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Friday Bird Droppings: Where a former Oriole is a champion overseas

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Mike Wright’s MLB career didn’t go so well, but his first season in the KBO landed him a championship.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

I hope you all had a happy and safe Thanksgiving. For those who didn’t get to spend the holiday with family this year, think about how special next year’s Thanksgiving is going to be once things are (hopefully) back to normal. You may even be able to tolerate your most annoying relatives for a little while longer than usual. Don’t take it for granted!

As usual for a holiday week, there’s very little going on in Major League Baseball right now. So let’s turn our attention overseas, where the Korea Baseball Organization — which was the first major professional baseball league to begin play this year — wrapped up its 2020 season on Tuesday. The NC Dinos defeated the Doosan Bears for their first KBO title (and celebrated with a giant sword, which is just awesome).

One member of the victorious Dinos should be quite familiar to Orioles fans: right-hander Mike Wright, the Birds’ third-round pick in 2011 who spent parts of five years in Baltimore from 2015-19. His O’s tenure was most memorable for its horribleness; Wright’s 5.95 ERA in 101 games was the worst in Orioles history for a pitcher who appeared that many times. Heck, it was the worst in Orioles history for a pitcher who appeared even 60 times, much less 100. He really went above and beyond in his sheer ineptitude, explaining why he washed out of the majors after last season.

But in the KBO, it was a different story for the 30-year-old. In his debut season for the Dinos, Wright was a mainstay in the rotation, throwing 157.2 innings and racking up 125 strikeouts, both second-best on the team to fellow ex-MLBer Drew Rucinski. In the Dinos’ KBO Series clincher, Wright worked an inning of relief behind Rucinski, giving up a run while striking out two. And now he’s a baseball champion.

Congratulations to Wright! With any luck, his former O’s teammates back in the States could someday find themselves chasing a championship of their own.

Links

Searching for reasons to be thankful - School of Roch

Still finding Orioles to be thankful for in 2020 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Roch Kubatko and Rich Dubroff both write about the Orioles they’re thankful for, with each list headlined by Trey Mancini’s successful recovery from colon cancer. I think we can all get on board with that.

A trade O’s fans may eventually be quite thankful for - Steve Melewski
Melewski takes a look back at the Manny Machado trade, which is finally starting to bear fruit for the Birds. I mean, I would’ve been more thankful for Manny to be a lifelong Oriole, but we can’t always have nice things.

1 reason every team should be thankful in ‘20 - MLB.com
I’m noticing a theme in these headlines. Anyway, I’m not sure I totally agree with Richard Justice’s claim that the Orioles were “entertaining as heck to watch in 2020.” Sometimes they were, sure. But a lot of times...not so much.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have four O’s birthday buddies: right-hander Jason Berken (37), catcher Tim Laker (51), first baseman Randy Milligan (59), and lefty Bill Short (83).

On this day in 1963, the Orioles traded Jim Gentile, three-time All-Star and Camden Chat’s 36th greatest Oriole of all time, to the Kansas City Athletics for Norm Siebern. Gentile had packed a lot of production into his four years in Baltimore, including a 46-homer, 141-RBI explosion in 1961 that placed him third in the AL MVP vote. Gentile lasted only three more seasons in the majors after the O’s traded him, while Siebern had an All-Star campaign in his first year with the Birds.