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Sunday Bird Droppings: Less than one month until spring training

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As of last night, the coming Orioles season is the next game in town in Baltimore sports. Spring training is less than a month away.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles

Hello, friends.

There are now 74 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. As of today, we have less than one month to go until pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Sarasota to begin spring training. You know, assuming nothing changes, which after 2020 is no longer an automatic assumption. But we can all be hopeful anyway.

It’s a bit easier to feel some hope as an Orioles fan after Friday’s round of international amateur signings. Even though it’ll be years before any of these pay off, it’s nice to have the sign that the team is going to do what it takes to try to land the top talent that comes out of Latin America. Trying to build a baseball team without doing this is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. And now the O’s are at least heading towards full strength.

This doesn’t change much about the fact that the minor leagues will probably be more exciting for O’s fans than the majors for much of the 2021 season. That’s not so fun, especially since it’s looking like levels below Triple-A will not begin their seasons on time as part of an effort to limit the number of players jammed into spring training camps at once.

Getting excited about Adley Rutschman is harder when you don’t even know when there will be box scores with his name in it, to say nothing of any of the other prospects who are at even lower levels. That goes all the way down to the Dominican Summer League, where some of this year’s signings might be playing, whenever that league gets rolling.

There is one other piece of very, very small Orioles news:

Ruiz had been wearing #14, but now he picks up the number of J.J. Hardy, which was worn very briefly - for six plate appearances and ten innings of defense over three games - in 2020 by Dilson Herrera.

Around the blogO’sphere

Elias praises Orioles’ Latin American signings (Baltimore Baseball)
It would be a surprise if a GM didn’t immediately praise the class of players his team signed, but still, it’s nice to see this effort expanding.

MLB’s international signings, day 1: Which teams fared best? (The Athletic)
Don’t just take Elias’s word for it. The Orioles are actually on a list of teams that did the best to start an international amateur signing period. Times are changing!

Inviting conversation about non-roster players in spring training (School of Roch)
The amount of time beat writers spend talking about players who have no chance of making the team is probably my least favorite thing about spring training.

Orioles re-sign Eshelman on minor league deal (Orioles.com)
Something will have either gone very wrong or very right for Thomas Eshelman to pitch for the 2021 Orioles. And I think it’s much more likely to be very wrong.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2007 reliever Rob Bell, and 1963-65 catcher Dick Brown, no known relation to yours truly.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Founding Father Benjamin Franklin (1706), television’s Betty White (1922), hairdresser and businessman Vidal Sassoon (1928), actor James Earl Jones (1931), and singer-songwriter Kid Rock (1971).

On this day in history...

In 1781, American troops defeated the British in the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina, eventually leading to the Americans being able to recapture the state from British control.

In 1920, the Volstead Act went into effect, beginning Prohibition in America.

In 1944, during World War II, the Allies initiated the Battle of Monte Cassino with an assault on the Italian hill. The battle was not won until a fourth assault nearly four months later, at the cost of 55,000 Allied casualties.

In 1961, President Eisenhower delivered his farewell address to the country, in which he warned of the growing power of the military-industrial complex.

In 1991, Operation Desert Storm began, with coalition aircraft launching strikes in Iraq in the early morning hours.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 17. Have a safe Sunday.