Soon there will be Orioles baseball – and it will be different this year!

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Opening Day is right around the corner and Luke Jones and Nestor ramp up for Orioles season and discuss World Baseball Classic and grapefruit hopes. Oh, and those new rules and that crazy pitch clock!

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

game, baseball, orioles, pitch, spring training, year, rotation, venezuela, talking, watch, major league baseball, people, play, innings, starting, bullpen, sarasota, clock, fun, dodger stadium

SPEAKERS

Luke Jones, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

We’re back at W n s t, Towson Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are positively taking the Maryland crabcakes we’re back out on the road soon. I’ve got dates including a Costas and now we have a makeup for families. And we’re gonna be going to a bunch of new places into the spring and in the summer tons of new places. We had a great time at drug city though I gotta tell you, Mr. Stadium was awesome. We sang Sentimental Journey, had some friends and gave away some instant lottery scratches. They look old school because they are it’s 50th anniversary of the marathon. I also had these really cool, gigantic $50 $5 million scratch offs now. This is just a sample but but I have one and it’s cool and it’s big. They also sell these Acosta’s add the drug city in Dundalk, and it prepares a regular guy here, sadly, sadly, never been to drug city or to the fountain or to the tasting room upstairs, but we may be looking to change that. I’m going to try to drag him over to Perry Ville and Barstool Sports on Thursday for the Terps getting down with the West Virginia mountaineers as we go east, playing the West Virginia team come on out and join us on Thursday. For all the fun with Jones joins us now we’ve orlimar down even though we may be getting closer to a solution there were tampered out and the real free agency will begin but the Ravens might not be so active. We’ve got St. Patrick’s Day festivities. I’ve got brackets. And they’re playing hockey in the NBA too. And there’s like golfing and we this thing’s happening. I even got reached the picture already this week talking about horse racing. Somewhere in there. They’re gonna play baseball in two weeks Luke, and they’re they’ve got this little worldwide tournament going and I saw the Venezuela Jersey arm was busted out my Venezuela jersey for you today. Maybe I should do that. But baseball is trying. I mean, they’re in there somewhere. I mean, John Angelo’s given PP to Wes Moore, I saw that last week in Sarasota didn’t slip by me.

Luke Jones  02:01

Yeah, I mean, we’re what a little over two weeks out from opening day, ready or not. Here we come. And it’s certainly a different dynamic when you have the World Baseball Classic going on, which by the way, I very much enjoy. I enjoyed it. Several years back with Adam Jones making the big play in San Diego and robbing Manny Machado, you know, teammates who wouldn’t be teammates too much longer after that. But it’s fun, but it does make for a different kind of spring training where you’re seeing Dean crank Dean Kramer pitch really well for Team Israel. You’re seeing Anthony Santander, as you mentioned, hitting bombs for Venezuela. I mean, lots of enthusiasm. There’s always the the unsettling feeling I think, especially for pitchers, you know, for teams watching their pitchers go pitch highly competitive. You know, I’m not saying it’s the World Series, but you watch those games, these guys care. I mean, they care.

Nestor Aparicio  02:54

Jones came into camp all amped up back in the day, remember?

Luke Jones  02:57

Right, right, exactly. So even just take a couple, take a couple hours and watch some of these games. I mean, they care and the atmosphere is fun. And but at the same time, you have executives, you have managers, you have coaching staffs who are kind of holding their breath a little bit, right. You don’t want anyone to get hurt. In fact, I saw in one of the Venezuela games, Santander make a diving catch in right field, and you’re kind of bracing yourself like, hey, let’s make sure you don’t hurt your shoulder there. And he wouldn’t be playing like that in Plant City. Yeah, yeah. Or Sarasota? You know, Sarasota? Certainly. So but but it’s fun. It does make for a different kind of spring training, though, because you’re still playing grapefruit league games. And you’re still monitoring that as much as you can without the games being on mass. And certainly, which is part of the discussion every time. This time of year, every year. Hey, hold

Nestor Aparicio  03:50

on. This is where I interrupt you. And I remind you incompetence never takes a day off.

Luke Jones  03:55

Yeah, yeah, that is true. But I think, to your point, there’s plenty going on. But yeah, we’re counting down to opening day and I think there is, even though there’s a lot of other things going on. There is enthusiasm for the Orioles. Is it as much as it could have been with the better offseason and all that. You know we’ve already talked about that. We’ll continue to talk about those dynamics and the big picture but in the meantime, there are a lot of Orioles fans excited about Adley rutschman and Gunnar Henderson and seeing Dean Kramer do what he did for Team Ezreal and seeing Santander do what He has done for Venezuela, but Cedric Mullins playing for team USA. So but I think there’s a sense especially if this team can get off to a good start. And of course they open on the road at Boston go to Texas before they come home to play the Yankees for the home opener thing get off to a good start. I think you’ll see some enthusiasm here that not gonna say that it’s they’re gonna pack the ballpark overnight, but I think there’ll be some buzz that we haven’t seen here for several years. So That’s fine. And in the meantime, you’re just kind of hoping that no, no news is good news, right? It’s, for the most part been a pretty uneventful spring training and that’s a good thing. You don’t want to guys go in for MRIs on their elbow and things of that nature. So you’re trying to avoid that. But, you know, other than Dillon Tate, which was the news, we found out at the beginning of spring training, knowing he wouldn’t be ready for the start of the season. Other than updates on John means it’s thrown off the half mound and starting to ramp back up with thoughts of hopefully being backed by say July. You know, other than that, it’s been pretty uneventful for the Orioles as they’re going through spring activities down in Sarasota.

Nestor Aparicio  05:41

What Jones is here he is all things let’s see a football Lamar Lamar football, little bit of chirps, little bit of Oreos, but a lot of Lamar but in this particular case, I want to talk some baseball because I do have a Venezuela, jersey. My My brother lives in the Orlando area and went to games. During one of the tournaments, maybe not I went to the tournament and oh nine. I was out on the west coast for the owners meetings. I think they were in Dana Point at the time, if I’m not mistaken. And I went up to LA and in Dodger Stadium. I saw Japan play the United States. In a bit of a knockout game. I don’t. I’m trying to actually find the actual game. Here it is right here. March 22 2009. It was Japan and USA was a knockout game was a semifinal game. There were 43,630 people there which I think they consider that a sellout maybe in what they were trying to do. But it was the most electric thing, dude, I had seats behind home plate at Dodger Stadium. And the Japanese fans came with red dots on their head bang and bangers dice K pitched each row played Jeremy Guthrie pitch for the you know, did he pitch that game? Hold on. I mean, Brian Roberts was on the team. I can’t eat like, but Davey Johnson was the manager. So like, it was as exciting a game and I’ve been to Dodger Stadium for big games playoff games. I’ve been and you know, I love Dodger Stadium. I think it’s it’s my favorite stadium and I’ve been to them all except Atlanta. Now the West more has been everywhere you go. I know he’s been at Atlanta to to see that. So he’s been somewhere I haven’t been. But I would say for the tournament. If you go to it, and you’re a part of it, you’re there. There’s games at Petco years ago, there. It’s fun. And it’s March baseball. That’s fun. And I’ll say this. You’ve been to Sarasota? You know, I’ve been to St. Petersburg for 30 years ago and all the good and I liked Fort Lauderdale for what it was for drinkin and beach and and I was in my early 30s and 20s and whatnot. But spring training baseball, there’s no there there. You get there. There’s a suntan. There’s an ice tea and lemonade. There’s no there there. There’s a there there with the WPC. And as it ramps up, and as the players go, and to your point, everybody’s nervous about it. I don’t know, but it’s better in March when it’s going on, although it’s kind of lost on me a little bit with all the Lamar and the basketball and other things happening. Even the Oscars the other night. Right. Other things that are happening in the Lamar situation here, sort of Mars and a little bit from a do I have three hours to watch Venezuela play whomever? Right?

Luke Jones  08:37

Yeah, and I mean, the one thing about the Lamar situation, I mean, other than turning on NFL Network, there’s nothing to watch. There’s no there there. So I think in some ways, it’s a pleasant distraction. Yeah, it’s a pleasant distraction in that way. But no, I mean, here’s here’s a very simplistic example to support what you just said. I went over to my brother in law’s house on Saturday night. And we watched the United States against Great Britain which by the way, if you’ve seen the Great Britain jerseys hilarious, right? I mean, it is. It really feels like wait a second Great Britain’s in this tournament. We need uniforms for them because it’s just plain block letters. Greg, Great Britain. I think what a Arial font you know, sans serif for whatever we

Nestor Aparicio  09:19

do things over there. They do hilarious. They do improper

Luke Jones  09:22

but but we watched that game and we watched Venezuela against the Dominican Republic. We would not have been watching spring training baseball on a Saturday evening, you know, and he’s a monster Phillies fan and I covered the Orioles but we just wonder been watching spring training baseball, you know, but we were watching the WBC so it’s fun. I’ve said this before when we’ve talked about past instances of the of the WBC. I love the atmosphere. I love the enthusiasm. Rather than having these overdone conversations about showing up pitchers and the unwritten rules and all the different things we talk About with Major League Baseball, you just see the enthusiasm you see the electricity, not just from the fans, but the players again, tell these guys it’s that it’s an exhibition in March and it doesn’t look that way. They’re playing hard. You know, I’m not gonna say it’s the World Series, but it’s more than grapefruit League. It’s more than regular season Major League Baseball, that’s for sure. So it’s fun. And especially when you look at these rosters. What was funny was looking at the Venezuela team, which I’ve had a chance to watch them a little bit with Santander plan, but you look at their lineup, top to bottom and the talent there really does speak to how many, you know, not just major leaguers that are of Venezuelan descent, but high impact really good major leaguers, great major leaguers. And it’s fun to see that because, you know, 1520 years ago, I mean, I can think back to what Melvin Mora and Bobby Bray, you were at the same All Star game, and I think a Bray might have been the year he won the homerun Derby or he was runner up something like that. I can’t remember. But you kind of look at some of these countries that the representation that has grown and you it reminds you of just how international the game really is. So I mean, it’s fun. I mean, yeah, some of these teams like you look at a Great Britain. I mean, they had, it was hilarious. Vance Wardley was starting for them who hasn’t pitched in the majors since what 2017 though, pitch and 16. The last time the Orioles were any good. But he’s having fun. So you see some of that. You see some of that in some of these, some of these countries that clearly don’t have the same talent level. But some of these teams like, I mean, the Dominican goes without saying Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the United States, you know, Japan is loaded. I mean, you see some of the talent levels of some of these countries. And it does remind you just how cool the game actually is, as much as we talk about Major League Baseball shortcomings. And now we’re going to be talking so much about the pitch clock and banning the shift and all the different things that have been talked about. And we have seen shorter games this spring. But there’s still something to be said about seeing this kind of international tournament going on. I’ll be it in March. And I’ll be at some risk involved for some of these major leaguers. But it’s fun, it really is fun. And regardless of what the ratings are, and the fact that they’re competing with March Madness, and everything else going on that you mentioned, it is a lot of fun to take a few hours and take in a game or two and really seeing what it’s all about. And, again, the atmosphere where some of these games have been played. It’s been second to none.

