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Trey Mancini Jersey

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Fangraphs has released their 2020 Steamer projections. What do they predict for the Baltimore Orioles?
Immediate Disclaimer: We’re not gathering any major takeaways from the recently released 2020 Steamer projections on Fangraphs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t utilize them for what they’re best for, giving us something to talk about during a long, likely pretty quiet offseason for the Baltimore Orioles.

Here are some of the more interesting projections, including a few that would be welcomed numbers from Orioles players and a few that have us scratching our heads a bit.

Per Steamer, only four Orioles hitters are projected to finish with an fWAR higher than 1.0, with Trey Mancini leading the way at 1.9. Jonathan Villar (1.8), Hanser Alberto (1.4), and Austin Hays (1.2) are the other three. Mancini’s 30 doubles, 29 home runs, and 113 wRC+ are all projected to be team-highs.

There isn’t much that sticks out when it comes to the offense. A .246 average with 27 home runs for Renato Nunez seems on par, as does a 22 home run season with a .261/.305/.453 slash for a full year of Anthony Santander. A -0.5 fWAR season across 56 games for Chris Davis (.196 AVG, 11 HR, 91 K in 57 games) and a projected negative -0.1 fWAR from Stevie Wilkerson are also likely.

If Austin Hays can produce close to his projected 107 games played, 41 extra-base hits (19 home runs), .257/.298/.454 slash, 93 wRC+ it will be a successful season. He may have been electric in September, but can make it through an entire season while staying healthy?

I have questions about the catching projections. Steamer has Chance Sisco playing in 77 games and putting up a .238 average, .324 OBP, and 10 home runs, with Pedro Severino seeing action in 68 games with 21 extra-base hits, a .243 average, and a wRC+ of 83. There are still major questions surrounding Sisco’s future, so I’m not opposed to seeing him get the majority of the time behind the plate.

However, his projected 5.7 Defensive Rating is mind-boggling. According to Fangraphs, he recorded a -7.5 Defensive Rating in 2019. I’m not going to pretend to know the math that goes into creating these projections, but I put more faith into Chris Davis hitting .250 with 30 home runs next season than Sisco becoming valuable behind the plate. Only two catchers in all of baseball were rated worse than Sisco defensively this past season.

Baltimore Orioles 2020 Steamer Pitching Projections.
Here’s where things get even more interesting to look at. Steamer has Dylan Bundy leading not just Orioles pitching, but the entire Orioles roster with a 2.0 fWAR. His nine projected wins are tied with John Means for the team lead while his 8.54 K/9 IP and 5.12 ERA projections lead all starting pitchers.

Steamer doesn’t see a great season from John Means. Limited time in the major leagues plays a role here, but they have him going 9-13 with a 5.41 ERA, 1.4 fWAR, and a team-leading 41 home runs allowed. He recorded a 3.60 ERA in 2019, but owned a 4.41 FIP and 5.48 xFIP and a 30.9% groundball rate. Caleb Smith of the Miami Marlins was the only pitcher with at least 150 IP to record a lower GB rate last season. These numbers don’t help his 2020 projections.

As far as rookies are concerned, Steamer believes Dean Kremer will log the fourth-most innings, throwing 129 across 23 starts. He’s projected at 6-10 with a 5.62 ERA and 111 strikeouts. Keegan Akin is listed at 4-6 with a 5.82 ERA in 15 starts with an 8.09 K/9 IP rate (second-highest among starters) and a 4.93 BB/9 IP rate.

Akin’s command struggles are well noted and will be something to watch closely in spring training/early Triple-A starts next season. I wouldn’t be mad at all if Kremer posts something similar to these projections. That’s a fairly decent major league debut on a team likely to hit 100 losses again.

You can view the full Steamer projections here on Fangraphs. Check them out and let us know what you think? Think anyone will greatly outperform their projection? Is Steamer a little too high on anyone? Let us know!

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Hello, friends.

There were always bound to be times this season where the pleasant glow of a better future became hard to see in the face of the bright, hopeless light of the present day of the 2019 Orioles. The current stretch where the Orioles have lost six of their last seven games, with the offense scoring fewer than three runs per game on average in that time, is not one of the fun times.

Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Yankees was an exercise in futility. The Orioles combined to go 0-13 with runners in scoring position across both games. That’s a tough way to try to win a couple of games. The Baltimore Sun’s Nathan Ruiz noted that the Orioles are now 6-60 in those situations over their past ten games.

Check out Paul Folkemer’s recap to see what you missed in the first game, and Alex Church’s recap of the night half of the doubleheader to enlighten yourself about the second game.

After watching those games yesterday, what’s bringing me down about the Orioles right now is the outfield. One of the things I tried to tell myself heading into the season was that, at least we might finally be able to see a real outfield full of outfielders this season.

That has not proven to be the case. Yesterday saw first baseman Trey Mancini bump into utility infielder Steve Wilkerson while going to make a catch. That’s not a shock when you play infielders in the outfield and then expect them to do normal stuff. Mancini committed an error in the first game and Joey Rickard committed an error in the second game. Rickard simply failed to catch an easy ball in one of the worst-looking outfield plays you’ll ever see.

The hoped-for outfield from back in spring training hasn’t materialized yet. The struggles of Cedric Mullins to stay afloat at the MLB level, along with Rickard’s struggle while somehow staying on the roster, have left the Orioles frequently deploying the kind of patchwork that does no one any favors.

Maybe none of this really matters all that much as long as Orioles pitchers are going to continue to give up a bazillion home runs. But I’ll feel a little better about it if Mullins plays his way back to MLB, and Austin Hays gets himself into the mix as well.

The chase for the home runs allowed record continues. The Orioles gave up four home runs in the first game yesterday and one homer in the second game. That leaves them with 89 home runs surrendered in 42 games, a pace over a full season of 343 home runs allowed. The question continues to be when, rather than if, these O’s will blow past the record of 258 home runs allowed by the 2016 Reds.

Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 117 days ago. The Orioles have not yet announced any plans to retire his jersey number or erect his statue at Camden Yards.

Around the blogO’sphere
Rebuilding Baltimore Orioles already better than last year’s team (Forbes)
Sometimes this feels like it’s true and sometimes it doesn’t. Right now is one of the times where it doesn’t, so it’s nice to be reminded that maybe this is a little better.

Smith Jr. flourishing in the fast lane (
Dwight Smith Jr.’s advice from his retired MLB dad: “Don’t miss your fastball.” And this year, he hasn’t been.

Wrapping up 5-3 loss in Game 1 (School of Roch)
I’m including this one mostly because of the quotes from catcher Austin Wynns, who accurately summed up the home runs allowed stuff as “embarrassing.”

One year into his major league career, David Hess seeks to develop consistency (Baltimore Sun)
My pet peeve word right now that is meaningless in baseball commentary is “consistency.” David Hess IS consistent at not pitching well enough for MLB success, including yesterday when he gave up four home runs. He just hasn’t been good.

Elias on draft: “A rare opportunity to get an impact player” (Steve Melewski)
Mike Elias is not a guy who gives specifics very often, but it’s always enlightening to see what he has to say as far as a broad philosophy. For now, he says there are five players under strong consideration and one or two dark horse contenders.

Birthdays and anniversaries
Today in 1984, the Orioles released future Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer. In five games in the young season, he had a 9.17 ERA. His career 2.86 ERA in nearly 4,000 innings pitched remains impressive, as do his three Cy Young Awards, his never giving up a grand slam in MLB, and his remaining the only pitcher to ever win a World Series game in three different decades.

There are a handful of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2018 futility infielder Luis Sardinas, 2000 reserve Ivanon Coffie, and the late Dave Philley of the 1955-56/60-61 Orioles.

Today is also the birthday of current Orioles pitching coach Doug Brocail. He turns 52 years old today.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Alaska-purchasing Secretary of State William Seward (1801), actor Henry Fonda (1905), historian Studs Terkel (1912), artist Janet Jackson (1966), actress Tori Spelling (1973), and actress Megan Fox (1986).

On this day in history…
In 1843, what’s recognized as the first major wagon train set off from Elk Grove, Missouri along the Oregon Trail. If you’re close to my age, you probably remember the computer game.

