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Friday Bird Droppings: Where we’re gearing up for FanFest

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The Orioles are a day away from their annual winter fan event, but this year there won’t be a ton of recognizable players there.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s almost that time again. Tomorrow, the Orioles and a few thousand of their fans will gather at the Baltimore Convention Center for the club’s annual FanFest.

It’s hard to believe it’s been only one year — technically, two days shy of one year — since last year’s FanFest. It seems like eons ago. Adam Jones had fun with the kids, as always. Dan Duquette answered fan questions about the Orioles’ pursuit of free agents. Zach Britton called the media from California to discuss his rehab from Achilles’ surgery. Buck Showalter confirmed that Manny Machado would move back to shortstop, with Tim Beckham sliding to third base. And of course, Machado and Jonathan Schoop memorably were no-shows at the event for no discernible reason.

Now, every one of those people — and more — are gone from the organization. It’s going to be a completely different look at this year’s event. Even two of the Orioles’ most recognizable veterans, Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner, won’t be attending. (Somehow I don’t think they’ll receive the same backlash that Machado and Schoop did.) So...I hope you’re excited to see Yefry Ramirez, Austin Wynns, and Rio Ruiz!

In all seriousness, though, FanFest can be plenty fun if you’re into autographs, memorabilia, games, interview panels, or just taking a break from the long, cold winter to immerse yourself in baseball for a little while. Are you planning to attend?

Links

Elias with Q&A on player development and the farm - Steve Melewski
In part one of a Q&A with Mike Elias, Steve Melewski asks about his approach to the Orioles’ player development system. I continue to be impressed by every one of Elias’ responses.

Taking a closer look at each member of the Orioles’ new coaching staff – The Athletic
Dan Connolly gives his analysis of each member of the O’s just-announced coaching staff. I know my wife is already itching to buy her Don Long jersey.

Wondering how Mullins and Villar stack up in lineup - School of Roch
I always find discussions about batting order to be a little overblown, and that particularly applies to the 2019 Orioles. Whether Cedric Mullins or Jonathan Villar hits leadoff won’t make one iota of difference for the club’s success.

Baltimore Orioles: Trying To Find Left-Handed Starters - Birds Watcher
Another thing that’s overblown: the need for a left-handed starter. Why? What does it matter? Just put together the best rotation you can, regardless of which hand each guy throws with.

A look at the pitchers, including two new Hall of Famers, who dominated the Orioles the most - BaltimoreBaseball.com
In my latest for Baltimore Baseball, I take a look at which pitchers have historically been Oriole killers. The list could have included basically anyone who pitched against them in 2018.

Orioles birthdays

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the 74th birthday of right-hander Wally Bunker, who was spectacular in his first full year with the Orioles in 1964, going 19-5 with a 2.69 ERA as a 19-year-old and finishing as the Rookie of the Year runner-up. But he never reached those heights again and was out of baseball by age 26. Other O’s birthdays today are righty Richie Lewis (53), who appeared in two games with the Birds in 1992 and two more in 1998, and 1989 first baseman Francisco Melendez (55).