Nestor Aparicio  12:38

Luke Jones is here he will be there opening day in Boston and then back here and we’re clearing space and hoping for better weather and update me just on Orioles starting pitching. What are we in starting pitching is different now it’s different than the way we’ve talked about it for 50 years to some degree. And even in regard to to wagering on and up at Barstool Sports and Hollywood casino on Thursday and saying we’re betting on pitchers for baseball, but just where the team and the construction of the team would be because as much as we’re in Lamar mode and the offseason and tampering in the NFL, the Orioles didn’t make enough of a splash about any of that in the way that all these NFL teams are making splashes this week, whether you’re the Panthers dealing for a one or whether you’re the Rams deal, and Jalen Ramsey and the dolphins, like all of these things that st sign and players football is going to dominate all of that, to some degree. But the baseball thing they missed out on all of this. But if I’m just getting into the soap opera, where where are Where’s John Meade’s? Like I? I have question marks because he was all we talked about a year ago right now?

Luke Jones  13:52

Yeah, well, I mean, he’s still recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s back. And he’s throwing and going through that progression. He recently threw off what I guess a half mound kind of scenario. Sounds like July for him. No, I think that’s probably realistic. You know, I know, is there a best case scenario that may be the end of June or something like that? Sure. But July, I think second half of the season, you’re looking at more?

Nestor Aparicio  14:17

I don’t think we’ve said his name in six months on on these airwaves. Right. Have we? Well, sure.

Luke Jones  14:21

I mean, but that’s the reality when when you have Tommy John surgery, go away. I mean, even even a best case scenario for a timetable is what 10 months may be I mean, that’s on the shortest of the short end of a range. You know, it’s usually in that 12 to 14

Nestor Aparicio  14:36

John means can be given them innings in August in a pennant race. Sure,

Luke Jones  14:41

no question about it and I think as much as you mentioned it and look I’ve written about this Baltimore positive.com I would have liked to have seen the Orioles done more this offseason. But as you mentioned, you can make a splash that doesn’t always mean it’s gonna be a good splash, right? It can be some ill conceived you know, some ill fated kind of moves that You ultimately make but what the Orioles did do this offseason, they bring in Kyle Gibson, they they trade for Cole Irvin, and they’ve raised their floor of their starting rotation. Those are two guys who have logged a lot of innings in the major leagues. Gibson for a long, long time being someone who’s in his mid 30s. And Cole Irvin, who’s 29. You know, he’s not young, but he’s been, you know, he hasn’t been around a long time but logline innings for the A’s last couple years. So you have those two, those are two rotation locks in terms of veterans, grace and Rodriguez. All indications are he’s going to be in the rotation to start the season. We think, you know, the velocity has been really good. He’s healthy. You know, he got gave up a couple runs the other day in Sarasota. I think it was in Sarasota may have been on the road. But philosophy is good. Looks like he’s healthy. I expect him to be in the rotation. You know, kind of radishes had a good spring. I don’t put a lot into spring numbers. But you know, you’re kind of looking at the guys. You’re expecting. Dean Kramer. We’ve already mentioned who’s pitching for Team Israel right now. But I think that’s going to be your starting five. I think Tyler Wells is still in the conversation whether do you end up piggybacking him with one of those other starters I just mentioned, does he settle into a relief role as we saw him in as a rule five pitcher A couple years ago? I think the rest of the names you talked about, like, you know, Mike Bowman, Bruce Zimmerman, you know, to me, those are the guys that were always kind of long shots to be in the rotation. And I think it’s going to play out that way. So do any of those guys find a way to the bullpen or are they starting to trip away? But you’re gonna have the two veterans, you know, they’re gonna kind of anchor things for you from an inning standpoint. Grayson Rodriguez and Kyle Bradish to me are your real ceiling guys, you know, guys and Kramer, probably to a lesser degree for him. But certainly he pitched very well last year. And I think the question for right now. Not, I mean, he’s not going to be in the opening day rotation. But what do they do with DL haul he did have a little bit of a health issue with, you know, a lower back issue earlier this year, you know, he’s he’s back throwing and building up his his pitch count and all of that. But the big question for him all along has been, what do you do with him? If he’s not one of your starting five going north? To me, I’m of the thought of, I certainly don’t want to shorten up DL haul in April and May and June with the with the assumption that your starting rotation is going to go through some challenges, right, guys are gonna get hurt, someone’s going to be ineffective. All the things you need more than five starting pitchers, we know that and that’s even with John means rejoining them at some point in time later in the season. So well, for my money. What I do with DL haul is I send them back to triple A, and I continue to have him develop as a starter there because if I’m going to shorten him up and put him in the bullpen, I’m really not looking at that as an option until August, August and September, you know, kind of how the Orioles treated Kevin Gasman in late 2014. Remember, he was in their bullpen in the postseason. So, you know, I think that’s kind of been the big question as far as what happens with him taller wells to a lesser extent. But the nice thing, everything I just spelled out, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that that rotation is the best in the Al east or anything by a longshot. But it is a rotation that has more options to it, then we’ve been talking about a year ago at this time, we were talking a lot about Bruce simmerman. Right? It was kind of assumed he was gonna be in the rotation. He’s on the outside looking in at this point. And part of that he had a rough 2022. There’s no question about that. But it also speaks to the Orioles do have more options now. And they do have more viability among those options. It’s not just guys that are kind of by default, being in the mix. Now it’s more of a case of, you know, who exactly is going to emerge and be the best fit? So, you know, I think that’s fun. That’s that’s encouraging. Would I have liked to have seen them at a top half of the rotation starter with a little more upside than Kyle Gibson or call Irvin? Absolutely. But where they stand right now. And this is probably always going to be the case. It was always going going to come back to Grayson Rodriguez, the last year or two has been widely regarded as the top pitching prospect in baseball. Well see what it looks like. Now he’s healthy, see what he looks like in the major leagues. So