In 1868, President Andrew Johnson avoided removal from office in his impeachment trial in the Senate by a margin of one vote.

In 1951, regularly scheduled transatlantic flights existed for the first time, as El Al Israel Airlines scheduled flights between what’s today JFK Airport in New York City and Heathrow Airport in London.

In 1966, China’s Communist Party issued the “May 16 Notice,” a simple title for what’s now known as the Cultural Revolution. Over the next decade, as many as several million Chinese were killed for suspicions of bourgeosie sympathies and thinking.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on May 16 – or at least, until something happens later when the Orioles play the Indians. The game is scheduled to start at the unusual time of 6:10 Eastern, so don’t say you weren’t warned. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!

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The Baltimore Orioles have added four Rule 5 draft-eligible prospects to the 40-man roster.
Finally, some Baltimore Orioles roster news! On Wednesday afternoon, hours before the 8 pm EST deadline to finalize 40-man rosters, the Orioles announced the addition of four prospects to the roster, protecting them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December.

Infielder turned outfielder Ryan Mountcastle, pitchers Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer, and outfielder Ryan McKenna have all been added to the 40-man roster. The roster now stands at 39 players.

It’s been assumed for a long time now that Mountcastle, Akin, and Kremer were locks to be protected. All three figure to be fixtures at the major league level by the end of next summer.

McKenna was on the bubble, with his elite defense and speed yet subpar offensive performance with Double-A Bowie last season. While many, ourselves included, have pushed the narrative of a down year for McKenna, he still recorded a wRC+ of 104, maintained a walk rate above 10%, and swiped 25 bases.

The speed is real, as is the defense. The emergence of Austin Hays in center field and crowded outfield situation gives the Orioles the opportunity to keep McKenna in the minors and not rush his development. Protecting him on the 40-man keeps him safe in the organization until Baltimore is ready to make another decision about his roster status down the road.

Many fans began calling for the addition of RHP Gray Fenter, but even with active rosters expanding to 26 players next year, the odds of another team selecting Fenter in the Rule 5 draft and him sticking around for a full season are slim. He’s a good pitcher and someone worth following closely. Not adding him isn’t a knock on him.

The one surprise is certainly RHP Cody Sedlock. Sedlock was a first-round pick of the Orioles back in 2016 and is coming off a dominant season in the minors, splitting time between High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie.

Between the two levels, Sedlock went 5-3 with a 2.84 ERA and 1.20 WHIP while striking out 100 hitters in 95 innings and limiting opponents to a .202 average. However, he’s spent the majority of his time in the Orioles organization dealing with injuries.

Like Fenter and his lack of experience above A-ball, Mike Elias seems to be gambling that other franchises will stay away from Sedlock, knowing his injury history and requirement to keep him on the active roster for a full season.

Brett Cumberland, the 29th ranked prospect in the Baltimore Orioles system, was also left unprotected. That move isn’t surprising. I don’t foresee any other team selecting Cumberland, giving the Orioles a bit more time to see if his well-regarded offensive tools come around.

With one roster spot open, will the Orioles look to make a waiver claim by the end of the week? Or will they bank it and use it down the road? Stay tuned to find out!

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Esta es la lista de los más valiosos en Series Mundiales, que comenzaron a premiarse en 1955, cuando Dodgers y Yankees.

Ha habido Series de dos y de tres ganadores y también de ninguno por la huelga. Esta distinción se considera una de las más importantes. Los ganadores son muy solicitados para modelar anuncios:

1955, Johnny Podres, Dodgers.
1956, Don Larsen, Yankees
1957, Lew Burdette, Bravos.
1958, Bob Turley, Yankees.
1959, Larry Sherry, Dodgers.
1960, Bobbt Ríchardson, Yankees.
1961, Whitey Ford, Yankees.
1962, Ralph Terry, Yankees.
1963, Sandy Koufav, Dodgers.
1964, Bod Gibson, Cardenales.
1965, Sandy Koufax, Dodgers.
1966, Frank Róbinson, Orioles.
1967, Bob Gibson, Cardenales.
1968, Mickey Lolich, Tigres.
1969, Donn Clendenon, Mets.
1970, Brooks Robinson, Orioles.
1971, Roberto Clemente, Piratas.
1972, Gene Ténace, Atléticos.
1973, Reggie Jackson, Atléticos.
1974, Rollie Fingers, Atléticos.
1975, Pete Rose, Rojos.
1976, Johnny Bench, Rojos.
1977, Reggie Jackson, Yankees.
1978, Bucky Dent, Yankees.
1979, Willie Stargel, Piratas.
1980, Mike Schmidt, Phillies.
1981 Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero y Steve Yeager, Dodgers (una de dos veces con más de uno).
1982, Darrell Porter, Cardenales.
1983, Rick Dempsey, Orioles.
1984, Allan Trammell, Tigres.
1985, Bret Saberhagen, Royals.
1986, Ray Knight, Mets.
1987, Frank Viola, Twins.
1988, Orel Hershiser, Dodgers.
1989, Dave Stewart, Atléticos.
1990, José Rijo, Rojos.
1991, Jack Morris, Twins.
1992, Pat Borders, Blue Jays.
1993, Paúl Mólitor, Blue Jays.
1994, Hubo huelga.
1995, Tom Glavine, Bravos.
1996, John Wetteland, Yaunankees.
1997, Liván Hernández, Marlins.
1998, Scott Brosius, Yankees.
1999, Mariano Rivera, Yankees.
2000, Derek Jeter, Yankees.
2001, Randy Johnson y Curt Schilling, Diamondbacks (segunda Serie con más de un ganador).
2002, Troy Glaus, Angelinos.
2003, Josh Beckett, Marlins.
2004, Manny Ramírez, Medias Rojas.
2005, Jeemaine Dye, Medias Blancas.
2006, David Eckstein, Cardenales.
2007, Mike Lowell, Medias Rojas.
2008, Cole Hamels, Phillies.
2009, Hidecki Matsui, Yankees.
2010, Edgar Rentería, Gigantes.
2011, David Freese, Cardenales.
2012, Pablo Sandoval, Gigantes.
2013, David Ortiz, Medias Rojas.
2014, Madison Bumgarner,
2015, Salvador Pérez, Royals.
2016, Ben Zobrist, Cachorros.
2017, George Springer, Astros.
2018, Steve Pearce, Medias Rojas.
2019, Stephen Strasburg, Nationals.

Stephen Strasburg aumentó número de lanzadores galardonados

Los Más Valiosos en Series Mundiales han sido 67 con Stephen Strasburg esta vez, y de esos, 29 son lanzadores. Esta distinción no comenzó con las Series, sino en 1955, y el primero fue el pitcher, Johnny Podres, de los Dodgers de Brooklyn.

Los habido de todas las posiciones, hasta un designado, Paúl Molitor, de los Blue Jays en 1993. También han pemiado un solo segunda base, Bobby Richardson, de los Yankees en 1960, quien igualmente es el único MVP de un equipo derrotado en la Serie, que ganaron los Piratas.

En año hubo dos Más Valiosos y en otro, tres. Ver la lista.

Diez de estos MVP han sido terceras bases, diez outfielders, siete catchers, cinco shortstops y tres primeras bases. Los primeros seis ganadores del título, solo recibieron un trofeo, pero desde 1961 se les entrega también un automóvil último modelo.

Estos Más Valiosos son escogidos por un grupo de periodistas de la Major League Baseball Writers Association, que se nombran para cada Serie.

El Más Valioso de la Serie Mundial de este año, Stephen Strasburg, llevaba 10 temporadas en lucha para que su equipo llegara a la Serie Mundial. En esta década ha ganado 112 juegos, frente a solo 58 derrotas y efectividad de 3.17.

A los 31 años, a este nativo de San Diego, ya se le consideraba uno de los mejores lanzadores de ambas Ligas, pero frenar la áspera artillería de los Astros en dos juegos de Serie Mundial, ha sido su consagración.

