For most of my life, including this year, the playoffs happen and as an Orioles fan I have no investment. My favorite team was not good enough and there is nothing much to think about them until the offseason because nothing will change.
That’s mostly true, but yesterday at least brought some occasion to think about a better Orioles future. The team announced that they had broken ground on their new facility in the Dominican Republic, what is set to be a state-of-the-art 22.5-acre complex that will house the Orioles player development operations for Latin and South America and the Caribbean. The occasion marked a bit of a party atmosphere with a number of 21st century Orioles (pictured above) from the region there to help participate.
It’s a nice thing to get excited about, although of course the reality is that if the Orioles had been doing what they should have been doing, this kind of facility would have been built before now. They did not invest in that area before Mike Elias came along, so now they’re on the long road to try to catch up.
I think it certainly won’t hurt them in trying to lure better and better prospects in the region if they are able to show they’re serious not just with a suitcase full of cash but with a quality environment to develop players skills and turn them into MLBers. It’s just worth remembering that this is a long-term investment. It’s not going to bear fruit in two years or maybe even five years. Building prospect depth and quality here that will bubble up to the big league Orioles will take time.
A more immediate potential impact for Orioles prospects is the announcement of Arizona Fall League rosters from yesterday. On the other hand, maybe not. It’s not a very exciting roster of prospects. Outfielder Kyle Stowers, the Orioles co-Minor League Player of the Year and 2021 minor league home run champion, is the biggest and in some senses only name prospect heading out there.
Former Manny Machado trade headliner Yusniel Diaz will also be joining the AFL’s Mesa Solar Sox for the next several weeks. Perhaps he can start to rebound in a way he has not been able to for a couple of years now.
And then for the present day, there’s the MLB playoffs. Today is going to be Game 1 for both of the American League Division Series matchups. White Sox-Astros is set to get under way at 4:07, with Red Sox-Rays getting going at 8:07 Eastern. Both of these games will be broadcast on FS1.
Around the blogO’sphere
Which Orioles took the biggest steps up, and which took the biggest steps back, this season? (The Baltimore Sun)
One freebie for an “up” season is Cedric Mullins. The Sun is more down on Dean Kremer, Paul Fry, and Anthony Santander. Hard to disagree with any of those.
Rutschman, Rodriguez win Double-A honors (Orioles.com)
Grayson Rodriguez was recognized as the Pitcher of the Year for the Double-A Northeast league. In the same set of honors, Adley Rutschman was dubbed the league’s top MLB prospect.
A ‘21 highlight: Ryan Mountcastle’s push for Rookie of the Year (Steve Melewski)
I enjoyed Mountcastle’s team-leading 33 home runs, but I think anyone expecting him to win the ROY award, or even come in the top three of voting, is going to end up disappointed.
Finding room for players on 60-day injured list (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff notes that the Orioles had seven players on the 60-day IL at season’s end. Those players don’t take up a 40-man roster spot during the season, but there’s no IL over the offseason. He tries to sort through who could just get cut.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 2012, the Orioles played their first home playoff game in 15 years. The first eight innings of the game were fun, although those in attendance, including me, had to wait out a long rain delay before the game even began.
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2018-20 pitcher Alex Cobb, 1968 reliever John O’Donoghue, and 1956 reserve infielder Grady Hatton.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Declaration of Independence signer Caesar Rodney (1728), physicist Niels Bohr (1885), anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1931), cellist Yo-Yo Ma (1955), and Maryland-born singer-songwriter Toni Braxton (1967).
On this day in history...
In 1763, Great Britain’s King George III issued a Royal Proclamation following the terms of the end of the Seven Years’ War, which closed lands north and west of the Allegheny Mountains in North America to settlers.
In 1879, two empires, Germany and Austria-Hungary, formalized the Dual Alliance to stand against Russia, which about 35 years later proved significant in escalating the conflict we now know as World War I.
In 1919, the Netherlands founded its flag carrier airline, KLM. It’s noteworthy today for being the airline that has operated under its original name for the longest time.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on October 7. Have a safe Thursday.