Nestor Aparicio  19:38

if he turns into that at the big league level, there’ll be really good.

Luke Jones  19:41

Yeah, yeah. I mean, there’s a couple of veterans that I mentioned that they can continue to give you innings and be workhorses for you because you do have some young pitchers here that you’re going to have to be mindful of their innings. Not to say that they’re going to be on a hard restriction, but you have to be mindful of it at the very least. But if Grayson Rodriguez can be as advertised. And Kyle Bradish can pitch like he pitched over the second half of last season and Dean Kramer can do what he did for the most for most of last season, then you’ve got the makings of a rotation that looks a lot better than it’s been

Nestor Aparicio  20:13

a man 20 months ago, I remember you and I were like, who’s going to pitch? Where are they? Were they going to buoy tonight? Are they going to make some deal, they’re going to claim some jackwagon with a nine era off of waiver. I mean, like, there was all of that going on. And they weren’t even doing that, because they weren’t really trying to win. So but they’re trying to win now. And I would think that they’re not going to have to do that part of winning is we’re not going to have to sit here and say, Oh, they’re gonna have to start that guy. And that guy might be Bruce Zimmerman. But if they’re starting to Zimmerman, it might be because he’s six and three with you three, eight era in Norfolk. And it’s trending like he deserves a star. Not like, Oh, my God, he’s getting his head beaten in Durham. And we, you know, we gotta go, we gotta go have and pitch for us, because that’s what happened. But that’s what non contending and that the teams that aren’t trying, that’s what they do. Right. But this is, we’ve now allegedly moved to a point where we’re team trying not not trying anymore, and that happen quickly.

Luke Jones  21:18

Yeah, well, sure. And I mean, as much as we talk about the payroll, or lack thereof, and all those, yeah, I mean, this is a team that fancies itself is having a chance to make the playoffs this year, and they absolutely have a chance and it doesn’t mean they’re going to doesn’t mean that everything that went well, last year will continue. Now one area where I do look at and I take a little bit of pause is the bullpen as I already mentioned, I mean, Dylan, Tate’s injured and not gonna be ready for the start of the season. And, you know, as guys that you counted on last year, like Brian Baker, Joey cradle guys like that, are they going to duplicate what they did a year ago, we know how volatile relief pitching can be. But at the same time, you have other interesting arms in the mix. And you’ve brought back Michael Gibbons, for example, who can be a seventh and eighth inning guy for you? Felix Batista, is he going to be even better his second year or, you know, you at least assume it’ll be as good as he was as a rookie. Because, you know, there was nothing fluky about it. He was dominant. No, it wasn’t some guy that was smoke and mirrors getting hitters out. So you look at all those factors. But to bring it back to the rotation, it is a much different mindset. As you mentioned, two years ago, there was a question of how are you going to navigate 162 games, right? I mean, that’s how are you going to get through 162 games without having to throw Stevie Wilkerson out on the mound in the ninth inning? I mean, how many times we talked about that punch line? Now, you know, you’re in a position where, okay, who are your best five? And what’s that going to look like? And you know, Ken, are these guys that can give you sub four era days and enough innings to keep your bullpen healthy?

Nestor Aparicio  22:57

Right, like enough innings when we talk about it. It’s

Luke Jones  23:00

changed. It’s changed, right? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It’s a different dynamic than it was well, your

Nestor Aparicio  23:06

bullpen more and your bullpen guys aren’t going to be Kevin Hickey coming in and throw in two pitches and like that’s not what this is. And the pitch count thing I haven’t even started with that with you but that’s anything it’s a firestorm in February always kind of concerns me a little bit and especially in a game where they’ve tried to change so many things so many times and have fallen short in so many ways with rules time. This is the this is their original sin right? Is trying to get the games moving along. In my lifetime they’ve never had a grip on this right.

Luke Jones  23:41

It’s changed a lot. I mean, what’s what’s wild about it and look, I haven’t watched a ton of spring training baseball and what’s interesting is the WBC as we’ve talked about, well, Baseball Classic. They’re playing with the 2022 MLB rules. So there is no pitch clock in the WBC. So that’s another interesting dynamic, especially for these pitchers, and even the hitters because I think what we found with some of the early returns are I think for the most part, most of the pitchers are okay with the pitch clock. I think where there has been some adjusting is a lot of these hitters, you know, the idea, the idea of taking a pitch and then you’re walking out of the box and doing a semicircle and adjusting your batting gloves and knocking the dirt out of your cleats and yeah, that’s a different. That’s a different dynamic.