Y no solo tuvo 2-0 en la Serie, sino también 3-0 en los playoffs, lo que nadie había logrado sumar, 5-0. En la postemporada, su efectividad quedó en 1.46, con 36.1 innings lanzados.

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This post is part of a series concerning the 2020 Modern Baseball Era Committee ballot, covering executives and long-retired players whose candidacies will be voted upon at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on December 8. For an introduction to JAWS, see here. Several profiles in this series are adapted from work previously published at, Baseball Prospectus, and Futility Infielder. All WAR figures refer to the Baseball-Reference version unless otherwise indicated.

He didn’t swing a bat, throw a pitch or write out a lineup card, but Marvin Miller had a greater impact on major league baseball than just about any man who ever lived. In 1992, former Dodgers announcer Red Barber numbered him among the three most important figures in the game’s history, along with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson. As executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to ’82, Miller revolutionized the game, overseeing its biggest change since integration through the dismantling of the reserve clause and the dawn of free agency, thus shifting a century-old balance of power from the owners to the players. Miller helped the union secure a whole host of other important rights as well, from collective bargaining to salary arbitration to the use of agents in negotiations. During his tenure, the average salary of a major league player rose from $19,000 to over $240,000, and the MLBPA became the strongest labor union in the country. Yet both in his lifetime and since his death at the age of 95 in 2012, petty politics has prevented him from receiving proper recognition via enshrinement in the Hall of Fame — so much so that Miller, still feisty well into his 90s, took the unprecedented step of asking voters not to consider him.

Miller’s omission is particularly glaring in light of the extent to which the 21st century small-committee processes have honored nonplayers — executives, managers, and umpires — to a much greater degree than players. To some degree that’s understandable, given that the former group has have no other route into Cooperstown, unlike the post-1936 players under the purview of the BBWAA. Nonetheless, the contrast stands out; setting aside the 2006 Special Committee on the Negro Leagues, the count since 2001 is 15 execs, managers, and umps to seven players (four in the past two years). None of those people, from commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Bud Selig and owner Walter O’Malley on down, put their stamp on baseball to a greater degree than Miller. Somewhere within this mess is the galling reality that even the Hall of Fame players who benefited from the changes he wrought, who make up the largest portion of the committee process — and particularly who formed the vast majority of the electorate via the enlarged Veterans Committees from 2003-09 — have utterly failed in their capacity to honor him. Reggie Jackson, one of the earliest beneficiaries of free agency, never struck out in more embarrassing fashion than when he told reporters in 2003, “I looked at those ballots, and there was no one to put in.”

For as much sense as Miller’s inclusion in the Hall makes, the waters have muddied since his death. The reality is that a vote for him in this format will go against the wishes of his family, which has said repeatedly that they would boycott his induction. What’s more, as the only non-player on a ballot with limited space, a vote for him could prevent a deserving player from getting his due. His candidacy’s supporters must grapple with such considerations.

Bronx-born in 1917, Miller was raised in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn (inevitably, he became a Dodgers fan). He first walked picket lines with his parents; his father Alexander was a clothing salesman, active in the International Garment Workers Union, while his mother, Gertrude, was a member of the New York City teachers union. He graduated New York University in 1938 with a degree in economics, resolved labor-management disputes for the National Labor Board during World War II, and worked for the International Association of Machinists and the United Auto Workers before joining the staff of the United Steelworkers Union in 1950 and becoming its chief economist and negotiator.

Before Miller’s involvement with baseball, the players were barely organized. While attempts to unionize in opposition to a salary cap and the restrictions of the reserve clause, which bound players to teams indefinitely, dated as far back as 1885, early efforts came and went. The owners established a pension plan for players in 1947, and players established an informal union in ’54, but it had no full-time employees, did not engage in collective bargaining, and had just $5,400 in the bank as of ’66, that at a time when the minimum major league salary was just $6,000, $1,000 more than it had been in ’47. When the players sought an increase in pension benefits — anticipating a rise in television revenue, they were concerned about getting their fair share — a four-man committee led by future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts went looking for a professional negotiator to bargain with the united, well-organized, and all-powerful owners.

