The Baltimore Physical: Nose to Toes

The Orioles scooped up a couple more bargains before Spring Training begins in earnest next week. Right handed starter Yovani Gallardo and outfielder Dexter Fowler both agreed to multiyear deals in Baltimore.

But not before the O’s put them through the rigors of their famous fitness test.

Many a would-be Oriole has succombed to The Physical over the years. The team examines every MRI, every scan, every X-ray it can get its hands on, desperately searching for scratches, dents and dings. After negotiations but before they offer a free agent a contract, the Orioles make damn sure they’re not getting damaged goods.

Initially, Gallardo agreed to a three-year, $33 million deal. But the O’s got spooked by something they saw in his shoulder and immediately made a different offer, this time for two years, $22 million and a club option and buyout.

This is the same physical exam that scrapped a deal with Grant Balfour three seasons ago. And Tyler Colvin and Xavier Hernandez and Aaron Sele.

It reminds me of the scene from the old Steve Martin movie, The Man With Two Brains. Martin’s character is driving and gets pulled over by a German policeman who suspects Martin has been drinking. The cop orders Martin out of the car and asks him to walk the white line. When Martin complies, Herr Policeman orders him to turn around and walk back. “On your hands!” Using an obvious stunt double, upends himself and walks the white line on his hands. “On ONE hand!” the cop shouts. Martin’s character deftly complies, then rights himself to his feet, looking pleased.

Still not satisfied, the German cop tosses Martin three oranges and demands that he juggle them, while tap dancing and singing something called the “catalina lupenschteiner wallenbeiner song.” Martin sighs. “Goddamn! Your drunk tests are hard!”

Fowler is undergoing The Physicial in the next day or so, getting his tires kicked and melons squeezed. It remains to be see whether his offer from the O’s will stand, post-exam.

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