Covering the Orioles in Sarasota; what’s not to like?

Dubroff at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

Rich Dubroff has been in Sarasota, FL, since mid-February, covering the Baltimore Orioles spring training games and posting Orioles news stories every day on as the team gears up for regular season play. I spoke with him in Sarasota on March 4 (prior to the Orioles loss to the Minnesota Twins).

Dubroff, who lives in the 100 block of West Lafayette Avenue, began writing for the website, where he is the lead Orioles writer, in July 2018, when he covered the 2018 All Star Game in Washington, D.C. That July, the Orioles launched their rebuild by trading star player Manny Machado. “I came at a really interesting time and had a lot of years of losing to watch. Now the rebuild is paying off and I hope to have many more years of watching the team win!”

The excitement about the Orioles is contagious. The baseball website had over 4 million page views in 2023. It covers the team and its games, minor league affiliates, and the Baltimore-area high school and college baseball scene. “I love what I do,” said Dubroff.

What he is seeing in spring training is a “really, really deep team, with really good players in their young prime, and a group of really good players that are coming along”. What he finds interesting and fun about spring training is being able to see the young players in the late innings of the games. “These are the players who will be playing in the regular season in the next year of two, so it is a great opportunity to watch them develop.” He added, “The Orioles have a great farm system. I think this is the deepest team I’ve seen since I came to Baltimore in 1980, including the team that won the World Series in 1983.”

In his view, two of the most interesting young players are Jackson Holliday and Colton Cowser. “Holliday is such a great prospect, and while he might not be on the roster on opening day, he will join soon after. Cowser, who debuted last year, has been playing very, very well so far in spring training, and may make the team for opening day. The Orioles are such a young team and have so much talent. So many great players – most notably Gunner Henderson and Adley Rutschman; they made their debuts just in the last couple of years.

“The team is so talented. Jorge Mateo is playing in Center Field to heighten his versatility. Holliday is learning to play second base. Henderson can play shortstop or third base. Jordan Westburg is playing second base and third base. It really helps to have these guys be able to play several positions. This is a great time to be an Orioles fan!”

Dubroff said that the starting pitching staff looks strong. “Clearly Kyle Bradish and John Means won’t make the beginning of the season, but it’s likely that Means will return first. We still have strong starters with Dean Kremer, Tyler Wells, Corbin Burnes (announced as the starting pitcher for the March 28 season opener), Cole Irvin, and Grayson Rodriguez. And we have so many relievers with big league experience that it is hard to know who will make the roster. We should be in good shape.”

Not Angelos: fearless reporter Sallye Perrin with O’s new owner Rubenstein.

He said he has not met new owner David Rubenstein, but Rubenstein has been attending spring training games. “Usually, new owners come in when the team is not doing well. Here ownership is changing hands and the team is doing great. I am hopeful that maybe Rubenstein will spend a little more money to extend the contracts of young talent like Holliday, Rutschman and Henderson. That would be very popular with the fans.”

Rich Dubroff moved to Baltimore in 1980 to take a job on “Wall Street Week” on Maryland Public Television, where he later became producer. He lived for 7 years on Bolton Street and, after his marriage, he and wife Susan bought the house on Lafayette. He began to cover sports on the side for news outlets in the 1990’s. He began covering the Orioles full time for the Comcast Sports web page on the last day of the Orioles’ 2011 season and moved to Baltimore in 1918. While primarily covering the Orioles, he has also helped with coverage of the NFL Ravens and the NBA Wizards. He loves to talk sports; if you see him in the neighborhood, stop for a chat!

–Sallye Perrin