There are now three months and eleven days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2022. We’re under two months until pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota. This continues to assume the ownership-imposed lockout ends in time to avoid 2022 calendar disruptions. That may not end up being the case.
Directly Orioles-related news remains slim, but we did get some former Oriole-related news over the weekend as the Mets announced the hiring of Buck Showalter as their next manager. For any O’s fans who’d experience some happiness if Buck won a World Series ring - and I certainly include myself in that group - that’s another team whose success you might enjoy, assuming there is success to enjoy.
If the pattern from Buck’s past managerial stops holds, it’s not going to be 2022 where the Mets really make the leap. In every other job of his career, including here with the Orioles, it was the second full season where there was a big improvement in the standings. The 2011 O’s still disappointed at 69-93 before reversing that entirely to 93-69 in 2012.
On the other hand, Buck’s other manager jobs didn’t come in with his first season running concurrently with massive free agent signings like ace Max Scherzer. Perhaps he has a better tailwind heading into his second stint managing in the Big Apple. Until Adley Rutschman arrives on the Orioles, the Buck on the Mets angle may be more interesting than anything happening with the O’s. Or at least as interesting as whether John Means and Cedric Mullins can follow up on their 2021 seasons.
The Buck hiring did shake loose one bit of information that’s news to me, and maybe to you too. Writing in reaction to the Mets bringing Buck aboard, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal talked up the idea of Buck bringing accountability with him. That was something we heard from O’s players, especially Adam Jones, early in Buck’s time here.
The specific example Rosenthal highlights is that Buck will take accountability for his own mistakes. Both Zack Britton and Manny Machado relayed that Buck apologized to the team about the infamous decision not to pitch Britton in the tied extra innings of the 2016 wild card game. Britton’s five years later recollection is not far off from what a number of Orioles fans have sought as a rationale to avoid being haunted by it forever: “I’m going to be honest: I don’t think he thought we were going to score.” Knowing Buck apologized to the team helps relieve some of the bitterness, at least for me.
One thing that will be nice about when the Orioles have a new good era is there will be some new just-missed decisions to cause us angst and we don’t have to keep thinking about ones from 2016. Or even better, they can just win the dang World Series and there’s no end-of-season angst at all, at least for one year.
Around the blogO’sphere
Rutschman should lead charge from farm to major leagues (Steve Melewski)
Like many people, Steve is looking forward to Rutschman, as well as Kyle Stowers and maybe even Grayson Rodriguez. Let’s hope those guys are all settled in to solid performance by year’s end.
‘He always kept me humble’: Manny Machado praises Mets’ hire of Buck Showalter (The Athletic)
Among the list of people with plenty of nice things to say about the new Mets manager is Manny Machado.
Anticipating some camp competitions (School of Roch)
Most of the camp intrigue, such as it is, involves who’s going to end up in the rotation behind John Means and Jordan Lyles. I’m not excited to find out. Who lands in the non-first base positions in the infield is to be figured out as well. I’m hoping this outcome excites me by year’s end.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 1995, the Orioles officially signed B.J. Surhoff to a three-year contract. Over that three year deal, he batted .285/.343/.466, with 3+ bWAR seasons in the O’s two playoff years in ‘96 and ‘97. If only every Orioles free agent signing could work out so well.
One current Oriole has a birthday today. Happy 29th to reliever Joey Krehbiel, who pitched in five games for the team this year after arriving on a September waiver claim. Also born today was 2007-09’s Aubrey Huff, most memorable to this writer for the time he said Baltimore is a horseshit city and then got booed the next Opening Day. I do not wish him a happy birthday.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: tire magnate Harvey Samuel Firestone (1868), Hall of Fame baseball executive Branch Rickey (1881), Law & Order creator Dick Wolf (1946), and actor Jonah Hill (1983).
On this day in history...
In 1803, the ceremony that formalized the completion of the Louisiana Purchase was held in New Orleans. The United States of America paid $15 million to France for a claim on 828,000 square miles of territory, including land that covers parts of 15 states today.
In 1946, It’s A Wonderful Life premiered in New York City.
In 1968, the serial murderer known as the Zodiac Killer committed his first two known murders, killing two teenagers in a parking lot.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 20. Have a safe Monday.