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Thursday Bird Droppings: The lockout is two weeks old edition

It feels like the MLB ownership lockout has been going on for longer than two weeks. Reportedly, no big talks will take place until January.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now three months and 15 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2022. It’s only two months to go until pitchers and catchers are supposed to report to Sarasota for spring training!

These countdown days continue to assume that the owner lockout will be resolved before any disruptions to the schedule. Perhaps that’s an optimistic assumption. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reported on Wednesday night that there aren’t expected to be any further talks on the “core economics” of a new bargaining agreement until January. There are maybe six weeks to go to settle things before the calendar gets knocked off course. Two of those six weeks are getting punted with no further productivity. It’s not ideal.

Baseball fans can do nothing but sit around and wait for there to be a resolution. For Orioles fans, this produces a similar outcome to the last several Decembers. The team was not particularly active in earlier Mike Elias Decembers because they weren’t trying to be good. This is illustrated by this December’s signing (still pending physical after the lockout) of Jordan Lyles, who received the largest free agent contract of the Elias era at $7 million guaranteed. That’s sad considering Lyles stunk in 2021, with a 5.15 ERA.

Prior to Elias, they weren’t active in Dan Duquette Decembers either because they thought the path to being good passed through doing nothing until February and then raiding the discount bin. This did not result in a quality team in 2017 or 2018, nor a quality rotation for the wild card participant 2016 team.

In the meantime, have you been reading our 1966 retro recaps? The games we’ve covered this week include Andrea’s recap of a doubleheader that saw Frank Robinson blast a home run all the way out of Memorial Stadium, one of those old timey Baltimore sports legends that almost seems too crazy to be true, except for the fact that it happened. Earlier in the week, Stacey went back in time for a 15-inning affair that ended with a Boog Powell walkoff. Those guys were pretty good.

Are you all done with your holiday shopping? Time is running out. I’m not done mine yet. I hope to scratch most of my remaining names off the list today, but who knows. Do you have any other fun plans between now and Christmas? “Sit at home and stream TV” is a perfectly valid plan, as long as you share with us what you’re streaming. Being the nerd that I am, I’m looking forward to the new season of The Witcher dropping on Netflix tomorrow, plus episodes continuing to be released of Amazon’s adaptations of The Expanse and The Wheel of Time.

Around the blogO’sphere

Taking another look at the Orioles’ hires and promotions (School of Roch)
Roch runs down a variety of promotions and job title changes in the Orioles coaching staff and front office, including several analytics guys getting bumped up to director titles. Hope they’re getting a raise to go with the title going up a level!

Orioles following baseball trend with younger, less experienced coaching staff (Baltimore Baseball)
The Orioles officially announced the 2022 coaching staff this week, which provided Rich Dubroff with a reason to talk about the O’s young, co-hitting coach hires. A different Orioles beat writer who shall remain nameless would do well to absorb that the team is following a trend here.

What can Orioles fans expect from Adley Rutschman’s anticipated debut in 2022? (Press Box Online)
Adley Rutschman is the biggest potential difference between the 2021 and 2022 Orioles. If things go well for him, even another losing-heavy season will be a bit easier to stomach. As Press Box’s Matt Kremnitzer concludes, “For as much fun as Rutschman’s debut should be, it’ll be even more fun when the Orioles choose to add reinforcements.” We already know it won’t be next year where we see quality players joining the MLB team from outside the organization, so... maybe two years from now?

Fluke or breakout: Is Cedric Mullins’ 2021 success sustainable? (Fangraphs)
FG’s Jake Mailhot takes a bit of a dive into the change in Cedric Mullins’ swing mechanics from 2018 to 2021 and seems to come away believing in some durable improvement. He notes that Mullins equaling this year’s breakout performance would be an 80th-90th percentile outcome, but the 50th percentile of 3.6 WAR would be plenty welcome.

Memory lane: The 2015 Eastern League champion Bowie Baysox (Steve Melewski)
Two weeks into the lockout, Steve is thinking back six years to when the Orioles Double-A team won its league title, the most recent O’s affiliate to do so. And I, in turn, am remembering how then-GM Dan Duquette acted like this was a sign of strength in the farm system even though the team was largely full of old-for-the-level non-prospects.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2003, the Orioles reached an agreement with Miguel Tejada on a six year, $72 million contract, which at the time was the largest contract ever handed out by the team. “It’s definitely safe for me to buy a player’s jersey when he signed a six year contract,” I said to myself a few months later. I was not correct. The jersey remains in a closet at my parents house that I have not yet emptied out.

There are several former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2021 one-game knuckler Mickey Jannis, 2006 reliever Chris Britton, 1987-92/96 infielder Billy Ripken, and 1975-87/91-92 pitcher and later general manager Mike Flanagan. Today would have marked Flanagan’s 70th birthday.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: composer Ludwig von Beethoven (1770), anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901), author Arthur C. Clarke (1917), author Philip K. Dick (1928), and actress Krysten Ritter (1981).

On this day in history...

In 755, Tang dynasty general An Lushan launched a rebellion against the reigning emperor. Over about seven years of war, modern estimates suggest there were 13 million deaths resulting from the conflict and its societal upheaval.

In 1653, Oliver Cromwell was proclaimed Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He held the post for about five years until he died of natural causes.

In 1775, colonists in Boston snuck into the harbor and dumped hundreds of crates of tea into the water. This protest against the Tea Act is more commonly known today as the Boston Tea Party.

In 1937, two men, Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe, attempted an escape from the Alcatraz prison. The men, convicted of bank robbery and sent to Alcatraz due to earlier escape attempts in Oklahoma, are believed to have drowned in the cold water with bodies swept out to sea, though their remains were never found.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 16. Have a safe Thursday.