SARASOTA, Fla. (WJZ)—We are less than four weeks from Opening Day, and Orioles excitement is starting to build.

Sports Director Mark Viviano is with the team at spring training, and he reports that expectations are running high for both the players and fans.

The Orioles team that is preparing in Sarasota, Fla. is mostly the same roster of guys from 2012. What’s different is their resume. They come to spring training as a playoff team for the first time in 15 years.

And success leads to new, higher expectations. For the first time in a long time, the Orioles are considered a contender.

“When we go out on the field now we have a little bit of a bullseye on our chest,” said Brian Roberts, Orioles second baseman.  “We knocked some teams out last time that are used to being above us, so it’s great. I think the guys are really enthusiastic. There’s a lot of energy. And there’s also that bitter taste in your mouth from walking off the field and not being the last team to win a game.”

The players are excited to show that last season was no fluke, and fans who’ve made the trip to Sarasota come with higher expectations.

“We expect them to be back in the playoffs again this year,” said Myron Wickham, of Baltimore.  “We’re not going to accept anything less than a playoff berth.”

“I’m excited, and I think they can definitely stand given the fact that the Yankees and the Red Sox made a ton of improvements in my eyes. I think we have a real chance, so it’s pretty cool,” said Andrew Craig, of Catonsville.

“We’ve been going to the games for years, so finally we get to root for a winning team instead of just getting back with the losing,” said Carlin Love, of Cumberland.

“We’re all aware that everybody in Baltimore is pretty excited for us to get up north and start the season,” said Jake Arrieta, Orioles pitcher. “We couldn’t be more excited. We bust our tails down here to prepare for April through October.  It makes it all worthwhile knowing that we have such a good fan base waiting for us in Baltimore.”

The O’s had success last season despite injuries to Roberts, Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold. All are working this spring, looking forward to a full, healthy season ahead.


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