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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles caravan is on the move

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If somehow you’re not yet amped up about the 2020 O’s season, maybe checking out one of this weekend’s fan events will change your mind.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s Friday. We’ve almost made it through another week. And as we look forward to the weekend ahead, maybe some Orioles-related events will be on your schedule.

Starting this afternoon and running through Sunday, the O’s will be embarking on their 12-city Birdland Caravan, where team executives, players, and coaches will hold meet-and-greets with fans in Maryland and Pennsylvania. This is essentially the club’s replacement for FanFest, which was canceled this year.

Time will tell whether the caravan is a more popular and/or successful event than FanFest, though it is nice to have the team come to you instead of vice versa. This afternoon’s public event will be held in White Marsh, followed by Saturday stops in Ellicott City, Annapolis, and Upper Marlboro, and Sunday visits to Frederick and Westminster. There are also a bunch of invitation-only private events in various locations over the next three days. (The complete details of the caravan can be found on the Orioles web site.)

I think it’s a good idea, even if I won’t actually be going to any of the events. The caravan could be an effective way to drum up some interest in the Orioles before they head down to Sarasota next week to begin spring training. And with so many stops on the tour, O’s fans from all over the state will get a chance to participate without having to schlep to Baltimore on a winter morning.

What say you, Camden Chatters? Do you like the caravan idea? And which (if any) events are you planning to attend?

Links

Q&A with Orioles GM Mike Elias: Talking second-year strides, hires and promotions, and the Astros – The Athletic
I never feel more confident about the Orioles than I do when reading a Mike Elias interview. Whether you agree with the rebuilding approach or not, there’s no denying he has a clear vision and a clear plan for how to implement it.

Answers to your Orioles questions - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff answers questions from readers, including one person who’s still fretting that the Orioles might leave town. It’s not happening, people. Let this story die.

Pondering some more spring questions and topics - Steve Melewski
Melewski ruminates on what kind of performances we might see from John Means, Austin Hays, and Chris Davis. I think I can answer that last one.

Hyde eager to start Year 2 of Orioles rebuild at spring camp - Yahoo Sports
Dave Ginsburg previews O’s spring training, and writes, “It’s anyone’s guess whether slugger Chris Davis can return to form.” Is it, though? Not to harp on this Davis topic, but why is anyone even entertaining the possibility that he’ll improve?

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You are awash in O’s birthday buddies — six of ‘em, to be precise, though they combined for just 1.9 WAR in an Orioles uniform. They include 2013 right-hander Scott Feldman (37) — for whom the O’s infamously traded Jake Arrieta — as well as short-term righties Dave Borkowski (43) and Jon Leicester (41); outfielder Endy Chavez (42); early-’80s pinch-hitting specialist Benny Ayala (69); and the late outfielder Al Smith (b. 1928, d. 2002).

It’s also the birthday of former O’s prospect Zach Davies (27), who has already amassed 8.1 career WAR. None of it came with the Birds, though, because Dan Duquette made the poor decision to trade him for Gerardo Parra in 2015.

Speaking of Duquette blunders, it was on this day in 2012 that the Korean Baseball Organization filed a protest against the Orioles for signing 17-year-old high school lefty Seong-Min Kim without permission. (You can find a good breakdown of the controversy in this 2014 story from then-Camden Chat contributor Sung-Min Kim, who now works for the KBO’s Lotte Giants.) In short, Duquette and the Orioles violated an agreement between MLB and KBO that foreign teams cannot sign Korean amateurs. As a result, the Orioles’ signing of Kim was voided, KBO banned Orioles scouts from its games, and Kim was permanently banned from Korean competition, though that decision was reversed two years later. It was an overall embarrassing episode for the Birds.

It appears Seong-Min Kim is currently pitching for the KBO’s Kiwoom Heroes, assuming this is the same guy. He had a 2.72 ERA in 50 relief appearances in 2019.