Miller was recommended to the panel, which had its reservations about union leaders given the stereotypes of the day and initially favored other candidates, including Judge Robert B. Cannon, who was already serving as the union’s legal counsel. Cozy with the owners, Cannon had already mounted an unsuccessful bid to become commissioner of baseball in 1965, though the job went to Spike Eckert, who lasted just three years. Cannon campaigned for the executive director job, and while he conceded in his application that he was not an expert when it came to pensions, he balked when he discovered how much less his pension would be if he switched jobs. Ultimately, the union withdrew its offer.

The panel turned to Miller, but the rank and file players, relatively uneducated, inexperienced with unions, and easily cowed by the owners telling them they should be grateful to be playing a boys’ game for money, had reservations about him. In the spring of 1966, Miller toured training camps in California, Arizona, and Florida, speaking with players before they voted on whether to hire him. With owners and their representatives — and even an embittered Cannon — speaking out against him, and managers able to further intimidate the players by conducting the votes, Miller lost up-or-down votes in front of the first four teams, but with Roberts, Jim Bunning, and the team player representatives pushing the remaining 16 teams harder, he won over the remaining camps. As Jim Bouton — who would later benefit from Miller’s defense when commissioner Bowie Kuhn called upon the pitcher to recant the more shocking details of his 1970 book Ball Four — recalled in John Helyar’s book, Lords of the Realm, “We were all expecting to see someone with a cigar out of the corner of his mouth, a real knuckle-dragging ‘deze and doze’ guy.” Miller, a “quiet, mild, exceedingly understated man,” impressed the players, gained their confidence and was ratified as the executive director.

Miller educated the players about their rights and the importance of solidarity, and gradually began chalking up substantial victories. He implemented a dues structure and further beefed up the union’s finances by securing group licensing deals with Coca-Cola (1966) and Topps (’68), with the players flexing their collective muscle by refusing to sign renewal deals or pose for new photographs until they received higher fees and royalties. In the spring of 1967, Miller conducted an anonymous salary survey so that players could be armed with that information (at the time, the average was $22,000, the median was $17,000, and 6% made the minimum $7,000). In 1968, he and the union negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement in all of sports, which secured a raise in the minimum salary to $10,000, standardized contracts, increased meal money, and put in place a formalized structure for grievances and new scheduling rules. In the 1970 CBA, the players gained the right to have grievances heard by an independent, impartial arbitrator, which paved the way for the landmark Messersmith-McNally decision that created free agency in 1975.

In the spring of 1972, with the first CBA expiring, Miller led the game’s first work stoppage, a 14-day strike that centered around the owners’ increase in pension contributions. The owners didn’t believe the players would stay united, but they did; 86 games were cancelled before the owners finally acquiesced. In the next CBA, which went into effect in 1973, the players gained a limited right to salary arbitration, and “10-and-5” rights allowing them to veto trades if they had at least 10 years in the majors and five with their current club, and a reduction in the amount of service time necessary to reject an assignment to the minors from eight years to five.

Just before the strike, the US Supreme Court took up former outfielder Curt Flood’s suit against Kuhn and the owners, a challenge to the Reserve Clause stemming from his 1969 refusal to accept a trade from the Cardinals to the Phillies. Flood argued that the reserve clause, which appeared to give teams the right to unilaterally renew player contracts on an annual basis, constituted indentured servitude, violating both the 13th Amendment and antitrust laws. In a 5-3 decision against Flood, the Court ruled that only an act of Congress could remove baseball’s antitrust exemption, and that while Flood should have the right to free agency, it needed to be obtained through collective bargaining.

In the wake of the Flood decision, Miller engineered another challenge to the reserve clause when Dodgers pitcher Andy Messersmith and Expos pitcher Dave McNally played the entire 1975 season without signing contracts (several players, including Modern Baseball candidate Ted Simmons, had gone deep into seasons before signing). After the season, they filed grievances, claiming the right to free agency, because there was no contract for the team to renew. In December, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled for the players, and after the owners’ appeals to overturn the ruling ran out, Miller negotiated a new CBA creating a framework for free agency once players reached six years of service time. In the winter of 1976-77, the first wave of free agents began striking it rich, with Jackson becoming the game’s highest-paid player via a five-year, $3 million deal with the Yankees. By November 1979, Nolan Ryan had become the game’s first player with an average salary above $1 million. From 1976 to ’80, the average salary nearly tripled, from $51,501 to $143,756.

