Shop Fantasy Central Golf Guide Email Travel Subscribe SI About Us 2001 MLB Spring Training
  Spring Training Home
More MLB News
• Cactus
• Grapefruit
• Day-by-Day
• Team-by-Team
Camp Sites
• Cactus
• Grapefruit
40-man Rosters
• AL | NL
SI's Baseball Preview 2001
Ozzie's Spring Rankings

 Sportsman of the Year
 Heisman Trophy
 Swimsuit 2001

 Fantasy Central
 Inside Game
 Video Plus
 Your Turn
 Message Boards
 Email Newsletters
 Golf Guide
 Cities GROUP
 Sports Illustrated
 Life of Reilly
 SI Women
 SI for Kids
 Press Room
 TBS/TNT Sports
 CNN Languages

 SI Customer Service
 SI Media Kits
 Get into College
 Sports Memorabilia

Bird watching

Orioles veterans familiar with rites of spring

Click here for more on this story
Posted: Tuesday February 20, 2001 12:43 PM
Updated: Tuesday February 20, 2001 12:48 PM


Throughout spring training, will feature regular dispatches from Sports Illustrated staffers assigned to scout camps in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues.

By Jeff Pearlman, Sports Illustrated

TEAM: Baltimore Orioles

SITE: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

WEATHER: Gray skies and scattered showers, low 70s

PLAYER I SAW WHOM I REALLY LIKED: Jerry Hairston. Baltimore's new second baseman is everything the slumbering Orioles have lacked for the past three years: He's young (24), he's a legit prospect and (gasp!) he's thrilled to be here. Unlike a couple of his veteran teammates, who dive for cover when reporters come around, Hairston is honest and eager. He's like a little kid trapped at an AARP convention.


Today was physical day at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, which means lots of shots. Shots, more shots and body-fat tests. When a doctor clamped his tummy for a fat check, Albert Belle giggled. Seriously, he giggled. No, really. He giggled. Hee hee.

Delino DeShields, who is moving from second base to the outfield this season, caught much grief for the thick black worm that that has grown under his nose. As teammates walked by, they reached to give it a quick stroke (Scott Erickson, was named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People In The World for the year 2000, will likely relinquish his title thanks to a new bushy goatee that consumes a good portion of his face). Like DeShields, Cal Ripken Jr. made his first appearance of the spring, roaming the clubhouse, shaking the hand of new teammate David Segui, patting Brook Fordyce on the shoulder. For five minutes, he was followed around by a TV camera which caught some of the most useless footage this side of Chips '99. Brady Anderson, entering his 14th season with the O's, reflected on the motions that are spring training: "I was telling someone it's like Groundhog Day," he said. "Every spring, you have the same rituals, the same activities, the same..."

Anderson paused for a moment, thoughtful-like. "But you know," he said. "They say it's not just like that in baseball. It's everybody's life."

Journalist's perspective: True, that.

The thing about Fort Lauderdale: it sorta stinks. The stadium is located in the middle of nowhere (the nearest teams are the Expos and Cardinals, located 90 minutes up the road in Jupiter). Although I could wax poetic about coming here as a boy in the early 1980s to watch the Yankees with Grandma and Grandpa Pearlman, that was 20 years ago. It's an old stadium with no perks.

One sad note. Outside the door of the team's offices, there's a poster promoting "Joe DiMaggio Legends Game," a charity event that took place on Feb. 10 at the stadium. A ton of players -- from Whitey Ford to Rick Cerone, from Al Hrabosky to Paul Blair -- were listed. The first name: Tommie Agee, who died in January.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Jeff Pearlman will check in periodically with reports from his tour of spring camps.

Related information
Si's Tom Verducci: Burning questions's Orioles spring training preview
More postcards from spring training
Visit Multimedia Central for the latest audio and video
Search our site Watch CNN/SI 24 hours a day
Sports Illustrated and CNN have combined to form a 24 hour sports news and information channel. To receive CNN/SI at your home call your cable operator or DirecTV.

CNNSI Copyright © 2001
CNN/Sports Illustrated
An AOL Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.