Allegany Communications Sports

Barring a last-minute transaction, there will be one rookie on the Baltimore Orioles Opening Day roster, but to the angst and outrage of a significant portion of the Orioles fanbase, that rookie will not be the rookie that all Orioles fans are excited to soon see in Baltimore. Which they will, but just not on Thursday.

Infielder Jackson Holliday, the No. 1 prospect in baseball didn’t make the cut last Friday and will begin this season at Triple A Norfolk, where he concluded last season’s highly successful whirlwind through every level of the vaunted Orioles farm system.

The left-handed hitting Holliday, who hit over .300 this spring while learning a new position at second base, did everything he was asked to do and more to make the big-league club, but will instead begin the year at Triple A where general manager Mike Elias said he wants him to gain more experience at second base,as well as see more left-handed pitching, with Elias pointing out that Holliday has just 18 games of Triple A experience.

Yeah, that’s the reason, sure. But, boo-hoo! He’ll be just fine.Just watch.

Holliday, though, will not be the only highly-rated prospect in Norfolk, as outfielders Kyle Stowers and Heston Kjerstad and infielders Coby Mayo and Connor Norby were also sent back to Triple A, despite successful spring camps, with Stowers being amongst the Grapefruit League home-run leaders.

They were likely tough decisions for the Orioles front office to make, but maybe not so much, as we suggested last week. Trades will still be made, up there and down here, because Elias has proven himself to be a big-picture thinker in his time in Baltimore and emphasized last week in announcing these decisions that the idea is for Holliday, Stowers, Kjerstad, Mayo and Norby to play and get regular at-bats and reps so that when they are recalled to to the big leagues, and all of them will be at some point, some sooner than others, it will be to step right into the lineup to be counted on to produce at the big-league level.

The rookie who did make the big club is outfielder Colton Cowser, who also had a big camp this spring, and who can play all three outfield positions. Also seemingly a good bet to make the big club is right-handed hitting infielder Tyler Nevin, which has some Orioles baffled that he would make the team over Holliday and Stowers, which, in fact, is not the case at all.

Nevin made the team because the Orioles need a bench guy and, as we just pointed out, Holliday and Stowers need regular at-bats. It’s really not complicated, so it shouldn’t be complicated to understand.

It is, however, difficult for some, who have even gone so far to show how not used they are to following a contending team after all of these years, by threatening not to go Opening Day on Thursday.

Fine then, don’t go. Cheat yourselves. There will just be more Natty Boh for the rest of us.

That’s right, you read that correctly, as the Orioles announced Monday that National Bohemian beer will return to Oriole Park this season for the first time in eight years when a feud between the ballclub and Pabst, the beer’s parent company (now Coors), led to the Orioles pulling it from the menu six games into the 2016 season.

Baltimore has always loved National Boh, which I understood when the beer was brewed in Baltimore, which it hasn’t been since 1996, and when the late Jerry Hoffberger, then the president of the National Brewing Company, was the owner of the Orioles from 1954 until 1979.

I understood it because Boh was the only beer you could buy at Memorial Stadium until National Premium (which I still like to this day) was made available in the late 1970s. Granted, I was pretty young then, but even with the Baltimore and Orioles connections, I was never able to acquire a taste for National Boh, and I particularly have had no taste for it since the brewing is no longer done in Baltimore.

But, they still love it in Baltimore, so I guess that’s all that matters.

Naturally the idea of National Boh will always carry a fond spot in the hearts of all Baltimoreans because for so long it was synonymous with the Orioles and because of the wonderful advertising campaigns, “From the Land of Pleasant Living” and “The Chesapeake Bay Way of Living,” but, personally, I have to be really thirsty to drink it – I mean Sahara Desert thirsty because I just don’t think it tastes very good.

Then again, what do I know? But since Boh no longer has the monopoly on beer selection at the ballpark, I’m sure I’ll find something to get me through nine innings.

In the meantime, if Jackson Holliday won’t be there for the fans to enjoy (by the way, there will still be a pretty good team there), at least the Natty Boh will be there.

Oh, baby! Just think of it: Only two days until Opening Day!

As the great Chuck Thompson would say, “Ain’t the beer cold!”

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT