Good morning, Birdland!
The World Series should be the story line dominating the sport of baseball this week. But it’s not because the Houston Astros seem to be run by cold-hearted people that refuse to own up to their own mistakes.
Deadspin’s David Roth did an excellent job of summarizing the situation. In short: their assistant GM screamed an offensive comment in the direction of several female journalists, Sports Illustrated reported on the event, the Astros called the report “fake news,” people on Twitter called B.S., MLB likely put pressure on the Astros, the assistant GM was fired and the GM, Jeff Luhnow, acted like a little kid being forced to apologize for something he wasn’t really sorry for. It was a masterclass in what not to do.
This was a disgusting display by the Houston Astros and has started to make people wonder about the culture of the organization. The ties that this incident have to the acquisition of alleged domestic abuser Roberto Osuna are obvious and create a pattern that sure makes Luhnow seem like a Grade-A jerk. It also stirs back up the discussion about how MLB handles domestic violence in general, but that is a topic I am far too uninformed on to make an intelligent case.
Instead, I wanted to make mention of a tweet from Orioles fan, podcaster and former MLB Editor of the Sporting News Justin McGuire.
Gotta admit, these stories about the Astros’ toxic environment make a bit nervous about Mike Elias. I really hope he’s not cut from the same cloth.— Justin McGuire (@JMcGuireMLB) October 25, 2019
McGuire’s tweet does make me a bit queasy. Orioles GM Mike Elias was an important figure in the Astros front office from 2011 through 2018 and has worked with Luhnow since 2007. The two obviously had a significant relationship and got along well enough to stay intertwined in some way shape or form for over a decade. Are they, as McGuire put it, “cut from the same cloth.”
Elias has provided no evidence that he is of this same ilk. Sure, there have been the reports that his recent cleaning house of the O’s front office was cold, but that felt like normal business practices to most, especially for a GM still within his first year at the club.
Elias is still in the honeymoon phase with Orioles fans. He has done nothing wrong to this point that we are aware of. Of course, mistakes will be made in free agent signings and trades. That’s all part of running a baseball team. But what is completely avoidable is what the Astros have done. Own up to mistakes. Have some self awareness. Put people above performance. Create a team that is both fun to watch and fun to root for. And just don’t be a jerk.
Offseason Outlook: Baltimore Orioles - MLB Trade Rumors
We all know that the Orioles will not be too active in the free agent market. That’s fine. But what will be interesting to see is to what extent they get involved in trades. Jonathan Villar and Hanser Alberto played themselves into being intriguing options for teams ready to compete. Mychal Givens remains a tantalizing talent. And Trey Mancini can flat out hit. All is quiet for now, but we know that won’t last much beyond the World Series.
Orioles FanFest not happening next year - Baltimore Sun
It’s still not “official”. MASN’s Roch Kubatko had hinted at it earlier in the week and the Orioles have not publicly announced anything, but the number of outlets talking about the end of FanFest has increased. Still no word on what the replacement will be and if that replacement will come prior to the 2020 season.
Orioles 2019 Draft Highlight: OF Johnny Rizer - Birds Watcher
This is a name to keep an eye on. Sample sizes are still small, but Johnny Rizer posted a 169 wRC+ in 27 games with Aberdeen and a 124 wRC+ in 36 games with the Shorebirds. That is quite good.
O’s could potentially lose a minor league affiliate under new MLB proposal - NBC Sports
The two teams mentioned as the most likely to go are the Frederick Keys and Delmarva Shorebirds. That would be a supreme bummer. Nothing is set in stone, but MLB is almost certainly going to reduce its number of minor league teams. Which teams exactly remains to be seen.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
Current Orioles outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. turns 27 years old today. He will be celebrating with Wayne Garland, an O’s hurler for 91 games between 1973 and 1976, who is turning the nice age of 69.
According to Baseball Reference, nothing else notable has happened to the Orioles organization on October 26. But that could always change!