The Scene in Sarasota: Legends Park

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Cal and J.J. Hardy (Spring Training 2014)

March 17, 2014

It's one of my favorite Spring Training images thus far, Cal Ripken Jr. throwing out a ceremonial first pitch to J.J. Hardy. Sure, Cal was on hand to sell copies of his latest children's book, and he did well at that. Neverthless, I'm a softie when it comes to Orioles legends, and, when appropriate, I like to see them paired up with current players.

Hardy is the Birds' first back-to-back gold glover since Ripken did it in 1991 and 1992. The guy they call "Textbook" in O's camp plays a similar style as Ripken, setting himself up to be in the right place at the right time.

"He does it without a lot of fanfare," Ripken said. "He does it consistently. He makes all of the plays and is in the right spot all the time. And it doesn't going to go unnoticed to me."

I'd love to see more of these pairings, an extension of the statue unveilings and related celebrations from two seasons ago. Celebrate the team's history while you can.

It's sadly too late for a Paul Blair - Adam Jones combination, though the Gold Glove connection would work there, too.

How about a pairing of lefty sluggers: Chris Davis and Jim Gentile?

There are many fun possibilities.

Here are more Sarasota photos from the past week, courtesy of Norm Schimmel.

Sarasota 2014: Chris Davis vs Boston

Sarasota 2014: Chris Tillman

Sarasota 2014: Nelson Cruz

Sarasota 2014: Bird on the Dugout

Sarasota 2014: Versus Boston

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Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2014/03/16/5049926/orioles-hardy-makes-all-the-plays.html#storylink=cpy

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