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New Year’s Eve Bird Droppings: Where we’re saying goodbye to 2019

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It’s time for a new year, a new beginning, and, well, probably the same terrible on-field product for the Orioles.

U.S.-NEW YORK-TIMES SQUARE-NEW YEAR CELEBRATION Xinhua/ via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Well, we’ve made it through another year. Today, we officially close the book on 2019. Let’s all stay up together in Bird Droppings tonight and count down as the ball drops in Times Square! ... No, check that, I’ll probably be asleep.

How was this year for you, Camden Chatters? Did you undergo any dramatic life changes, for better or for worse? Whatever the case, here’s hoping 2020 will be your best year yet.

For the Orioles, 2019 won’t be a year that will forever be celebrated in franchise lore, but it did represent a fresh start. It was the club’s first full year under GM Mike Elias, manager Brandon Hyde, and a data-oriented front office. The O’s made significant progress in building their analytics department and in ramping up their international amateur signing and scouting efforts. They held the first overall draft pick for only the second time in franchise history, using it to snag Adley Rutschman. They laid the groundwork for developing a consistent pipeline of talent throughout the Orioles’ farm system.

The on-field performance, of course, was dreadful. And it won’t be much, if any, better in 2020. But the Orioles at least seem to have a coherent plan for future success and are taking the steps they need to implement it. If it eventually pays off, years from now we may look back at 2019 as the year that the turnaround really began.

So, hey, maybe someday 2019 will be celebrated in franchise lore after all.

Links

Updating the Orioles’ rotation competition - School of Roch
Update: the rotation still stinks.

For O’s pitchers less (fastballs) could be more - Steve Melewski
Melewski analyzes whether the Orioles could benefit from throwing fewer fastballs. Maybe! They could also benefit from throwing fewer terrible pitches in general.

Intriguing Options Loom For Orioles With No. 2 Pick In 2020 MLB Draft - PressBoxOnline
Forget the countdown to Opening Day — I’m more interested in the countdown to draft day. (It’s 162 days away, FYI.) Todd Karpovich profiles a few of the highly touted draft prospects who could interest the Orioles on June 10.

What awaits O’s in 2020? Key dates and info - Orioles.com
Joe Trezza runs down the important events coming up for the Orioles during the 2020 season. It’s a useful list, but I got a kick out of the “Milestones” category in which the last entry is “Cole Sulser and Eric Hanhold could make their team debuts.” Get excited!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! The only Oriole who’s ever had a New Year’s Eve birthday is outfielder Donell Nixon, who appeared in eight games in 1990. He turns 58 today.

On this day in 2010, a 25-year-old man was killed by a pistol being fired at a New Year’s celebration in Luperon, Dominican Republic. Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon was later arrested for the shooting and was charged with involuntary murder, but was acquitted a year later.

I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but if you’re planning to celebrate the new year, please leave pistols out of it. Try, like, noisemakers instead.