Nestor Aparicio  24:29

Mike Hargrove. That’s what I Yeah. Oh, no,

Luke Jones  24:31

no question about it. But what’s interesting is and part of what the problem is, you mentioned like Hargrove and you say that with some affinity, right? You’re some fondness. The problem is recognizably baseball. No, well, the problem is, everyone became my car grow over time, and that’s where these games have become so slow. So, so what we’re seeing and again, I’m, I’m cautious not to draw too many conclusions here. But we have seen show Other games, we have seen 2025 30 minutes be shaved off the the average game time even looking back at Spring training last year compared to this spring. So, you know, I think I don’t think you know what the games I’ve watched, it hasn’t felt too rushed, which has been a good thing. I think, you know, even though the clock can be a little distracting from a standpoint of if they put it up on the score bug in the way that Nason did for their first telecast, which I’m not even saying that that’s a complaint, but you know, it’s different. You know, you’re not used to seeing a clock in Major League Baseball. But I think what you what we found a lot with people who’ve seen it a lot at the minor league level, and especially, this is where the Orioles have a little bit a little bit of an advantage, because so many of their pitchers are young, right, and they’re coming from the minor leagues here over the last year or two, and even some of their hitters. So they’re they, they’ve kind of grown up in this environment over the last couple years where this was introduced in minor league baseball. But I think for the most part, I don’t, I think everyone will get used to it. And yeah, there’ll be some violations early on. And we might even see a walk off when for some team that has a, you know, a pitch clock violation. We saw that training, and it was right. And it’ll be a big story at that point in time. But I think and what we found what what was found in minor league ball was early on, yeah, you found some more violations. I think it was, on average over two plus. And then I think, a couple months in, you were starting to see I think, on average, was about half of a violation per game. You know, that’s, that’s what you were seeing. So, you know, it’s, you know, there’ll be some awkwardness. And, look, I expect old school fans to bristle at some of these things. And I understand that to an extent. But I’ll also remind them that the game that you long for 40 years ago, Jover was not the game that was being played pre pitch. Well, it wasn’t the game being played pre pitch clock anyway, because it was just so darn slow. So, you know, is there a case where maybe we’ll have to find a happy medium? At some point, maybe they’ll have to tweak it. And we’ve seen, we saw this with all the, you know, the all the substances for the pitchers, right? We saw them adjust on the fly a couple years ago with that. So if they need to adjust it, if they need to tweak this a little bit, I think they’re, they have the ability to do that most likely. But I think if if we can, if everyone has an open mind about it, I think it’s something that could be good for the game doesn’t mean it’s gonna fix all their issues. But I think it can be good to pick up the pace a little bit. I think that’s good for everyone. And, you know, not even getting into the shift, which is now you know, it need to have two infielders on each side of second base and have to be in the dirt. So we’re not going to see those exaggerated shifts. So, you’re seeing it in the WBC right now. So we bid farewell to that after that. But I I like that we’re seeing some attempts to improve the game. Is everything going to hit? Is everything going to land the way they want it to? Probably not. But I at least, and I don’t do this often, because there isn’t much I applaud major league baseball for but I do it at least acknowledge some recognition of, hey, we can’t continue to have the game go the way that it’s going. It’s getting longer and slower. And there’s less action involved.

Nestor Aparicio  28:30

And the attention span of Americans is the question the other direction. Yes. Right. And look,

Luke Jones  28:34

that’s going to be a challenge regardless, because baseball is not going to become lacrosse, right? Baseball is not going to become ice hockey or basketball. Nor should it because it’s, you know, at the end of the day, it’s baseball, right? It’s intended to be a slower game. But how slow is too slow? Well, I think we’ve seen it become way too slow in recent years. So if you have a pitch clock to pick up the pace a little bit, keep a little more of a rhythm for these pitchers, which I think for the most part, I think the pitchers are going to like it, I think it’s a little more of a challenge for the hitters, but though adjust, and then we’ll see what it looks like. And ultimately, as I’ve said to you over and over for me, it was rarely about the type of game, it was rarely about that it was more the action within the game. So that’s going to be the big question. It’s great to pick up the pace. But if you’re going to continue to just have more strikeouts and more walks and all that. It’s not going to make, you know, move the needle quite as much but I’m still not

Nestor Aparicio  29:31

8

expecting any hunting or hitting and running. No, I’m not. And I’m not expecting so. I mean, there’s just things that the genies not going back in from Oh sure. How did you standpoint from a contract standpoint, from a way that managers manage and the way teams own and the way they want the game played the way they want pitchers arms to not fall off when they invest in them? The way they don’t want a book show Walter to ride Matt weeders like a rented mule, like all of these things. things right? That just go into the NBA having you know, I’m gonna take the day off, you know, load management or whatever, man, there’s some, the NBA, and I’ll hear it and I, you know, I covered the NBA. So I’m not a stranger to any of this stuff. I’ve been doing this a long time. If there was ever a load management issue, the baseball thing would Cal Ripken needed load management.

