What’s that smell? It’s baseball.

Gameday at the Grove

Let it waft into your nostrils. The smell of freshly cut grass, broken-in leather, dirt, pine tar and sunflower seed spittle.

As of today, baseball begins in 2013.

Pitchers and catchers reported to big-league camp today in sunny, warm Florida and Arizona. It’s a sunny, crisp 46 degrees in Frederick.

In less than 53 days, the Keys open their season at Harry Grove Stadium against Salem. (A countdown to the 2013 Keys baseball season is here.) So, let’s get caught up on some off-season happenings with the Keys.

*The Orioles announced Frederick’s coaching staff for 2013 last month. Orlando Gomez, the Keys’ all-time winningest manager, will not be returning for his fourth season.  He’s headed down to Florida to lead the O’s rookie-ball Gulf Coast League team. Stepping into his shoes in Frederick is Ryan Minor, former Oriole and Delmarva Shorebirds manager. Minor managed low-A Delmarva in 2010, ’11 and ’12. He’ll be joined by pitching coach Kennie Steenstra, who held the same position in Frederick in 2009, and hitting coach Torre Tyson, who’s new to the O’s system.

*The full release on the Keys’ 2013 staff can be found on the Keys’ website.

*The Frederick News-Post’s Greg Swatek talked to Minor, who famously replaced Cal Ripken in the lineup when he ended his consecutive games streak, after he was announced as Keys manager. Read his story on the FNP’s website.

*The Orioles Caravan came to Frederick in January. Swatek was there for that event, too. Read his story from the event here. He also gave his take on the bigger-than-expected turnout on a rainy winter day on his FNP blog.  An excerpt from that post:

It wasn’t a horrible day by January weather standards. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t without misery (rainy, cold, getting dark). Yet there were hundreds of people in line, waiting to get inside the recreation center almost an hour before the doors opened for an Orioles’ Caravan/FanFest event in Frederick.

Read the whole thing on his blog.

*Our 40-man countdown of prospective Keys for the 2013 season has begun. I’ve penned short bios of the first five, which are in no particular order. Check out The Frederick 40 Countdown: Part I. Seven more installments to come, typically on Thursday afternoons.

*Speaking of Thursdays, here is last week’s Keys newsletter. Get on the newsletter email list by signing up online.

*In case you haven’t heard, 2013 will be the Keys 25th anniversary season. In honor of the silver anniversary, we’ll be posting Keys history-related items in this space all season long.

*2012 Keys Brenden Webb and Allan de San Miguel and potential 2013 Key Michael Ohlman just played in the Australian Baseball League Championship Series. But we’ll get into that and a few other things later this week.

Shake your Keys.

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