There are now 86 days remaining until the next Orioles game. A question to ponder relating to that number: When is the next time that the O’s win at least 86 games in a season? They only came up 39 wins short of that in 2018, and even 86 wins would have been 11 games out of a postseason spot. It’s a long way to go.
The good news is that after today, it won’t be 2018 any more, and that means that we don’t have to spend any more time thinking, “The Orioles went 47-115 this year.” It wasn’t a very fun year in Birdland, it must be said. The early months on the calendar were spent anxious over the lack of improvement on the free agent market.
From there, the season was a disaster almost as soon as it began and there were months of games that were already meaningless - the only question would be when they would start playing all of the players who a dreadfully awful team needed to trade to try to rebuild. Those trades, when they finally happened, were underwhelming individually and collectively and added to the boiling-over stories about Orioles front office dysfunction it all seemed very bleak around here.
Thankfully, the dysfunction was handled not long into the offseason when the O’s announced that they would be moving on from both Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette, and the hiring processes that led to the hiring of both GM Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde were enough to almost make you think that better times might be coming back to Birdland, at least eventually.
The short-term outlook for 2019 still isn’t great. The scraps of the roster that limped to that 47-115 record remain, and not much else. The farm does not figure to deliver many answers right away. There’s no point signing big free agents who might significantly improve the team after that kind of season. There’s not even really anyone left to trade to continue to bolster the prospect ranks.
I’ll make this prediction right now: The Orioles will win more than 47 games next year. As bad as they are on paper, I think Elias and Hyde improving the availability of analytics for the players will help them all do better. They will probably still lose more than 100 games, but there’s a big difference between losing 101 with a purpose and losing 115 when you started off the season telling people you would compete.
Around the blogO’sphere
Should the O’s add free agent starting pitchers? (Steve Melewski)
The names bandied about in this article are like, Yovani Gallardo and Ervin Santana. I’m good.
Cal Ripken narrated Christmas story this weekend at Disney World (Baltimore Sun)
We should all be able to occasionally enjoy doing something backed up by a 50 piece orchestra and choir.
More leftovers from Hyde (School of Roch)
“Evaluating properly, teaching properly, giving guys opportunities to play and grow, that’s what we’re here for,” said Hyde. It’s like music.
Sunday Notes: Cadyn Grenier on the art of hitting (Fangraphs)
Included in the usual Fangraphs Sunday notes column is a conversation with 2018 O’s draft pick Cadyn Grenier about hitting.
Birthdays and anniversaries
In 2010, the Orioles signed Derrek Lee to a one-year contract. Also, in the Dominican Republic, there was a fatal shooting during New Year’s celebrations for which then-O’s pitcher Alfredo Simon was the initial suspect.
There are a few former Orioles with New Year’s Eve birthdays. They are: 1990 eight-gamer Donell Nixon, the late Ken Rowe of the 1964-65 Orioles, and the late Ted Gray, who pitched in nine games for the 1955 Orioles.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: American Revolution loser Charles Cornwallis (1738), French artist Henri Matisse (1869), five-star general George Marshall (1880), Thank God I’m A Country Boy singer John Denver (1943), science fiction author Connie Willis (1945), actress Bebe Neuwirth (1958), 2012 music sensation Psy (1977), and gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas (1995).
On this day in history...
In 1600, the British East India Company received its charter. At its peak two centuries later, it essentially ruled India with an army of about 260,000 men.
In 1796, Baltimore was officially incorporated as a city.
In 1862, President Lincoln signed the legislation that admitted West Virginia into the Union. The new state seceded from Virginia after Virginia had seceded from the Union.
In 1907, the first New Year’s celebration was held in Longacre Square in Manhattan. We know it today as Times Square. The aftermath of New Year’s 2012 is pictured above.
In 1951, having distributed over $13 billion to help rebuild Western Europe, the Marshall Plan, named for the Secretary of State who oversaw it, whose birthday we have already mentioned today, expired.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on the last day of 2018 - or at least, unless something happens later, which it probably won’t. Have a safe New Year’s Eve.