After averting a strike in the spring of 1980 — centered around teams wanting compensation for having lost players to free agency — Miller led a seven-week strike in ’81, resulting in the cancellation of 713 games (38% of the schedule) and requiring the creation of a one-time split-season format with first- and second-half division leaders meeting in an extra tier of playoffs. The resulting CBA created a tiered free agent system whereby teams losing premium free agents would receive compensation.

The 65-year-old Miller retired as the executive director at the end of 1982, by which point the minimum salary had grown to $33,500 and the average was $241,497. He remained active as a consultant, member of the union’s negotiating team, and, briefly, interim director when his initial successor, Ken Moffett, was forced out due to the belief among players that he was too conciliatory towards the owners.

Miller firmly established that the talents of major league players did not exempt them from basic workplace protections, and ensured that they get their fair compensation as attendance and revenues ballooned, far outpacing the growth of the rest of the economy. But despite — or because — of his revolutionary work, he was shamefully bypassed even from consideration by the Veterans Committee until 2003, by which point the vote had been extended to every living Hall of Famer as well as the surviving Ford C. Frick Award and J.G Taylor Spink Award winners (the broadcasters and writers). Once he finally got a spot on a composite ballot alongside other executives, umpires, and managers, he received just 44% of the vote (35 out of 79). Jackson, whom Miller’s work turned into a millionaire several times over, shamed himself by sending in a blank ballot and making his “no one to put in” comment. Mike Schmidt, who became the game’s highest-paid player in the mid-1980s thanks to the leverage of free agency, similarly voted for nobody.

Jackson eventually realized the error of his ways, and his comments stirred awareness among the electorate. In Miller’s next appearance, on the 2007 ballot, his share of the vote rose to 63% (51 out of 84 votes). By that point, he was already braced for disappointment, saying, “When you’re my age, 89 going on 90, questions of mortality have a greater priority than a promised immortality.” Later that year, Bouton succinctly summarized Miller’s chances on the 2008 ballot, by which point the process had reverted to a 12-member panel. “Marvin Miller kicked their butts and took power away from the baseball establishment — do you really think those people are going to vote him in? It’s a joke.”

Indeed, that Miller received just three votes on a panel that elected Kuhn (who had received just 17.3% from the larger group the year before) was a sick and twisted joke given that the labor leader beat the commissioner like a rented mule at every turn, most notably when it came to the Seitz ruling. Said Bouton, “It’s like having a cartoon Hall of Fame which admitted Wile E. Coyote and kept out the Roadrunner.”

One look at the composition of the panel explained the result. Beyond the three writers on the committee, none of the three ex-players (Monte Irvin, Bobby Brown, and Harmon Killebrew) played a single major league game in the post-Reserve Clause era. What’s more, Irvin spent 17 years working for the commissioner’s office under Kuhn, while Brown was an executive with the Rangers and then AL president after Kuhn stepped down. Of the six other owners and executives on the committee, Bill DeWitt Jr. (Cardinals), Bill Giles (Phillies) ,and Andy MacPhail (Orioles) were legacies whose fathers (and the latter’s grandfather) were on the management side during the Reserve Clause era, while Giles, MacPhail and John Harrington (Red Sox) were part of management during baseball’s late-1980s collusion scandal,, the trial of which featured Miller as the lead witness.

So frustrated was the 91-year-old Miller that six months later, with his candidacy not set to be reviewed for another 18 months, he took the unprecedented step of asking the Hall not to include him on another ballot, saying in a letter to the BBWAA (whose Historical Overview Committee constructs the ballots):

“Paradoxically, I’m writing to thank you and your associates for your part in nominating me for Hall of Fame consideration, and, at the same time, to ask that you not do this again. The anti-union bias of the powers who control the Hall has consistently prevented recognition of the historic significance of the changes to baseball brought about by collective bargaining.

