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New Year’s Day Bird Droppings: New year dreams of a better Orioles team

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Is this going to be the year the Orioles start to suck less? A guy can dream, and this one sure is.

New York Cleans Up After New Year Celebrations
If we’re lucky, 2022 will bring less Orioles trash than 2021 did.

Hello, friends. Happy New Year!

There are now two months and 30 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. We are now in the year where that will happen. Pitchers and catchers are a mere month and two weeks away from reporting to Sarasota to start spring training. As has been the case all offseason, these dates assume a resolution to the ownership-imposed lockout in time to avoid disruptions to the season calendar. Perhaps now that we’re into 2022, there will be some more urgency in the talks.

Can I tell you a dangerous secret? I feel better about the Orioles heading into 2022 than I did heading into 2021. This is dangerous because it feels like the Orioles do not do well when I start to feel good about them. I felt good about the cavalry once! It just didn’t work out. I thought Matt Wieters would single-handedly alter the direction of the franchise. That wasn’t how things turned out with him either.

Still, it’s hard not to start to feel some excitement, isn’t it? Adley Rutschman is coming! Perhaps not long after him, Grayson Rodriguez is coming. Maybe if he strikes out a bit less often or hits enough dingers, Kyle Stowers will be coming. And behind Rodriguez perhaps other pitchers will show up too: Kyle Bradish, or Kevin Smith, or maybe someone less regarded than these guys right now.

I’m not saying I expect the 2022 Orioles to surprise everyone and make the playoffs the way that the Orioles of a decade ago suddenly ascended from the depths. The sad truth is that even if the O’s of 2022 added the same number of wins from the prior year as the 2012 team did, that would still only get them to... 76 wins. Fictional drug lord Stringer Bell once noted that nobody got nothing to say about a 40 degree day. A 76 win season might be the baseball team equivalent.

What I do think is it should be more fun. I might turn out to feel like a sucker for believing that the Orioles will stay on that Astros trajectory, where they went from 51 wins in 2013 to 70 wins in 2014. Sucker or not, I believe it anyway. That would be a big, exciting leap, as long as it was fueled by fun, young players showing up and starting to look like the core of a future good team.

If improvement is coming from this team, it’s probably not going to be Jordan Lyles or Rougned Odor making that happen. I guess we’ll see if things turn out that way. As long as the lockout ends in time.

Around the blogO’sphere

A few more highlights from 2021 (School of Roch)
One must give it to Roch: When John Means threw a no-hitter, that was definitely a highlight of the 2021 Orioles season.

2022 figures to be year Orioles rebuild starts paying dividends (The Baltimore Sun)
It’s not only me who’s coming into this year thinking somewhat better things might be coming in Birdland. The Sun’s Nathan Ruiz is in the club too.

Orioles would welcome a happier new year (Baltimore Baseball)
Them and me both! Rich Dubroff is also in the club, so at least if I end up being totally wrong, I guess I’ll have some good company.

Sizing up one 2022 rotation candidate (Steve Melewski)
Start off your new year right by thinking about... Mike Baumann? Eh. Maybe he’s capable of better this year than he showed us last year. And if he’s not then he probably won’t stay in the picture for much longer.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2012 outfielder Xavier Avery, 2006 infielder/outfielder Fernando Tatis, and 1958 infielder Foster Castleman.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your New Year’s birthday buddies include: midnight rider Paul Revere (1735), flag designer Betsy Ross (1752), and author E. M. Forster (1879).

On this day in history...

In 45 BC, by edict of Julius Caesar, a new calendar took effect in the Roman Empire with January 1 as the first day of the new year. The Julian calendar was updated in 1582 to the now-standard Gregorian calendar, which accounted for the fact that over many centuries the leap year every fourth year led to a calendar that had been knocked off the solar year by about two weeks.

In 1773 AD, a church service in Buckinghamshire in England saw the first use of a hymn that is today recognized by the title “Amazing Grace.” On that day, however, it was simply known as “1 Chronicles 17: 16-17.”

In 1808, the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807 took effect in the United States of America, the very first day that the Constitution allowed such a ban on importing slaves.

In 1902, the first Rose Bowl game took place, with the University of Michigan trampling Stanford, 49-0. This was also the first collegiate bowl game. The game wasn’t played annually until 1916 and did not acquire the Rose Bowl moniker until 1923.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 1. Have a safe new year.