Luke Jones  30:24

Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, and you just mentioned it. It’s a reminder that all of these sports have changed over time. I mean, my goodness, those who long for the days of Johnny Unitas, I mean, the sport now in the NFL is not even recognizable compared to what it was that

Nestor Aparicio  30:41

last one to catch on to today, the arrows aren’t giving us spring training. Like we’re still dinosaurs here. But in New York just got like, like international players three years ago. So you know that here, we’re really under a rock. It’s Flintstones here, literally.

Luke Jones  30:58

Yeah, yeah. In certain ways. It absolutely is. Well, even talking about the analytics and all the technology that Elias and the current regime brought in that the cloud really wasn’t using prior to that. So but but the overall point I was making is, all of these sports have evolved, all the sports have changed. Sometimes it happens organically. And sometimes. Yes, it is real changes. We just celebrated to watching the 2000 ravens on the bullies of Baltimore, ESPN 30, for 30, my goodness, watch highlights of that team and think how many flags would be thrown today? It is a different game today. And yet the NFL is still the most popular sport in America by an extraordinary margin. And so yes, things are going to change. Nothing stays the same forever. And as much as I’d even

Nestor Aparicio  31:44

gamble on it. I don’t know if you heard that or not. You can gamble on football now.

Luke Jones  31:48

It’s a new thing. gamble on anything. Right, exactly.

Nestor Aparicio  31:52

how much things have changed? Wow. Sure.

Luke Jones  31:55

Absolutely. I think, you know, we we use that example of Tony Romo hosting the party, right, you know, the fantasy football party. And now you’re seeing every other ad, every other commercial during a football game, Rick Neuheisel

Nestor Aparicio  32:07

getting thrown out of sports for having a March Madness pool.

Luke Jones  32:11

Yeah, yeah. So things change, things evolve. And as much as I was someone who was anti having a clock in baseball, and I still am, at its core, you know that the beauty of baseball is that you can technically comply forever, right? I mean, there’s that possibility of a game going on forever. So you know, I don’t want that to change. But this is a change with the pitch clock that the early return to me has been encouraging. Spring Training, baseball is not the same as the regular season, which is not the same as postseason. So it will be interesting to see how that looks. And I will be interested to see if they do need to tweak things at some point, whether it’s in the middle of the season in emergency scenario that they didn’t think of, or is it a case where they tweak it next offseason. But if we do get quicker games, little little more action, the ship leading to more, we’ve seen more singles in grapefruit league games, and we’ve seen in regular season recently, you know, going back to last year, so great. I’m all for ways to make the game better. I know that it’s not always popular. I know. There’s we all fear change, right? I mean, we’re just that’s how we are. That’s how we are as human beings, we fear change. But I do think some of the rules and some of the early returns we’ve seen, well, it’s quirky, it’s weird and thinking about some of the step off rules. And you can only throw over the first base twice and all the things that we’re gonna, we’re all going to be learning as it goes on and reminding ourselves of some of the changes. I do think it has the potential to make the game better. And if we can do that, then that’s a good thing because I want baseball as a baseball fan, a lifelong baseball, fan, baseball, and pro wrestling really being the only things that I’ve truly loved my entire life from the time I was two or three years old, to the time where I’m almost 40 I want to see baseball continue to thrive and be healthy and succeed for a long time and for many generations to come. So if some of these rules can help on that front, even just a little bit than I think it’s worth it.

Nestor Aparicio  34:15

Well, the rock made it to the Oscars the other night. So wrestling’s all grown up and that that jacket he had on was was fabs. I listen, I gotta tell shout out to John maroon that when I get Cal Ripken on the next time and Cal and I have discussed the crabcakes several on several occasions trying to get together because I’ve bumped into him. I’m gonna ask him if he would have preferred that night and Paul takut to just have a base runner on second base in the 10th inning get the damn thing over with that makes sense.

Luke Jones  34:42

Yes, yes. And that’s what I still struggle with as far as the the ghost runner at second.

Nestor Aparicio  34:51

I can’t Yeah, that is the stuff we played wrong. Yeah, he’s his backyard was like off anything. If you hit the ball into the basket, you got to tell It runs stupid rules that I guess for me runner on second base is dumb. This college football Give me the ball on the 20 yard line. BuJo mad. I don’t like any of that stuff.

Luke Jones  35:12

No, I hear you. I hear you. And I guess for me,

Nestor Aparicio  35:15

I don’t like shootouts in soccer. But I’ve learned to accept them to some degree.

Luke Jones  35:20

I was I was accepting of the runner at second. Remember that was that was spawned by the pandemic year and I get it. That was a weird year, all of that. There are a lot of people that like it. Let’s be clear about that. And a lot of people who are baseball, people who like it,

Nestor Aparicio  35:35

you know, when you’re like when it’s 1048. At night, you realize the game will be over by 1115. And that you’re not going to have to call into work or 13th inning game with 1200 of your friends. I mean, dude, you’ve been down there for 100 of them. Right?

Luke Jones  35:51

Sure, I guess from and take the media out of it just fans because we were paid to be there. So I don’t want to make it about me. But I think with that scenario, and you know, in the regular season, is there a middle ground that you could wait until the 12th inning to do that, or the 11th inning to do that? Can we play a couple normal extra inning? Because people will say the alternative is okay, have ties after 12 innings? You have you have a tie? Which I’m totally anti that, you know, I don’t want to see ties in base let’s have a home run. So I don’t know. I mean, it’s

Nestor Aparicio  36:27

the base Exactly. Look here with throw the bat will go off the bat, you know, right.

