By Mark Viviano

SARASOTA, Fla. (WJZ) — Three weeks from Friday, it will be Opening Day.

The Birds were a surprise team in the playoffs last year, and as Mark Viviano reports, if they are to return, they will need to prove a lot of people wrong.

It’s sunshine and high hopes in Sarasota for the Orioles. The team believes they’ll be a playoff contender, just like they were a year ago, despite what the experts say.

You know the experts: the analysts, the number crunchers who use stats and gut instincts to predict which teams will prevail over 162 games.

Last year, the O’s were picked last and they won 93 games. This year, the prevailing pick is another last place finish for Baltimore.

“So everything’s kind of the same this year, everyone has us being dead last and we have basically the same team we had last year with more experience. We just let it go in one ear and out the other,” said Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy.

“A lot of people said we had no chance last year, but you can’t rule anybody out. This is professional baseball, this is the highest level it gets and on any given day anybody can win,” said O’s outfielder Nick Markakis.

“They can think what they want to think. That’s part of it, and they thought the same way last year. It’s hard to get lucky 162 games out of the season,” said pitcher Chris Tillman.

“There’s going to be doubters, no matter whether you’re picked first or last, there’s always going to be doubters. The big thing is, we know what we can do in this clubhouse and we’re going to win games in the clubhouse and on the field,” said Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.

The Orioles spoke of the power of positive thinking and positive things happened. This year it’s the same approach, as the Orioles hope for the same result–if not better.

The Orioles actually open the 2013 season on the road in Tampa before their home opener April 5.


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