There's nothing more depressing than looking at a crusty seven-layer dip moments after the Super Bowl is over and realizing that it's been out since noon. In brazen disregard for your own health, you take one last bite, scrape the remaining cheese off the dish, throw half-empty beer bottles in the garage recycling can and then head to bed.
The football season is officially over. Admit it; your heart breaks a little bit. It happens every Super Bowl Sunday sometime between game's end and midnight.
Then, you wake up. It's Monday. That's even more depressing, but you do the math and realize that in less than two weeks, pitchers and catchers report. The words alone help make the second week in February somehow bearable.
This post-Super Bowl Monday starts off with the news that the Orioles' one starter who you can actually pencil into the rotation has been traded to Colorado for starter Jason Hammel and reliever Matt Lindstrom.
Can anyone remember another year where there were so many jobs to be won in the pitching department?
With so many starting pitching candidates, trying to guess who might end up in the bullpen is impossible. We know players like Hammel, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Wei-Yin Chen, Tommy Hunter, and Brian Matusz are starters. Who ends up in the rotation is yet to be seen.
Better yet, who leads the O's starting staff now? Do the O's have an ace? Right now, based on 2011 performances, the answer is no.
There are certain players who are definite relievers, like the newly acquired Lindstrom, along with Kevin Gregg, Jim Johnson, Darren O'Day, and Pedro Strop.
Almost everyone else has the potential to be a fifth starter/bullpen arm like Brad Bergesen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Alfredo Simon, and Jason Berken, to name a few.
Going into spring training there are no set roles. Many believe Jim Johnson is the favorite to be the Orioles' closer, but what happens if Kevin Gregg is lights out in Florida? It would be a good problem to have heading north. We know Johnson can be just as valuable as an eighth-inning set up man.
There are some big question marks, like how will Wada be used? Will O'Day bounce back from an injury-plagued 2011 with the Rangers? Can Gregg get back to living on the black instead of completely outside the strike zone? Who will be an effective situational lefty?
I could sit here and act like I know what Wada throws, but I've never been to Japan and the reality is nobody in the media has seen him throw yet, so he'll remain a mystery.
I spoke to some sources within the Rangers organization who felt O'Day's competitive nature will help him bounce back from a brutal 2011 season where elbow issues caused him to lose velocity and crispness on his secondary pitches. Once scout told me his command was average to below-average in 2011. The fear is submarine pitchers have a two-to-three-year shelf life.
Still, those who know O'Day say he's a hard worker who had a lot of time to rest that elbow last year. He was a big part of the Rangers' 2010 season and he's been to a World Series. It's good to have winners around the clubhouse. O'Day could bounce back and be a nice piece as a specialty role in the pen.
My concern with the Orioles' arms this year is so much is riding on whether or not a handful of pitchers can have "bounce back" seasons. That is a gamble. The baseball gods might favor the O's and we see pitchers like Matusz, Gregg, O'Day and even Britton have big years. Or they could perform like they did in 2011.
Could we say the O's are starting the 2011 MLB season the same way the Patriots ended their NFL season - with a big Hail Mary in the pitching department?