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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Orioles unveil new Dominican Republic academy

It’s all about the international market as the Orioles take their efforts in the Dominican Republic to the next level with a brand new academy.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles-Workouts Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Remember when the Orioles were “philosophically not participating” in the international market? That years-old quote from the team’s former GM Dan Duquette will soon feel like it came from another realm because on Tuesday the O’s unveiled their brand new academy in the Dominican Republic, and it is a beaut.

The O’s brought all the pomp and circumstance you could imagine to the ceremony. Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde were both present, as well as all-world closer Félix Bautista, and some familiar former O’s, like Melvin Mora, Nelson Cruz, and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. among others.

The academy is located in San Antonio de Guerra. It features three baseball fields, batting cages, pitching mounds, gym equipment, and residential housing. It’s like a modest college campus where everyone majors in baseball. For the players that will soon occupy the building, that is likely a dream come true.

According to the team, they are planning to put it to use right away, hosting a small camp for their latest class of international signees next week. Class starts on Monday.

It’s a nice reminder that as much as the Orioles have improved in the scouting and player development front these past five years, there remains room for improvement. The international pipeline is still building up for the O’s, and the team has not yet seen one of their homegrown youngsters from the program make it to the big leagues. That should change in the next year or two. And with this sort of infrastructure behind them it should only be the beginning.

Links

Hearing from two players in the O’s new international signing class | Steve Melewski
It is important to remember that Orioles did not entirely ignore the international market prior to Elias’ arrival. Somehow they stumbled upon the likes of Jonathan Schoop and Eduardo Rodriguez. But imagine how much better they could do if they actually tried! Maybe we will soon find out.

Dominican Republic leftovers for breakfast | Roch Kubatko
If you wanted to hear from some of the notable players that were spotted at the academy unveiling, this is your chance. Quotes aplenty in this blog.

Who will make the Orioles Opening Day roster? An early look | The Baltimore Banner
Hopefully another starting pitcher that still isn’t even in the organization and maybe even another mid-level bullpen piece. Pretty, pretty please, Mike!

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Rob Bell turns 47 today. The tall righty spent part of the 2007 season as a member of the Orioles’ bullpen.
  • The late Dick Brown (b. 1935, d. 1970) was born on this day. He was a catcher with the O’s from 1963-65. His career came to an end during the following spring training, when it was discovered that he had a brain tumor. Brown became a scout for the organization until his death.
  • A posthumous birthday for Jay Heard (b. 1920, d. 1999). The southpaw pitched in two games for the 1954 Orioles.

This day in O’s history

This has been a slow day in Orioles’ history, according to Baseball Reference. Instead, here are some happenings from beyond Birdland:

1903 - El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Ricos becomes part of the U.S. National Forest System.

1917 - The United States pays $25 million to Denmark in exchange for the Virgin Islands.

1920 - The Volstad Act goes into effect, beginning alcohol prohibition in the United States.