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The Orioles are two weeks into spring training and the newness of it all still hasn’t worn off.

It probably won’t for a while.

During the eight springs of the Buck Showalter era, the back fields were a beehive of drills, instruction and little else. The budding Brandon Hyde era has a musical soundtrack, with outdoor speakers blaring the favorites of a new generation of Orioles players and a vibe that seems to project that business and pleasure are not mutually exclusive.

Of course, this is the honeymoon period for everyone at the Ed Smith Stadium complex, where Grapefruit League play just got underway Saturday with a 7-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. Hyde wants everybody to get comfortable. He recognizes there are more than 70 players and coaches in camp and most of them are just getting to know each other.

He wouldn’t think of saying his way is best, because his way is still very much in development. He’s actually one of the newest of the new kids on the block and he’s drawing heavily on the time he spent with free-spirited manager Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs.

“I don’t know if I’m reinventing any style or anything like that,” Hyde said. “I was just in a really winning environment for a while now and I know what that feels like.”

The Orioles organization is a couple of years removed from that, so — at the moment — the more important component of this rebuilding project is the fresh start. Nobody is strutting around saying how much better this camp has been than those of the past eight years. Showalter brought the Orioles more success than they had experienced in the 13 seasons before his arrival.

He ran a tight camp and that worked just fine until it didn’t. Hyde is drawing heavily on the feel that Maddon and his coaching staff have created in Chicago, where the Cubs have reached the playoffs in each of Maddon’s four seasons and won the World Series in 2016 for the first time since 1908.

“I think the biggest thing is wanting to build a new culture, a new identity for the Orioles and I think that, so far, it’s been great,’’ veteran pitcher Andrew Cashner said. “I think Brandon’s brought a lot of great ideas from other places he’s been and I think just our coaching staff as a whole is one of the best coaching staffs that I’ve had.”

Hyde is all about the interpersonal relationships that are forming in the clubhouse and, hopefully, will thrive outside it. Maybe that emphasis will be more evident this spring because of the huge number of young players — many of whom came over from other organizations during the flurry of teardown trades in July.

“That’s something that I just came from and we had,’’ Hyde said. “We had a group of people who enjoyed each other’s company and I think that’s something that translates on the field when you’re caring about the guy next to you and you’re caring about their performance and pulling for each other. That’s huge.”

The players seem to appreciate that, and those that thrived during the Showalter era can embrace this new reality without feeling like it is some kind of betrayal of the old guard.

“I think it’s just because it’s a new regime,’’ outfielder Trey Mancini said. “Everything that Buck and Dan [Duquette] did in Baltimore … I mean they turned the franchise around and I’m forever grateful for them. Because of them, I got to be a major league player, so I’m forever grateful for that and they did a great job here.

“With all that said, just having a new front office and new staff and a lot of young players, with all that comes a lot of excitement. I’ve been saying the whole time, it’s just been a great feel here. Everybody’s bought in.”

Pitcher Miguel Castro, speaking through interpreter Ramón Alarcón, said it’s not about the process being better or worse than before.

“I would say it’s just different,’’ Castro said. “It’s the same baseball. Personnel changes and players change, but it’s the same sport. I would just say it’s different.”

Other than the average age of the camp roster and an almost entirely new major league coaching staff, nothing looks dramatically different about this year’s camp. The players still run through many of the same drills that big league teams have been doing for decades. There are a few new gadgets arrayed around the practice fields and bullpen mounds which reflect the new-age emphasis on analytics that executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias brought with him from the Houston Astros organization.

Elias and Hyde are in the process of engineering a major organizational transformation, which is what you do after the worst season in the 65-year history of the franchise. Everyone knows that and would be crazy not to want to get where the new regime wants to take the team.

If that is reflected in a more relaxed feel around the facility, that’s a short-term mission accomplished, but Hyde might quibble with the semantics.

“I wouldn’t say relaxed atmosphere,’’ Hyde said. “I’d say positive atmosphere where players are looking to get better every single day without making them stay on the field too long where injuries can happen or resentment can happen, but getting a positive work day in. I think players are going to perform better and improve quicker in a good place to work.”

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The Cleveland Indians unveiled a new statue Saturday of their groundbreaking former manager Frank Robinson, who made history by hitting a home run during his managerial debut in 1975.

“Of all the pennants, World Series, awards and All-Star games I’ve been in, this is the greatest thrill,” Robinson told the Cleveland Plain Dealer at the time.

Robinson, the first-ever manager for the Washington Nationals, also made history by becoming Major League Baseball’s first African-American manager, a groundbreaking step for sure, but one that did not solve the racial disparity still found in the game today. For example, more than 40 years later, there are now just two black managers in MLB — the Washington Nationals’ Dusty Baker and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dave Roberts.