Luke Jones  36:33

Right, right. So, so I know and look with me endorsing some of the rule changes for this year. I don’t love every rule. Like I struggle with the shift, you know, as banning the ship from the standpoint of, you know, the teams that were smart enough to track this to realize that it made more sense to do this. And let’s not pretend the shift was something new teams shifted against Ted Williams Way back when you know, when the World Series, famously, you know that the Cardinals shifted against him and the World Series. So it’s not like that was something brand new. It’s just it had become so normalized, right. And it becomes such a, it was baked into the fabric of the modern game. So I struggle with that. But at the same time, I also understand that, you know, the idea of a hot smash up the middle, used to be a hit, you know, had been a hit for 100 years in Major League Baseball and suddenly wasn’t anymore. I know, there are positives and negatives to these different rule changes, I get that. And there’s certain ones that I’m okay with, or other ones I don’t like quite as much. But I guess my best advice is keep an open mind. And I don’t mean that for you. I mean that for anyone who is reluctant about this, and we’ll see how it plays out. I do think the pitch clock and even talking to people that have broadcasted at the minor league level. They the overwhelming sense I’ve gotten is, you kind of forget about it after a while and you get used to it after a while and it does lead to a faster paced game in terms of not sitting there waiting baked in, it just gets baked in. Yeah, exactly. You get to the point where you kind of forget about the clock. And yeah, every once in a while there’ll be a violation, you know, they’ll have that and you hope it doesn’t happen at a time where it’s a walk off scenario.

Nestor Aparicio  38:15

These are young people, they’re pliable, they, these pigs, actually, sitters can get in the box umpires or get them in the box, it’ll be part of their routine, it should be part of the way they train and think about the game. I don’t you’re you’re saying to me like I’m going to push back. There’s a lot of I don’t I push back on baseball on trying to get better, and actually doing things that makes them better. I don’t have any issue with that. It my issue over the long course is they’ve completely screwed the franchise up here. They’ve screwed the franchises up in a lot of places. They fix them in some other places where there’s been some love and some watering and some care. This hasn’t been one of them. And while that’s happened, the game sort of disintegrated from an age standpoint. And this market with lacrosse specifically, and how rabid football is here that even with spring training, they can’t get the oxygen in a year when Lamar is Lamar. It’s just so troublesome. You know, for me over a lifetime with baseball. I cheer for them, not against them. You know what I mean? I like full ballparks. I know empty ballparks there’s no justification for anything I did with free the birds that makes me look smart. I looked plenty frickin smart 617 years later after free the birds to smart people. But but an empty Stadium was never the design of any of this and it never changed anything here and I guess that’s that’s the sad part baseball never do anything to commissioners never did anything. The owner now the creepy owner kids running around with the governor and he’s gonna get a city built like I and they don’t want him so all of that as a backdrop. Like the shift and pitch clock and getting the game’s over quicker. or they’re solving like, Angel complaints. They David at the designated International League fine. Like, you know, that always started in 72 when I was four years old, right? So all my life dumped the DH and all that. I mean, the World Baseball class, we began with that. I don’t know if they’re ever gonna get the Hall of Fame, right? or drugs or, you know whether Big Papi cheated and he’s in and Curt Schilling and I are very vital. They’re never going to figure that out. Right? Not in my lifetime. But like whether they can make the game good and get some people interested. And get your your nice interested in the game and maybe wanting to come and see Adley rutschman, who’s a three time MVP, and there’s been two parades by the time she’s 12 Maybe you’d want to do that. I like yeah, I I’m cheering for them always. But they almost can’t get out of their own way. In some cases. I don’t know that that’s been the case with these rule changes. I think they’re good. Look, I’m not a I’m not being an old guy.

Luke Jones  40:59

Yeah, and when I said that, as far as I was more speaking to the audience, and not us specifically, but the one thing you didn’t mention, you mentioned it in passing, but that baseball has to get right across the board TV, they have to get this Ramadan. You know, when you have the RSN model is falling apart before our eyes not even talking about masaje

Nestor Aparicio  41:20

Oh, they were doing was bragging about how they were gonna make on bam, they did that for 50 Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, kids. Luke’s your kid, oh, I got the mobile I got the app. I got the stats. I can gamble on it. I can, you know, oh, Kenny ball. I could I could gamble on every pitch. You know what I mean? Like, all of that here and do they can’t get they can’t give me Adley rutschman on a March day to get me lubricated to buy an orange plan. Like it’s they’re just horrible business people. But in this case, they’re horrible people that run this place, like, like, I’ve watched this, and I don’t know what it’s like in St. Louis, or Boston, adalah Kinos gone, or what the cubs are doing, or, you know, what, what Greg bater. They’ve hired in whatever franchise they have. But I was in Houston, and they’re excited. They’re right, even about college basketball this week. And then I go to Tampa, and it’s like, there’s no franchise there. So it really is sort of station to station and market the market to some degree. And I was told and I think you might have been at the at the table in Boston for a brunch when you were a younger man, by a major executive who said there are silos in the game. And they all go up in different towers. And nobody talks to anybody. And this RSM thing is bad. I mean, it’s almost like all of them are as bad as John Angelos was at managing what was a cash cow here for 15 years, they should have been drinking hundreds of millions of dollars off the top of that.

