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Tuesday Bird Droppings: The Orioles are preparing for business as usual

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We still don’t know if the 2021 season will start on time or include fans in attendance, but the Birds are hoping for the best until they hear otherwise.

MLB: SEP 15 Braves at Orioles Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

We’re halfway through December. In a typical year, this is where I’d say, “Just two months until spring training!” But this year, I can’t make that statement with any certainty because...well, you know.

Still, the Orioles are proceeding — as they should — with the idea that 2021 will be a normal (or close to normal) year, one that won’t be encumbered by coronavirus-related postponements and schedule alterations.

“I’m anticipating us starting in February and they’ll let me know if it’s not,” manager Brandon Hyde told reporters yesterday. “I’m anticipating the season starting on time, I’m anticipating a season being 162 games, I want to believe that we’re going to start in February, and I think the next month or two is going to tell all of us whether that’s going to happen or not, but I’m going to prepare like we’re starting a normal season.”

And that 2021 season may even include fans in the stands after an attendance-less 2020, depending on how soon the newly released COVID-19 vaccines can contain the pandemic. If so, the Birds are ready, officially announcing their 2021 promotions schedule and a new five-game flex ticket plan yesterday.

Right at this moment, it’s hard to picture a world where things are normal again. I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like. But if the Orioles report to Sarasota in February as scheduled, it’ll be a welcome sign that we may be turning the corner at last.

Links

Checking in with Orioles manager Brandon Hyde - School of Roch
The O’s skipper weighs in on a bunch of issues, including, yes, Chris Davis. Are you sick of that topic yet?

Checking in with Orioles international scouting director Koby Perez - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Don’t look now, but the 2020 international signing period begins in a month. Which will actually be 2021. Weird. In any case, the O’s might be in play for some legitimately promising international amateurs, a statement that was never true in the pre-Elias era.

New Oriole Chris Shaw already familiar with several teammates - Steve Melewski
Newly acquired infielder Chris Shaw grew up a diehard Red Sox fan, but we won’t hold that against him. Well, maybe a little.

5 best seasons by an Orioles pitcher - Orioles.com
Can’t wait to see whether Ubaldo made the list!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And one former Oriole is celebrating an incredibly special birthday today: Eddie Robinson turns 100 years young. One hundred! The longtime first baseman, who began his MLB career with Cleveland in 1942 and ended it with a four-game stint in Baltimore in 1957, is currently the oldest living MLB player. He’s the first player in O’s history to have become a centenarian. (My 107-year-old grandmother is probably thinking, “How nice for that young fellow.”) Let’s wish the happiest of birthdays to the esteemed Mr. Robinson.

Three other ex-Orioles have birthdays today, all half as old (or less) as Robinson: right-hander Rick Helling turns 50, outfielder Luis Montanez turns 39, and 2019 righty Ryan Eades is 29.

Two relievers in the Orioles Hall of Fame were involved in trades on this date in history. In 1962, the Birds acquired right-hander Stu Miller from the Giants as part of a six-player deal. Miller spent the next five years as a fireman in the O’s bullpen, posting a 2.37 ERA in 297 games and racking up 99 saves (though they weren’t officially a stat yet at that point). He even got MVP votes in three different seasons.

In 1966, the Orioles traded away Dick Hall, who had teamed with Miller as the backbone of the bullpen for much of the ‘60s (with both winning a ring in ‘66), to the Phillies. The O’s brought him back two years later, and he was part of another Orioles championship in 1970. Hall finished his career with a 2.89 ERA and 60 saves in 342 appearances with the Birds.