If Kevin Brown can maintain his early-season pace, he's going to become popular with a lot of Baltimore baseball observers.
And we're not just talking about his won-loss pace, although the Orioles will gladly take three wins in every four decisions. That would make their $4.25 million investment look like a bargain.
The pace that sets Brown apart from just about every other pitcher in the major leagues is the one he sets every time he's on the pitching mound. His philosophy is a simple one: "Have ball, will throw."
There is no wasted motion. He rarely leaves the top of the hill, let alone the dirt area around the pitcher's mound. And he throws strikes.
Think about all the people a successful Brown will make happy -- besides manager Phil Regan and pitching coach Mike Flanagan.
First are the fans, who at least like to have the option of going to bed before midnight. Their enthusiasm would be topped only by the insomniacs -- and the restaurant and bar owners who tend to their needs.
The directors of the "late news an hour earlier" television programs would be ecstatic because they could maintain their station's "truth in advertising" policy. And let's not forget the newspaper writers, editors and readers, who are all too familiar with games that miss first-edition deadlines.
Brown's approach is one most pitchers should emulate. "Throw strikes, change speeds and work fast" was ex-Orioles pitching coach Ray Miller's favorite lecture.
Brown is not that big on changing speeds, but he follows the rest of the creed to perfection. In his four starts for the Orioles he has walked only two batters (while striking out 24).
He also throws a few home run pitches (one in each of his first three starts and a pair to Cecil Fielder last night). But Brown's penchant for not cluttering the bases with needless base runners generally allows him to restrict long-ball damage to a minimum.
In the eight innings Brown worked last night, the Orioles were on the field more than five minutes only three times -- the fourth, fifth and sixth, when the Tigers scored all of their runs. There have been times this year when it's taken that long to dispose of a single hitter.
It took only 45 minutes for the Orioles and Tigers to play the first three innings last night as Brown and Buddy Groom matched zeros. And even after sitting through a long bottom half of the sixth inning, when the Orioles scored five times, Brown's pace actually improved -- he breezed through the seventh and needed only four pitches in the eighth.
If they want to do the game a service, the Orioles should show the tapes of Brown's time on the mound last night to every pitcher in their organization.
Then they could do everybody else a favor and make a copy for every team in baseball.