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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where it’s World Series time

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The Fall Classic between the Rays and Dodgers starts tonight. Who ya got?

Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Dodgers
Pictured: The Dodgers and Rays in action in 2019. That feels like a million years ago.
Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Against all odds, the MLB season has made it this far. Despite the pandemic, we got a 60-game regular season, we got three uninterrupted rounds of playoffs, and now we’ve arrived at the World Series, where the Dodgers and Rays will square off to claim baseball supremacy in this unusual, truncated 2020 campaign.

The Dodgers are the high-priced behemoth, a club that has combined a sharp, analytically inclined front office with the ability to throw hundreds of millions of dollars at players. They’re the team that steamrolled its way to seven consecutive division titles and then said, “You know what? Let’s add Mookie Betts to this,” when the Red Sox stupidly made him available for trade. They’ve got the most talented roster in the game and a steady pipeline of prospects coming up from the minors that keeps them dominant year in and year out.

The Rays, meanwhile, have a mix-and-match roster that may be mostly anonymous to people who don’t follow the AL East as closely as O’s fans do. They don’t have a lot of big names — although Randy Arozarena has put himself in the national spotlight with his seven postseason home runs — and they’ve made an art form of trading away players at the peak of their value to acquire the next batch of young, big league ready up-and-comers. But no manager works platoons and defensive shifts and pitching changes more deftly than Kevin Cash. With their skinflint budget, the Rays are considered by some to be the underdog in this series, but they didn’t have the best record in the AL for nothing.

It should be a fun World Series, and it’ll bring a championship either to a team that hasn’t had one in 32 years (the Dodgers) or a team that has never won it all (the Rays). It sure beats watching the Yankees or Red Sox or Astros.

I’m agnostic about which team I want to win, but what about you, Camden Chatters?

Poll

Who are you rooting for in the World Series?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Dodgers
    (30 votes)
  • 67%
    Rays
    (129 votes)
  • 16%
    I just want everyone to have fun!
    (31 votes)
190 votes total Vote Now

Links

Inbox: How O’s front office might look in 2021 - Orioles.com
Joe Trezza answers questions from readers, opining that the Birds might choose to non-tender Renato Nunez this winter. Makes sense to me. With a logjam of first base/DH types, the guy who hits prodigious home runs but doesn’t do much else could be in jeopardy.

Will these two Orioles be back next year? - Steve Melewski
Melewski wonders whether Rio Ruiz and Hanser Alberto will remain with the Orioles in 2021. I’d say yes, considering the Orioles’ startling lack of infield depth in the upper minors. Plus, Hanser is a hoot.

Orioles taking a look at Bannon at second base; Answers to Friday’s quiz - BaltimoreBaseball.com
...then again, maybe Alberto’s spot on the Orioles isn’t a sure thing, considering the Birds are having Rylan Bannon focus exclusively on second base at their instructional league. Bannon’s best-case scenario in the bigs still seems to be as a utility guy, though.

Bevy of shortstops won't bump Henderson from position - School of Roch
I’m continually bummed that the minor league season was canceled, but especially when it comes to top prospects at the lower levels like Gunnar Henderson. It would’ve been fun to track him as he rose up the ladder this year. Hopefully the lack of competitive reps won't hinder his progress.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Two former Orioles share your birthday: 2019 five-game lefty Ty Blach (30) and 1968-70 infielder Bobby Floyd (77).

The Orioles haven’t done much of note on this day in history, but here are some other baseball things that have happened on Oct. 20:

  • In 1924, the first Negro League World Series was played, with the Kansas City Monarchs blanking the Hilldale Athletic Club, 5-0.
  • In 1992, the World Series finally lived up to its name as it was played outside the United States for the first time, with the Toronto Blue Jays hosting the Braves in Game 3. The Jays won, 3-2, behind eight strong innings from Juan Guzman and a homer by Joe Carter, both of whom would play for the Orioles six years later.
  • In 1993, the Blue Jays and Phillies combined for the highest-scoring game in World Series history, a 15-14 Jays win in Game 4 in Philadelphia. The Blue Jays did all their offensive damage without a home run, as six batters had multi-hit games and Tony Fernandez drove in five runs. Lenny Dykstra homered twice for the Phils.
  • In 2004, the Red Sox completed their comeback from down 0-3 in the series to beat the Yankees in Game 7, advancing to the World Series. They’re still the only MLB team ever to accomplish that feat, a list that the Astros thankfully avoided joining this past weekend.