[Dusty Baker advocates for more African Americans in MLB leadership positions]

While Robinson used his speech during the statue’s unveiling ceremony to celebrate his career, he also made note of that continued racial disparity in baseball.
“It can get better,” he said (via the Associated Press). “We’re still not where we should be in the front office, in the dugouts and even now, the players’ roster.

He added: “We’re losing ground all the way around.”

Robinson’s comments come just a month after Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was peppered with racial insults by fans while playing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The incident illustrated several challenges black players face in MLB, as well as how few African-American players there are in the league.

“As it turns out, according to a USA Today study, of 868 players on MLB rosters at the start of this season, only 62 were African Americans,” Post columnist Norman Chad wrote in April. “Heck, you could find a larger gathering of black men at an Engelbert Humperdinck concert.”

Chad added, more seriously: “American blacks constituted just 7.1 percent of Opening Day rosters, the lowest number since 1958.”

This disparity begins during childhood, when baseball is not always an option for kids in majority-black areas, such as the South Side of Chicago, where Chicago State pitcher Jamary McKinney grew up.
“Being from the South Side of Chicago, baseball is just not a big sport,” McKinney, then 19, told the Chicago Tribune last year. “It’s like being foreign on the South Side of Chicago. I get, ‘What sport do you play? You don’t look like a baseball player.’ ”

This lack of opportunity is what Robinson wants to see change, he said Saturday, noting that he wants to see prospective African-American players have a more equal chance at success.

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“We’re not asking to be given anything,” Robinson said. “I want the people that want to be in this game to earn what they get.”

Robinson, who went on to manage the San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles and the Montreal Expos, who later became the Nationals, had 2,943 hits, including 586 home runs in his 21-year playing career. Along with the Indians, Robinson also played for the Cincinnati Reds, Orioles, Dodgers and California Angels. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

His new statue, which depicts him holding a list inscribed with that famous batting order from his debut game as manager, now stands in Heritage Park, alongside the likenesses of Bob Feller, Jim Thome and Larry Doby, the American League’s first African-American player.

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Orioles outfielder-first baseman Trey Mancini finished third in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s voting for American League Rookie of the Year on Monday.

The award’s winner, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, received all 30 first-place votes and 150 total points on the 5-3-1 scoring scale. Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi finished second with 75 points, and Mancini was third with 31.

Mancini received five second-place votes (Benintendi received 23) and 16 third-place votes.

Oakland Athletics outfielder Matt Olson and Yankees left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery each received one second-place vote. Olson finished fourth overall in voting, and Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel was fifth.

Nine of the 30 voters did not have Mancini on their ballot. Voters — two from each AL city — select their top three choices for the award.

There was little doubt that Judge, who set a rookie record with an AL-leading 52 home runs and is an AL Most Valuable Player Award finalist, would be voted Rookie of the Year.

Mancini’s 24 homers were third most by an Orioles rookie. The two players ahead of him on that list — Cal Ripken Jr. (28 in 1982) and Eddie Murray (27 in 1977) — won the award.

Mancini is the first Oriole to finish in the top three since right-hander Daniel Cabrera was third in 2004. No Oriole has won since Gregg Olson in 1989.

Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger won the National League award.

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Jeanne Rosier Day, a retired St. Paul’s School for Girls mathematics teacher and enthusiastic Orioles fan who attended the franchise’s 1954 debut at Memorial Stadium as well as its first game at Camden Yards, died Monday of complications from breast cancer at her Timonium home. She was 70.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Northwood, she was the daughter of Walter Rosier, an A&P grocery store regional vice president, and Charlotte Crosby, who was a baseball fan. As a child, she attended the first Orioles game at Memorial Stadium on April 15, 1954. She also attended the team’s final game there in 1991.

She learned the game, and how to score baseball, from her mother, who had been a fan of the International League Orioles.

In an oral history, Mrs Day recalled listening to the Orioles on the radio with her mother. She said the family often had tickets to games through her father’s work at the grocery store chain.

“At that Opening Day, I remember the upper decks were not finished,” she said in the oral history.

She also noted that baseball players didn’t make much money in those days and often boarded with families in the Waverly and Northwood neighborhoods.

Once, through a friend, she learned that an Oriole was to be married at Blessed Sacrament Church on Old York Road.

“We couldn’t go to the reception, but we went to [shortstop] Ronnie Hansen’s wedding. Brooks Robinson and Chuck Estrada were ushers,” she said in the oral history.

She was also on hand for the Orioles’ first Opening Day at Camden Yards in 1992.

