Orioles news? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on the web and on Facebook and Twitter!