There are now 59 days remaining until the next Orioles game. That’s exactly two months from today. Baseball is almost back! If you’re the type to get excited for spring training, we’re only 15 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Sarasota.
It has been six days since Mike Mussina, the greatest Orioles pitcher of the last 30 years, was elected to the Hall of Fame and the team has not yet announced any intentions to add a statue of Mussina or retire his jersey number.
With this past weekend’s FanFest out of the way, there’s basically nothing left between now and the start of spring training for the O’s. Maybe they’ll surprise us and ink a free agent or two for the season, but as GM Mike Elias noted at FanFest, you don’t want to bring in free agents and block your young players who you need to see what they can offer the team.
That answer seemed to me to be obliquely directed at the variety of questions about Adam Jones that fans continually posed to Elias when given the opportunity, including twice in the span of about five minutes at one point. It’s the outfield where the O’s have the most players who need a look. Jones would be a feel-good story but probably doesn’t fit.
At his session with season ticket holders, Elias said that he doesn’t want to have the team be as bad as last year. That’s some low-hanging fruit, obviously. Again addressing the idea of signing free agents and such, he said something that I think will represent the 2019 Orioles in a nutshell: “i don’t want to place undue emphasis on something that’s not strategically relevant.”
That’s the season right there. I’m excited for Elias and his people to come in and remake the mess that was left to them, and I hope that they’re able to make some big strides fairly quickly just from having people who have their finger on the pulse of modern baseball in to help make the players, MLBers and prospects, the best they can be. But winning in 2019 isn’t strategically relevant.
This is the reality. It’s one thing to say as a fan that you accept that in January and it’ll be another thing to watch an O’s team in June that’s plodding towards a likely second straight 100+ loss season. The honesty is appreciated. It can also only go so far.
The Orioles could improve by 15 wins over last year’s record and still lose 100. They were so bad! And this year will also be bad, just hopefully a bit more ordinary bad rather than record-setting bad.
Around the blogO’sphere
Five things we learned at Orioles FanFest 2019 (Baltimore Sun)
Some cannot resist the siren call of a list of five things. One of Jon Meoli’s list was something that interested me as well: The coaching staff has a different and more positive energy to it. Whether that matters much for this season, I guess we’ll find out.
Chris Davis on willingness to “exhaust all options” and more (School of Roch)
“...it did get to a point last year where I was just, mentally it was too much for me to handle and I wasn’t opening up or sharing that with anybody.” Reading quotes like that is the sort of thing that makes me glad the team swept the deck clean in the front office and with the manager. It’s an indictment of everyone who could have done something about Davis reaching that point.
Dylan Bundy takes the heat for poor finish to last season (Baltimore Sun)
I think Bundy is the player where I’m most interested to see what the new coaching staff can do. It may turn out that he was being served poorly up until the regime change.
Mark Trumbo aims to be healthy for Opening Day (Orioles.com)
I have the feeling that the new Orioles decisionmakers aren’t going to rush a guy like Trumo back from an injury the way that the previous brain trust might have done.
Hunter Harvey said he feels healthy and ready for the new season (Steve Melewski)
One of the things that might help winning become strategically relevant for the O’s a little sooner is if Harvey is able to be reborn from the ashes like some kind of baseball phoenix.
Hyde says there will be many opportunities in spring training (Baltimore Baseball)
A baseball team everyone knows will be bad isn’t good for much, but this is one of those things it can be good for.
Birthdays and anniversaries
One lone former Oriole has a birthday today: 2015 two-game reliever Wesley Wright.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: actor Alan Alda (1936), musician Sarah McLachlan (1968), NSYNC’s Joey Fatone (1977), Backstreet Boy Nick Carter (1980), actor Elijah Wood (1981), and actress Ariel Winter (1998).
On this day in history...
In 814, the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, died in Aachen in modern day Germany.
In 1521, a later Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, convened the Diet of Worms, which in May of the same year ultimately led to the issuance of the Edict of Worms, in which Martin Luther was denounced.
In 1813, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was first published.
In 1896, a man named Walter Arnold of East Peckham in Kent, England became the first known person to be convicted for speeding. Mr. Arnold received a fine of one schilling, plus court costs, for traveling 8 mph in a 2 mph zone.
In 1956, Elvis Presley appeared on television for the first time.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 28 - or at least, unless something happens later. Have a safe Monday.