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Monday Bird Droppings: Where spring training starts next week

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Pitchers and catchers report in eight days. The Orioles - well, you already know how this year is going for them.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Philadelphia Phillies Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

There are now 52 days until the next Orioles game. Just eight days stand between now and when pitchers and catchers report to spring training to mark the beginning of baseball-ish activities for the year.

It has been 13 days since Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Orioles have not announced any plans to retire his jersey or add his statue to Camden Yards.

As the world of Baltimore sports goes, things don’t really get a lot worse than when the most recent championships in both baseball and football were won by Boston teams. Alas, the strong wishes of all right-thinking people are not enough to power the outcomes of sporting events. On the bright side, not unlike the 2018 Orioles, things can’t get much worse than that.

Perhaps with football season over and spring training fast approaching, the last bit of action will get wrung out of the free agent market over the course of this week. Signing late does not seem to have benefited players in recent years. We’ll see if that makes any of the big names start to get antsy about signing.

Not that any of this matters as far as the Orioles are concerned, because they won’t be signing anyone who is important. They might not sign any one of these big league free agents at all. It’s going to be a bad baseball team again. This much has been clear for some time. Maybe they can be slightly better than last year. That’s really all we can hope for, and that, much like the outcome of last night’s football game, sucks.

Around the blogO’sphere

Examining Orioles’ pursuit of Yolbert Sanchez (Orioles.com)
Pursuit of an international free agent doesn’t mean much if you don’t sign the guy. Cuban free agent Sanchez is eligible to sign with teams... tomorrow. Maybe the O’s will use some of that pool money.

Being on 40-man roster only a “small stepping stone” for Kline (School of Roch)
2019 is going to be about finding little things to appreciate with the Orioles amidst the losing. If Maryland native Branden Kline can make it to the big leagues and find success, that would be a nice little thing.

Zimmermann hopes to be homegrown Oriole (Baltimore Baseball)
Speaking of Maryland natives, one of the pitchers in the Kevin Gausman trade, Bruce Zimmermann, will also be looking to push his way to MLB. Good luck, Bruce!

Austin Wynns is set to bring intensity and passion to the field (Steve Melewski)
Maybe he can also bring a little more than a .669 OPS, although as a catcher on a team everyone knows will be bad, it’s certainly fair to focus more on other aspects of his performance.

Sunday Notes: Flipping Mussina and Palmer (Fangraphs)
In his usual Sunday column, David Laurila wants to know how much differently the Hall of Fame Orioles pitchers, Palmer and Mussina, would be viewed if Mussina had Palmer’s eight 20-win seasons and Palmer had Mussina’s one.

Birthdays and anniversaries

In 2011, the Orioles signed Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year contract. He wasn’t the worst aging veteran signing in the history of the dark years, but it annoys me to this day that Buck Showalter batted Guerrero cleanup 127 times that season.

Of all the players to play for the Orioles, not a single one was born on this day.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Norton I, Emperor of the United States (1818), pioneering pilot Charles Lindbergh (1902), civil rights legend Rosa Parks (1913), musician Alice Cooper (1948), musician Natalie Imbruglia (1975), and gold medal gymnast Carly Patterson (1988).

On this day in history...

In 960, general Zhao Kuangyin overthrew the Later Zhou dynasty of China, proclaiming himself Emperor Taizu of Song. During his reign he united several warring kingdoms within China, and his dynasty lasted until conquered by the Mongols in 1279.

In 1555, a man named John Rogers was burned at the stake in England. His crime was being a Protestant in the days of “Bloody” Mary I.

In 1846, the early Mormon pioneers, a wagon convoy of about 70,000 people departed from Nauvoo, Illinois for the Salt Lake Valley. At the time of their departure, this was Mexican territory, though following the Mexican-American War and the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ceded the area to the United States.

In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin began a week-long conference in Yalta, during which they discussed a number of post-war matters. One legacy of this conference is that Stalin did not keep up his promises about Poland and that country suffered for a long time.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on February 4 - or at least, unless something happens later. Have a safe Monday.