There are now 67 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. The first Grapefruit League outing is a mere month and three days away, and of course, pitchers and catchers reporting to Sarasota stands even closer, now 23 days away, with the full squad arriving four weeks from today.
Between now and then, it seems that we may be in for a barrage of stories about how the Orioles are doing weird stuff. The first glimpse of this came on Friday night, when The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli reported that the Orioles-owned MASN is slashing costs, including cutting pre- and post-game programming and a number of veteran broadcasters, among them Birdland treasure Gary Thorne.
On Saturday afternoon, a more Orioles player-centered weird story arrived, also from The Athletic, as Dan Connolly reported that the Orioles sought to get salary deferments negotiated into the 2021 contracts offered to arbitration-eligible players Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander. A longtime agent quoted by Connolly said, “Something like that has never been brought to me by a club in any way, shape, or form.”
The deferred money did not make it into the final agreement with Mancini, and the team didn’t reach an agreement with Santander at all, so he’ll be heading to a hearing next month over a gap of less than $400,000.
It is not encouraging to think of whatever is motivating these peculiar decisions. No doubt that the pandemic that has been a global concern for nearly a full year now is a large chunk of the explanation. Even a poorly-attended team makes some money on ticket sales and sales of overpriced hot dogs and beer and there was none of that in the shortened 2020 season.
Yet every team faced the same constraints, and there is no other team that has had its TV network cut pre- and post-game programming to my knowledge. There is also no other team that is known to have offered the salary deferments on arbitration salaries that stunned Connolly’s sources.
The surprising ongoing rumbling about the O’s potentially dealing Santander must be viewed as being related to this other stuff. We’ve already seen the Orioles cheap out and deal Jose Iglesias and his paltry $3.5 million salary this season. Santander is due to make even less than that.
If Santander does end up being dealt, the team will surely try to spin it as being confident in their outfield prospect depth. It would not be a bad outcome if the Orioles were proven correct in that regard. But even so, it’s not a great sign for the future if the Orioles are the only team out there slashing expenses in this way. Eventually there will be a potentially good team in Baltimore that needs to have a big investment in its payroll to be great and stay great. If they’re still pinching pennies by then, that won’t be fun.
Around the blogO’sphere
‘I’ll treasure that forever’: Gary Thorne not returning to Orioles broadcasts in 2021 (Baltimore Sun)
Gary Thorne deserved much better than to have to bid good-bye to Orioles fans in a newspaper article.
Sanders talks about Diaz, McKenna, Mountcastle (School of Roch)
It would be nice if there are multiple players in the next wave of Orioles outfield prospects who can make it as big league regulars.
Why O’s fans yell “Oh!” during anthem (Orioles.com)
Turns out to be exactly as self-explanatory as you always imagined.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2016 five-game reliever Ashur Tolliver, and 1978-83 reliever Tim Stoddard.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: wall-building emperor Hadrian (76), Prussian king Frederick the Great (1712), novelist Edith Wharton (1862), actor Ernest Borgnine (1917), comedian Yakov Smirnoff (1951), and gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton (1968).
On this day in history...
In 41, the Roman emperor Caligula was assassinated by his Praetorian Guard, leading to Caligula’s uncle Claudius becoming emperor.
In 1848, gold was discovered near modern day Sacramento, California, sparking the California Gold Rush.
In 1933, the state of Missouri ratified the 20th Amendment, bringing it into effect. The amendment moved the beginning of Congressional and presidential terms from March to January, shortening the “lame duck” post-election period. Maryland did not ratify the amendment until after it took effect, the 47th of the then 48 states to do so.
In 1984, Apple’s first Macintosh computer went on sale in the United States.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 24. Have a safe Sunday.