Luke Jones  42:52

Well, it just comes down to I mean, cable and satellite is going away, right? I mean, it’s direct TV, look at direct TVs, numbers, look at different cables. I mean, all of them are dropping, right. It’s all going to streaming so it’s a matter of they have not reacted quickly enough to that. And I don’t mean the Orioles I mean Major League Baseball as an entity and the 30 clubs individually. So but everything about this comes back to access, right? You know, whether we’re talking about spring training games, whether we’re talking about people that are blacked out, and if they if they don’t have one specific way of getting the games on cable or satellite and they’re out of luck in their market and they’re blacked out. I mean, can

Nestor Aparicio  43:33

you imagine my 98 year old mother being 104 right now and being alive and trying to find the game like literally like she would call me every night? Is it all Masson? One is a namaste just confused by that, right? Like just trying? I don’t really know where, where and when.

Luke Jones  43:49

See, see the bigger concern there is not, you know, not someone’s mother, who’s advanced age or not you or even me as someone who’s now in my late 30s. It’s the 20 year old who you know, the 22 year old who’s right out of college, and they’re not getting subscribing to direct TV and they’re streaming Hulu. You know, take your pick Netflix, whatever. And they have no way of accessing Mac Masson. That way, and you know what they’re saying, all right. And then they’re either not watching the games at all, or they’re trying to get it pirated on the internet. Either way, it’s not healthy for the long term viability of your franchise of your sport, when people are restricted to that degree and being able to watch the product. And look this isn’t about making it free. But make it available, you know, have a streaming package Allah carte, which is inevitably what all these teams are gonna have to do. It’s just gonna be a matter of how quickly do you do it and do you do it in a way that makes they’re

Nestor Aparicio  44:53

gonna have to get money from every fan directly, instead of stealing it from my mother’s cable bill and All right, boy, oh boy, oh boy, do they not have a plan for the depth of that, that this 22 year old kid is going to give them 12 bucks a month to watch games on TV as like a season ticket without them getting a ticket to go down to the ballpark and a beer thrown in, they’re gonna have to, they’re gonna need people way smarter than TJ Bryan to figure out how to put this together. Look with me and or dude, I’ll let you finish up on on the TV thing, because you’re even in Pennsylvania, you know, I mean, like, you’re in a different place. I’m in Baltimore County, the game, if I got k by EI, I still can click away and get it in the old guy way and find it, not spring training. But I am confident that I’m gonna have 158 games themed in here if I want them this year, as long as I’m a cable subscriber. And that’s kind of what they’re counting on. Right?

Luke Jones  45:47

Yeah. And that’s been the model for the longest time for Major League Baseball, but also for the NBA and the NHL. And they’re dealing with the same thing, trying to figure this thing out. Now, maybe their streaming models are more viable. I know, for example, you can you can stream, NBA League pass and for a specific team, but there’s still the in market out of market blackout type scenarios that you have to jump through hoops, it comes down to a very simple question. If I want to watch, can I watch it? How much will it cost? How easy is it to access it? And you know, if those questions are complicated, or you don’t have good answers for those question, questions, those people aren’t watching. And then even more importantly, their kids aren’t watching. So again, the movie

Nestor Aparicio  46:34

industry, I don’t have any problem with that I know where to find a movie, right? I know where to find things, right? If I want Springsteen, I know where to find him. I want the oil. I mean, I’ve wanted the three weeks I can’t find it. But well,

Luke Jones  46:47

and again, you’re I’m still talking in a big picture sense. And look, I criticize the Orioles for years about maths and spring training games. But spring training still only has so much of an audience. But the problem is you get to the regular season, and people want to watch and they don’t have a way to easily do it. That’s a problem. That’s when people tune out forever. There are lots of over there lots of people who don’t pay attention to spring training in the same way that lots of Ravens fans don’t pay attention to fake football in August. I mean, yeah, so that’s, that’s that’s an issue. Don’t get me wrong, not showing your Spring Games. That’s an issue. There’s no question. But in the big picture sense, knowing where this is going knowing that there are already RSN ‘s that are on the verge of closing up shop that are even in worse shape than acid right now, just in terms of what is going to happen in 2023. They’ve got to get this figured it out figured out because it’s not going back to the way it was. And to your point, the ala carte subscription model, they’re all going to be competing with each other not having all everyone that subscribed to direct TV is just going to give you you know, x whatever the amount is per month now you know, that’s gonna that’s going away, you know that that’s going away much sooner rather than later. So they’re gonna have to figure it out if they want to stay viable and stay healthy for the long run.

Nestor Aparicio  48:04

And they’re gonna have to get the young people used to paying for it. And the old people me 10 years from now, re interested in paying for it. Luke Jones is complicated. It’s baseball. It’s March Madness. It’s not nearly as complicated as Lamar Jackson apparently getting signed by nflt. So Lucas got his fingers on the button. It’s all brought to you by our friends at Coons, Baltimore Ford, if you’re on the WNS T tech service, you’ll get it first. I’m wearing my truck sitting here by the way, look, that’s a pill not a peanut. George explain that. To me. It looks like Mr. Peanut, but it’s actually a pill drug city, Dundalk, Maryland. Go check out our Calvin state of conversations they’ll make you feel good. They made me feel good as well. All brought to you by the Maryland lottery in conjunction with our friends. I got my floppy hat. I don’t need that beer floppy how to get a window nation floppy hat. We are wn SDA and 1570, Towson Baltimore. We never stopped talking baseball and Baltimore positive

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