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Saturday Bird Droppings: A big weekend for Baltimore sports

In O’s news: Basallo is a rocket, spring is coming, and holes still remain.

Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Good Morning, Birdland!

This weekend is not about the Orioles, not even locally. Spring training is still weeks away, the team hasn’t made a big player acquisition in weeks, and there’s going to be a pretty big game happening down the street today when the Ravens host the Texans in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. It’s OK to be second fiddle sometimes, and this time around it feels perfectly fine considering just how well the Orioles’ own season went in 2023.

Many of us are all too familiar with the years of brutal baseball that’s been played at Camden Yards. At the same time, the Ravens were perpetually competitive, leading to a common saying of “well, at least we’ve got out football team” at the conclusion of yet another disastrous season for the Orioles.

That subsided for a bit from 2012 through 2016, a moment in time where the O’s were playoff contenders and the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Baltimore had two franchises worth bragging about.

Those good feelings disappeared on the orange side of Charm City when the Orioles fell apart in 2018, and then experienced the depths of a massive rebuild from 2019 through 2021.

But now, we’ve got it all, baby! The Orioles just led the AL in wins with their young squad, and the Ravens are the AFC’s top seed, featuring a two-time MVP at quarterback. As it stands, the vibes are immaculate in Baltimore, as they often are when our teams are at the top of their game.

I understand that not all Orioles fans are also Ravens fans, so I speak for just myself when I say that, in this instance, I’m fine with not proclaiming it “baseball season” for a few more weeks.

And for those of you that aren’t football fans at all, just remember that the people who cheer for the Texans probably also like the Astros. Disgusting, right? The choice is clear. Go Ravens!


1 potential upgrade for each team before camp |
Hmm...I wonder what the Orioles might still need. Ya know, it’s just so hard to say because the roster is flawless in every way. Without clicking through on this link I will just assume they put “N/A” for the O’s and moved on to the next team.

A little look ahead to Orioles spring training | Roch Kubatko
Today marks one month until the first full squad workout of Orioles spring training. Pitchers and catchers will have already been in Sarasota for at least five days at that point. It’s getting real, folks!

After three straight years with the Baseball America No. 1 player, could O’s extend streak? | Steve Melewski
Samuel Basallo took off last season, and there is every reason to believe he will keep on producing in 2024. If that happens, the Orioles will have quite an interesting situation on their hands. Basallo is already at Double-A as a 19-year-old. If he continues on his current climb, he’s going to be big league ready pretty soon. It would be neat to see him share both the first base and catcher roles with Adley Rutschman sometime in 2025. That set-up could keep them both fresh and the lineup stacked on a daily basis.

Clearly, Mike Elias doesn’t want to mess with O’s great chemistry | Baltimore Baseball
Maybe the headline is meant to be tongue-in-check? While chemistry does seem to be a crucial element of Elias’ idea behind team-building, that doesn’t really feel like the reason that a trade for a starter is yet to materialize this winter. The Orioles aren’t alone in this. Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell are still on the market, and none of the high-profile arms available for trade have been moved yet. That is an indication that teams aren’t on the same wavelength as far as player value, which has the entire market gridlocked. Elias has earned the benefit of the doubt, and at this point he may prefer to see what this group has in the first half of the season before pulling the trigger on anything significant.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Matt Albers turns 41. The righty came to the Orioles as part of the Miguel Tejada trade with the Astros in 2007. He went on to spend three seasons in Baltimore, mostly working out of the bullpen from 2008 through 2010.
  • David Lough is 38 years old. The Orioles added him in 2013, sending Danny Valencia to the Royals in the deal. Lough played two years in the Orioles’ outfield from 2014 through 2015.
  • Luis Exposito is 37 years old. He played nine games for the 2012 Orioles, all coming behind the plate.
  • Ozzie Guillén turns 60. Perhaps better known for his antics as a manager at this point, Guillén had a 16-season playing career first. That include just a portion of the 1998 season in Baltimore.
  • Bill Scherrer is 66 today. The southpaw pitched in four games for the 1988 O’s.
  • The late Dave Boswell (b. 1945, d. 2012) was born on this day in Baltimore. The Calvert Hall alum finished up his big league career with a 15-game stint on his hometown team in 1971.
  • A posthumous birthday for Gene Stephens (b. 1933, d. 2019). He spent partial seasons in 1960 and ‘61 patrolling the Orioles’ outfield.

This day in O’s history

1977 - The Orioles trade team legend Paul Blair to the Yankees in exchange for two prospects, Rick Bladt and Elliott Maddox.

2006 - The O’s lose first baseman Walter Young on waivers to the San Diego Padres.