She attended the Cathedral School and was a 1965 graduate of the Institute of Notre Dame. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Seton Hill College in Greensburg, Pa., and a master’s degree in education from what is now Loyola University Maryland.

She began teaching at Mercy High School in 1969. She soon met her future husband, Alan G. “Buzz” Day III, who sold medical equipment. They married in August 1970.

After raising a family, Mrs. Day returned to the classroom at St. Paul’s School for Girls in 1985. Se taught for 31 years and was awarded the Linda King Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Gold Pin award and the Green Apple Alumni Award.

“Mrs. Day cared about how students were doing outside of the classroom. If you were struggling in math, she sat down next to you and helped you,” said a former student, Julie Moores, who lives in Arlington, Va.

A former teaching colleague, Sandy Wahl of Ann Arbor, Mich., said, “Jeanne had the ability to break down complicated math theorems. She could explain them in a story pattern.”

Mrs. Day remained an Orioles fan. “The most infamous game she scored was when the O’s lost to the Rangers, 30-3, in 2007,” said a daughter. Diane Hilleary of Atlanta. “She fit every single play on that score sheet. She also scored every game she attended on homemade graph paper sheets.”

Mrs. Day occasionally found herself at airports and on flights with Orioles players. On a trip back from Bermuda, she recalled meeting Doug DeCinces at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. She and her husband, who were celebrating a wedding anniversary, planned to share a cab with the Orioles third baseman into Manhattan.

“But the airline lost our luggage and we were detained,” she said in her oral history.

Mrs. Day enjoyed her role as a mother and grandmother, family members said, and cherished a gold necklace that had a charm for each of her grandchildren.

“I am a very lucky woman,” she once said during a talk at St. Paul’s School. “I love what I do for a living. Teaching truly brings me joy every day. I work with wonderful colleagues, and I consider myself privileged to be able to touch the lives of such unique and talented young women.” She intended to return to the classroom this fall, but her health problems prevented her from doing so.

Mrs. Day visited Ocean City for two weeks each August and hosted family reunions at the beach, family members said, sitting in a circle of beach chairs with children playing in the middle. She called these gatherings her “family bondage.”

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the St. Paul School Chapel in Brooklandville.

In addition to her husband of 47 years and daughter, survivors include a son, Kevin Day of Timonium; two other daughters, Kathleen “Katie” Jasinski of Ocean City and Carolyn Houk of Seattle; a brother, Roland Rosier, and a sister, Diane Quick, both of Columbia; and nine grandchildren.

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Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is very close to being activated after missing 2 1/2 months with a fractured wrist and arm soreness, but he said Monday that he’s still feeling some pain above his elbow when he swings a bat.

“Throwing is fine,’’ he said, “but I can still feel it when I hit.”

Hardy added, however, that he will be ready to play as soon as manager Buck Showalter is ready to add him to the roster — something Showalter said could be as soon as Tuesday for the second game of the series against the New York Yankees.
“Let’s see how he recovers from the work today, but I’m hoping his activation is imminent,” Showalter said. “We’ll be able to define that tomorrow when we talk to him. We’ve been playing day game, day game. Tomorrow will be the first time we have a little longer turnaround from today to tomorrow. I think we’ll have a pretty good idea what we’re dealing with. I hope we’re in position to activate him tomorrow.”

Whether it’s Tuesday or a day or two later, Hardy clearly wants to get back out there and said he’s able to hit right now in spite of the soreness. He said he would likely limit his non-game-action swings until he’s pain-free.

Top Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey, finally healthy, ends rehab period strong for Delmarva
Castillo still in there: Showalter said Sunday that he might use Welington Castillo as the designated hitter for Monday’s game, but decided to start him again because he’s on such an offensive roll and because he wanted to keep Joey Rickard in right field.

“I thought about it, but I like Joey in right field, especially in a day game,’’ he said. “It’s tough out there. There are certain heights and certain balls that if they get in the sun it doesn’t matter who’s out there you’re not going to catch them. That’s true about every field. There are places at Yankee Stadium where you don’t want the ball to go to.”

So, Castillo started behind the plate again and hit his fifth home run in seven games and his 19th of the season, tying a career high. Over his past 11 games, he is batting .404 with six homers and 11 RBIs, and could be a candidate for American League Player of the Week after batting .500 (12-for-24) with four homers and eight RBIs.

Orioles, Bundy can’t hold early three-run lead in 7-4 loss to the Yankees in series opener



Around the horn: Tim Beckham’s homer in the first inning was the third leadoff homer of his career, all of them coming in the past month with the Orioles. … Mark Trumbo singled in the fourth inning to extend his hitting streak to six games. He’s batting .357 over that span.