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Monday Bird Droppings: Baseball gets the stage back in Baltimore

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Football season is over in Baltimore, which means it’s baseball season! Except there’s no idea when the lockout will end and the Orioles actually play.

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Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles

Hello, friends.

There are now two months and three weeks remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. It’s a mere month and five days wait for pitchers and catchers to report to Sarasota. This number is small enough where it starts to feel less likely that the ownership-imposed lockout of MLB players will resolve in time, but maybe there will be a pleasant surprise.

It’s too bad there’s not a smooth path towards the coming season, because after yesterday, baseball is next up in Birdland. The final nail was put in the coffin of the Ravens season with their loss in their last game yesterday, and as for that segment of Orioles fans who are fans of the soon-to-be-renamed Football Team, well, you don’t need me to tell you anything. You already know.

It’s nice in those years when the inferior sport can divert local sports attention deeper into January than this, but that’s not the way this season worked out. So, baseball, here we come! Eventually.

If there is some small comfort to be had, it’s that if the lockout does impact the 2022 calendar, it won’t throw off the entirety of the minor league schedule in the way that the COVID pandemic did in 2020.

Most of the players who are down on the farm who are currently most exciting, and all of the ones who have a chance to some day develop into something exciting, will still be playing games. The only exceptions here are players already on the 40-man roster, who by virtue of being in the MLB Players Association are locked out.

Among the high-level prospects, that’s Kyle Bradish, DL Hall, and Kevin Smith. Hard luck Yusniel Diaz would run into another bit of bad fortune, since he’s on the 40-man too and would not be able to play himself back into the picture. Just about everyone else can get in some minor league time to try to develop.

I guess we’ll see what happens. I’ve been following the thoughts of some national baseball writers as the lockout has gone on, and people who were optimistic last month are feeling less optimistic now. One person’s estimate I saw last week suggested that the league and players could reach a deal as late as March 1 without having any postponement to the season calendar. That’s good if the final date to settle things is so late, but at the same time, it’s going to be a long time between now and then if the resolution takes that long and two weeks of spring training is scratched.

One cool non-Orioles-related baseball tidbit from over the weekend. The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler reported on Sunday night that the Yankees have hired Rachel Balkovec to be the manager of their Low-A affiliate, the Tampa Tarpons. She has been in other coaching positions for Yankees affiliates since her hire in 2019 and she will be the first woman to manage any affiliated minor league team. As a matter of principle I don’t root for any Yankees for anything, but even so I have to admit it will be cool to see if she succeeds and keeps climbing the coaching or managing ladder.

Around the blogO’sphere

Extension candidate: Adley Rutschman (MLBTR)
This article kicks around the idea of the Orioles offering their #1 prospect a pre-career contract extension without doing much to narrow down the dollar range that might make sense for both sides.

The hype for Adley Rutschman is real in Birdland. There’s already at least one baby named Adley where Rutschman is the reason why. Now that’s getting in on the ground floor.

Orioles are favorites to sign Cuban infielder Cesar Prieto (Beisbol FR)
The article is in Spanish. MLB.com writer Francys Romero reports that the Orioles are expected to sign 22-year-old Cesar Prieto when the next international signing period opens on Saturday. A Fangraphs scouting report says “His swing and game resemble Eric Sogard’s,” which may pump the brakes on excitement a bit. This is another signing where the symbolic importance outshines the immediate impact.

Starting with the internal candidates for the Orioles 2022 rotation (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff runs through every starting pitcher who sucked last year and is back to try to suck less this year. Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann seems to be penciled in as the #3 starter, which is grim.

Maryland is eager to accommodate Orioles as stadium lease talks continue past original deadline (The Baltimore Sun)
The Orioles lease at Camden Yards is up after 2023, though the team holds the right to exercise a five-year extension through 2028.

Padres deny Mets permission to interview Ryan Flaherty for bench coach job (The Athletic)
Former Orioles manager Buck Showalter seems to have had his former longtime utility player Ryan Flaherty on the list of possible bench coaches, but the Padres have not given permission for Flaherty, their quality control coach,” to interview for the promotion.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1991, the Orioles traded Steve Finley, Pete Harnisch, and Curt Schilling to the Astros for Glenn Davis. 31 years later, it doesn’t look any better.

In 2012, the O’s reached an official agreement with Taiwanese free agent pitcher Wei-Yin Chen for a three-year contract with a fourth year option. At the end of the contract, Chen had posted a 3.72 ERA across four seasons. They could stand to find another guy like him.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2016 one-game pitcher Ariel Miranda, and 2001-05 pitcher Rick Bauer.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey (1938), singer-songwriter Rod Stewart (1945), boxer and grill enthusiast George Foreman (1949), singer-songwriter Pat Benatar (1953), and actor Jemaine Clement (1974).

On this day in history...

In 49 BC, Julius Caesar led a crossing of the Rubicon river, marking a point of no return for the start of a civil war that eventually turned the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Even thousands of years later, “crossing the Rubicon” survives as a turn of phrase.

In 1776 AD, the Thomas Paine pamphlet Common Sense, which was the first major published writing arguing for American independence, had its first printing. A 2005 book about Paine claimed the pamphlet as the best-selling American title in history.

In 1920, the conflict we now recognize as World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles, signed the previous June, took effect.

In 1984, the United States returned to having full diplomatic relations with Holy See. An 1867 act of Congress had banned public funding for a diplomatic envoy to Vatican City.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 10. Have a safe Monday.