The Baltimore Orioles hadn't had a complete game in spring training for at least nine years, and now they've had two in a little more than 24 hours.
A day after Scott McGregor went the distance with a six-hitter against Atlanta, Mike Boddicker topped him, pitching a five-hitter in a 7-0 victory over the New York Yankees at Miami Stadium.
Three days earlier, Mike Flanagan had thrown eight shutout innings against the Yankees, and this afternoon at the Orioles' minor-league camp, Ken Dixon went 8 2/3.
What once was a bad spring training formally became a good one today, and in the manager's office, there was something resembling bedlam. Earl Weaver held a cigarette in one hand, a beer in the other and told stories, made predictions and cackled a lot.
"You guys just didn't understand what we were trying to accomplish when we were giving up all those runs, did you?" Weaver asked no one in particular.
He pointed toward Ken Rowe and said: "Boys, you're seeing the making of the next great pitching coach."
He pointed toward the clubhouse and said: "We're back to where we were in the good old days, back with Dave McNally and Mike Cuellar and Jim Palmer."
He stopped -- "I mean in number of innings and pitches thrown during spring training. George Bamberger [former pitching coach] believed you had to pitch more than 30 innings to have a good spring training. How many have they been throwing here?"
Not nearly that many. A year ago, Dennis Martinez was the staff leader with 30 innings exactly. Every starter except Storm Davis will have more than that this spring.
Is it time to rock and roll?
"God, no," Weaver said. "Not until Oct. 25. But you're seeing the result of throwing 10 to 12 minutes of batting practice, then throwing eight to 12 minutes on the side. Arms have to get tired to get strong. This game is work.
"All I'm doing is going back to the guys who had success, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, Jim Palmer. Those guys worked their butts off in spring training. They were all in four-man rotations in those days, and they didn't want a fifth in because they were always pitching for next year's salary. I'm not saying these guys laid down, but . . ."
Boddicker breezed through the Yankees in 107 pitches and 2 hours 12 minutes. He did it with a curve ball that was rolling more than snapping, but with a fast ball and changeup that resembled the ones he used to go 42-20 in a 24-month stretch.
Boddicker came to Florida this spring hoping to regain the pinpoint control he had from 1983 till early '85, and he appears to have found it, walking seven hitters in 34 innings.
"You just keep throwing until you get it right," he said. "When you start getting people out, you start feeling good about yourself. I didn't have much of a curve today, but I can win with the other two pitches.
"I don't know if going nine innings is a big deal, but you do know you can go up north and go nine. If you only go five or six down here, you still have a barrier to cross. All this is a confidence builder, and we needed that."
The Orioles completed a minor league trade, sending pitcher Ben Bianchi and catcher Steve Padia to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Mike Hart. Hart, 28, hit .268 with 24 homers and 83 RBI at Class AAA Toledo last season.