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Monday Bird Droppings: Where the Hall of Fame has two new ex-Orioles

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Baseball’s winter meetings begin today in Las Vegas. The Orioles are the only team there that has no manager. They probably won’t have much to do.

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

There are now 106 days remaining until the next Orioles game.

The eve of baseball’s winter meetings got a bit of a surprise shakeup with the announcement that the Today’s Game Era committee elected a pair of former Orioles to join the Hall of Fame. No, it’s not Mike Mussina - he’s still on the BBWAA ballot for a few more years, or until they get their heads out of their butts and vote him in.

Joining the Hall from the Today’s Game panel, a group of 16 guys whose job is apparently just to go, “Eh, whatever,” were Maryland’s Eastern Shore’s own Harold Baines, as well closer Lee Smith. These two gentlemen were teammates on the 1994 Orioles.

Once Mussina gets in, there will have been four Hall of Famers on that team, and if there’s ever PED forgiveness from a future electorate, Rafael Palmeiro, the 3000 hit/500 home run club member, will make five. Cal Ripken Jr. is the player already in from that team, of course.

The next four days will be filled with winter meetings rumors, though the O’s will probably not do much of anything. They aren’t going to be trying to get any free agent who’s expected to matter. They probably won’t be trading anybody, although of course there’s no way to know what new GM Mike Elias has up his sleeve.

What’s different compared to past years is that “do nothing at the winter meetings” won’t be frustrating this year. There is no expectation or urgency that the Orioles need to add pieces to compete next year. They aren’t going to compete next year. We already are well aware of this.

Every half-decent starting pitcher who signs elsewhere will not feel like an occasion for desperation over another missed opportunity. The Orioles already wasted Manny Machado’s last year in Baltimore. There’s no equivalent player still here whose days are dwindling rapidly. Elias could trade anyone off the roster right now and no one’s departure would feel like the immediate, symbolic end of some golden era. It’s already over.

The only question now is what comes next. Since a lot of what comes next is going to be determined over time, after the Orioles have had a chance to build a real analytics department and integrate it across the entire organization, after they have gotten to scout better and actually sign international free agents, these winter meetings almost don’t even matter for the 2019 O’s or even necessarily the 2020 O’s.

From The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal on Sunday night, one more name to have interviewed for the manager’s job:

Around the blogO’sphere

What to watch as Orioles head to first winter meetings led by GM Mike Elias (Baltimore Sun)
If you get any WWE-related jokes about the new Orioles GM, this is for you.

Bundy on importance of veteran catcher, Mancini on role and rebuild (School of Roch)
He responded to a question about the importance of a veteran backstop with, “Very.”

How important is MLB managerial experience in selection of a new O’s skipper? (The Athletic)
Dan Connolly also wanted an experienced GM. In that case, I think we’re better off with what we got instead.

Taking stock of the O’s current catching situation (Steve Melewski)
Consider me uninterested in the list of free agent catchers.

Birthdays and anniversaries

There is one current Oriole who has a birthday today. Happy 28th to catcher Austin Wynns.

Several former Orioles also have birthdays today. They are: 2018 Rule 5 failure Nestor Cortes Jr., 2011 four-gamer Pedro Florimon, and 1996 outfielder Luis Polonia.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: American School for the Deaf founder Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787), computer programming pioneer Ada Lovelace (1815), poet Emily Dickinson (1830), movie man Kenneth Branagh (1960), and drummer Meg White (1974).

On this day in history...

In 220, the throne of the Han dynasty in China was usurped by Cao Pi, King of Wei. Thus began the Three Kingdoms era, as the rulers of Shu and Wu had their own designs.

In 1520, Martin Luther responded to a papal bull, Exsurge Domine, which called for him to recant his Ninety-five Theses or face excommunication. His response was to publicly burn a copy of the bull in Wittenberg.

In 1884, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain was first published.

In 1936, England’s King Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication, opting to relinquish the throne after Parliament refused its assent to his planned marriage to twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson. His brother, Prince Albert of York, became King George VI the next day.

In 1968, a lone robber disguised as a policeman managed to pull off a heist in Tokyo, Japan for about 300 million yen, or over $800,000 in dollars at that time. The crime, which is the largest theft in Japanese history, was never solved.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 10 - or at least, unless something happens later, which since it’s the winter meetings, you never know. It might. Have a safe Monday.