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Monday Bird Droppings: Heading into the off season on a high note

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2020 was another losing season for the Orioles, but really, it could have been a lot worse.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! Can you believe the 2020 regular season has come to a close? It started with uncertainty and had a few bumps along the way, but ultimately the entire season was played and the postseason is ready to go. It was a quick season!

The Orioles finished the season at 25-35, but along the way they played some exciting baseball. There was a time, just a few weeks ago, when the idea of the postseason wasn’t unimaginable! That fell apart because the Orioles actually are still quite bad. But unlike other years of watching bad Orioles teams (and we have had plenty of opportunities), there are legitimately things to be excited about.

The Ryan Mountcastle era has begun. His debut, along with that of pitchers Dean Kremer and Keegan Akin, gave us a glimpse of a possible future. Cedric Mullins came out of nowhere to show that he could play at the MLB level. Anthony Santander, a Rule 5 pick, was voted Most Valuable Oriole and looks like he could be really good. John Means looks like he might still be good.

Yes, it all fell apart in the end. Their loss to the Mets on September 9th kicked off a 5-13 stretch to end the season. That run of bad baseball helped the Orioles get into good draft position for next year (though we don’t totally know how it will be determined yet). And given how far they still have to go, they can use that top five pick.

Obviously the best result of any season would be the Orioles going to the playoffs. But short of that, I think we got it pretty good in 2020. We got to see a team play exciting baseball for a decent portion of this shortened season, we got to watch some of the young players who might be on the next good team, and the Orioles will still draft high next year. AND they finished ahead of the Red Sox.

Links

16-team field set; postseason opens Tuesday - MLB.com
Here is a breakdown of the 2020 postseason, which for the first time features 16 teams. I hope that won’t become the norm, but part of me feels like it’s inevitable. The postseason starts on Tuesday with the eight American League teams all playing the first of their best-of-three series.

Hyde emotional as Orioles close out with 7-5 win; Mullins' two triples leads the way; Akin pulled after three - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff has Brandon Hyde's thoughts on the end of this crazy season and on yesterday's win.

Four takeaways from Orioles GM Mike Elias’ season-ending media session - Baltimore Sun
Mike Elias met with the media to end the season and Jon Meoli broke down four items to focus on as the off season gets underway.

Sunday Notes: Soliciting Opinions on Some Playoff Teams | FanGraphs Baseball
Yesterday was former Oriole Dick Hall's 90th birthday and David Laurilia has a few paragraphs about when Hall was teammates with a young Roberto Clemente.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have three Orioles birthday buddies, all pitchers. Mike DeJean, who put up a 6.13 ERA in 37 games in 2004, turns 50 years old today. It’s also the birthday of submarine pitcher Todd Frohwirth, who spent 1991-93 with the Orioles and also several year with the team as a scout. Today would be Frohwirth’s 58th birthday, but he passed away in 2017 after fighting stomach cancer.

It’s also the 78th birthday of Grant Jackson, who was a part of the Baltimore bullpen from 1971-76. Jackson put up a 2.81 ERA in 209 games with the Orioles and appeared in four postseason games with zero earned runs allowed.

On this day in baseball history, Robert Andino sent the Red Sox and their fans home crying with the most exciting game 162 that a 69-win team could have had. Here is a nice video with Andino breaking down the final inning: