BY DILLON ATKINSON
Even when it was the beginning of the 2015 season, and the Orioles lost Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, and Andrew Miller to free agency, and replaced them with Travis Snider, I was still beyond excited for the season to get underway.
Here are 20 reasons why I am beyond pumped for 2016 season for the Baltimore Orioles. Some of these mainly just apply to me, but for most of them, you can enjoy them with me.
It's actually not crazy to think that five Orioles could hit 30+ long balls this season. When you have Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, and Pedro Alvarez in the same lineup, the ball will be flying everywhere. Also worth mentioning, Jonathan Schoop has pop as well. 30 long balls isn't too ridiculous for the young second baseman.
19.) Zach Britton's Sinker
I mean, come on. It's one of the filthiest pitches in baseball. How do you make a pitch drop off the table like a screwball, yet still throw it up to 98 mph? It's just not fair.
18.) Dylan Bundy Sighting
I'm not getting my hopes up, but the thought of Bundy finally being healthy is a great thought. On top of that, the thought of Bundy being a weapon out of the bullpen is an even better thought.
17.) #AintTheBeerCold / #WinColumn
The two best hashtags on Twitter from April through October.
16.) Baltimore Sports Report Postgame Live
I was fortunate to guest on BSR Postgame Live a couple times in 2015, alongside Jake English and Scott Magness of Bird's Eye View. Hopefully I get a chance to hop on there with those fellas a couple more times in 2016.
15.) The Blog-O's-phere
Outside of Orioles Uncensored, there are many great blogs and podcasts out there that I enjoy reading and listening to. Great work throughout the O's season is being produced by not only us, but also Bird's Eye View, Eutaw Street Report, Baltimore Sports Report, Section 336, Camden Depot, Roar From 34, and Camden Chat, among others (sorry if I missed you).
14.) Yo-Yo-Less Kevin Gausman
Yes, he's hurt and won't be available for Opening Day. But with hoping he'll be good to go by no later than mid-April, it's a great feeling that it's almost impossible for the Orioles to jerk him around between the rotation, the bullpen, and Triple-A Norfolk.
13.) The Bullpen
Zach Britton and Darren O'Day hold up the backend pretty well already. But the continuing improvement from Brad Brach, emergence of Mychal Givens, and the wild card in Dylan Bundy make the potential of this bullpen very, very amazing.
Yes — more home runs.
11.) Infield Defense on Fleek
Yes, I'm biased. But can you think of a better defensive four in the infield than Manny Machado, J.J. Hardy, Jonathan Schoop, and Chris Davis? No? Me neither. Web gems all day.
10.) Date Night
If you and your significant other are anything like my girlfriend Jessica and myself, you don't really do much on the weekends during the baseball offseason. However, when the Orioles are in town, date nights at Camden Yards are a must. Always a fun time. You'll see Jessica and me at The Yard quite a bit this summer.
9.) Somebody That's A Nobody Will Be A Somebody
Who's going to be the 2014 Steve Pearce? Or the 2012 Nate McLouth? Somebody in the Orioles' organization will likely come out of nowhere and produce, while nobody is expecting Jack from them. Could it be Nolan Reimold? Joey Rickard? Christian Walker? L.J. Hoes? Xavier Avery? Dariel Alvarez? Vance Worley? Zach Phillips? The list of names who fans have set the bar very low for will go on forever. But there's a chance that one of them just comes out of nowhere and produces.
8.) Best Handshake from the Best Friends
You can't help but smile when you see Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado together.
7.) Yelling "O" During The National Anthem
We're from Baltimore, and we yell "O" during the National Anthem. If you don't like it, oh well :-)
6.) Contributing For www.MASNSports.com
For the 2016 Orioles' season, I am excited to announce that will be one of five weekly guest bloggers for MASNSports. Andrew Stetka of Eutaw Street Report is on Mondays, Ryan Romano of Camden Depot on Tuesdays, I will be on Wednesdays, Zach Wilt of Baltimore Sports Report will handle Thursdays, and Matthew Taylor from Roar From 34 will round us out on Fridays. I'd greatly appreciate if you not only check out my work there this season, but also check out the other four talented writers' work as well.
Yes...More and more and more dingers.
4.) Manny Machado
He slashed .286/.359/.502 with 35 homers, 134 wRC+, and fantastic defense in 2015, his age-22 season. Yeah, we can only imagine what he can do in his age-23 season. Machado is a superstar at age-23 and we can only wonder what else he can do to get better.
3.) Oriole Park at Camden Yards
The most beautiful park in all of baseball. If you're not an Orioles fan, you may not agree with me. But chances are, you probably have OPACY in your top five. So what can you do at OPACY? BBB of course (Beer, Boog's, and Baseball). Oriole Park has such a fantastic atmosphere, you can't go wrong with a night at The Yard. Simply amazing. If you're an Orioles fan, you know that every time you step foot in the gate at Camden Yards, your first thought is, "I'm home."
2.) Covering Our First Orioles Season at Charm City Sports Network
As many of you know, especially since you're reading this article, we have recently launched Charm City Sports Network, and I'm excited for our first season covering the birds under this new format. We have an excellent staff of writers, podcasters, and editors to bring some of the best in-season Orioles' content to your computer/mobile device.
1.) Any Orioles Baseball is Better Than No Orioles Baseball
Even if they're losing -- a losing Orioles season is better than no Orioles season. I'd much rather the O's win, of course. But knowing the O's are playing baseball at The Yard is such a wonderful feeling either way.
What are you most excited for this upcoming season? Comment below, or tweet me at @DAtkinsonOU.