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Monday Bird Droppings: Where I’m dreaming of spring training

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Trey Mancini has been named a Baltimore sportsperson of the year, Adley Rutschman will start in Double-A, and more in today’s Bird Droppings.

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! We are T-minus four days until Christmas 2020. It’ll be a different one than we’re used to, for sure. In a typical year, my parents would host a chaotic Christmas Eve with our large family. Most of us live within a 20-minute drive of each other, but this year we’ll only see each other on the family Zoom at 3 p.m.

On Christmas Day we’ll have a quiet day at home, just the three of us, probably with some other video chatting with various members of our family. My daughter is three this year and it’s the first year she seems to get Christmas and is excited about the gifts and the decorations and Santa. Everyone wants to see her open some presents, but they’ll only be able to do it on a screen. That’s life in 2020.

But what does that have to do with the Orioles? Well, nothing obviously. But one thing that hasn’t changed in this very strange year is that it’s highly unlikely the Orioles will do anything of consequence on December 21st. Sure, just last week they signed a 35-year-old player to a minor league deal, so maybe something similar could happen. But if it does, will anyone even care?

The good news is that, once we get on the other side of New Years, we’ll be just a stone’s throw from the start of Spring Training. And after that, we’ll practically be at the start of the 2020 season. If you think about it, we’re almost there.

Links

Orioles’ top prospect Adley Rutschman to start 2021 in Double-A | RSN
Mike Elias thinks that Adley Rutschman will get to the majors quickly, yay! But recognizes that he probably should play in the minors at least some. And that will be with the Double-A Bowie Baysox.

Sportsperson Of The Year: Trey Mancini - PressBoxOnline.com
Press Box Online has named Trey Mancini their 2020 Sportsperson of the Year, and have a nice interview with him about getting chemo during a global pandemic, his relationship with Mo Gaba, and even some baseball talk.

Six shortstops who could be a fit for the Orioles in 2021 – The Athletic
Dan Connolly looks at six relatively well-known shortstops and gives the pros and cons for each to end up with the Orioles. I tell you, it'll be a good day when people stop acting like signing Addison Russell is a thing that the Orioles might do.

Orioles Gift Guide Aims To Spread Holiday Cheer, Excite Fans For Upcoming Season – CBS Baltimore
And here is a puff piece on some Orioles-related things you can buy for the holidays. The Orioles rep being interviewed asks rhetorically, "Who doesn't want to have the Oriole Bird at their [virtual] holiday party?"

Birthdays and History

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have quite a lot of Orioles birthday buddies!

  • Asher Wojciechowski, who pitched for the Orioles in 2019 and 2020, turns 32 years old today. Wojo was designated for assignment in September and elected to become a free agent in October. We probably won’t see him on the Orioles again, and I’m torn. On one hand, I learned to spell his name. On the other, he wasn’t that good.
  • Taylor Teagarden turns 37. Teagarden’s 45 games with the Orioles in 2012-2013 weren’t very memorable, but we’ll always have the walk off home run he hit in his first game with the O’s.
  • LaTroy Hawkins, who spent one year of his 21-year MLB career with the Orioles, turns 48 today. Hawkins appeared in 60 games out of the bullpen for the Orioles in 2006. At 33 years old that year, he went on to pitch through 2015.
  • Roger McDowell turns 60. I remember Roger McDowell as a baseball player, and I remember him as a plot point on Seinfeld, but I don’t remember him as an Oriole. In fact, in the final year of his career, McDowell appeared in 41 games for the 1996 Orioles.
  • Andy Van Slyke, who was mostly a Pittsburgh Pirate, turns 60 as well. Van Slyke also was on the Orioles in the last season of his career, when he appeared in 17 games in 1995 before being traded to the Phillies.
  • Elliott Maddox is 73 years old today. Maddox spent 11 years in the majors, including 1977 with the Orioles when he appeared in 49 games as a utility guy.

On this year in 1995, the Orioles signed Roberto Alomar to a three-year, $18-million contract. Despite his short tenure with the Orioles, those three seasons were good enough to get him named the 45th best Oriole of all time by this very website. And, of course, his three years in Baltimore plus 14 other seasons in the majors were good enough to get him elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011.

Baseball Reference also notes that on this day in 1995, David Cone re-signed with the New York Yankees, but only “after considering an attractive contract with the Orioles.” This obviously ended up being the right move for Cone’s career as the Yankees were, um, pretty good in the late 1990s. But it sure would have been nice for the ‘96 wild card and ‘97 division winning Orioles to have a one-two punch of Mike Mussina and David Cone. Oh well.