“As former executive director of the players’ union that negotiated these changes, I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged Veterans Committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering a pretense of a democratic vote. It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sports writers and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91 I can do without a farce.”

Like any good labor leader, Miller knew how to count votes before an election was held, and he knew when he didn’t have them. When I interviewed him for Baseball Prospectus shortly after that release, I found him still sharp as a tack at his age. He reiterated his stance with regards to the Hall, vowing not to show up for induction if the the VC elected him, referencing both Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, who refused to run for president (“If elected I will not serve…”), and comedian Groucho Marx (“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”).

Against his wishes, Miller was included again on the 2010 VC ballot (58%) and the ’11 Expansion Era ballot. While he received 11 out of 16 votes in the latter, one short of election, the presence of MacPhail, Giles, Royals owner David Glass (an anti-union hardliner in the 1994 strike), and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf (a collusion kingpin and strike hardliner) meant that Miller had to run the table among the other 12 voters to gain entry. That he came so close no doubt owed to the fact that of the six Hall of Fame players on the panel, five (Rod Carew, Andre Dawson, Carlton Fisk, Paul Molitor, and Phil Niekro) benefitted from free agency.

Before Miller passed away in 2012, his son Peter ruled out the family’s participation in any posthumous honor by the Hall: “No one in our family will attend or speak at any HOF ceremony regardless of the outcome of the HOF vote. It’s important for union members and the media to understand why, so that the story does not get misrepresented as ‘sour grapes,’ personal pique, or anything of the sort.”

When Miller was included on the 2014 Expansion Era ballot, his children repeated their stance, with daughter Susan calling the committee “cowards [for] doing it after he died.” In the ensuing vote, managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and Joe Torre were elected unanimously, while Miller and the other eight candidates were consigned to “six votes or fewer” territory. In 2018, he received seven of 16 votes while Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were elected, and Simmons fell one vote short.

As he’s on yet another ballot, voters (and Miller’s supporters) again face a paradox: is it more important to honor the man’s wishes or to rightfully recognize his place in baseball history, even in belated fashion? I’ve wrestled with this question for years, and I’m hardly alone. While I don’t begrudge the family its permanent boycott of the institution, I come down on the side of preferring that he’s elected. One can’t credibly tell the story of Major League Baseball without Marvin Miller, who revolutionized the game and its business practices. When he’s honored, both his accomplishments and the stain of the institution’s failure to honor him during his lifetime will be part of that story. His plaque will be the same size as all the others, but its presence will stand as a towering middle finger aimed at the small men who conspired against him during his lifetime and after, and who colluded against the players in efforts to break the union. The induction speech that Miller never got to give would have been epic, but even without it, his legacy will long outlive those of his foes.

With that, I’ve completed my review of the 10 candidates on the Modern Baseball ballot. I don’t have a vote, but if I did, three of my four spots would go Miller, Simmons, and Lou Whitaker, the two players whose cases are best supported by WAR, JAWS, and other considerations. That leaves me to choose between Thurman Munson and Dwight Evans for the fourth spot. I won’t rehash their cases here, but in the end, Munson’s above-standard peak, role in multiple championships, and numerous accolades give him the nod over Evans, who was so underappreciated in his day and who deserves better. I hope I get a chance to consider the latter again, but for now, I think this is an exceptional quartet, any of whom would improve the Hall’s rolls with his addition. We’ll find out who, if anyone, is elected on December 8.

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It’s a story that elicits strong reactions from baseball players around the Majors. The Houston Astros are being investigated by MLB for their sign-stealing techniques in 2017.

The Astros, according to stories from The Athletic, had a live video feed fixated on the catcher’s signs from center field. A person reportedly banged on a trash can to signal to the hitter in the batter’s box which pitch was coming. Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers confirmed the method to The Athletic.

ESPN reported an Astros executive sent an email to scouts requesting that they point a camera from the stands to the opposing team’s dugout. The Astros won the World Series in 2017.

“This Astros thing is bad!!!” Reds reliever Kevin Gausman wrote on Twitter. “Guys lost jobs, got sent down, missed service time (because) of how they were hit in (Houston). Does anyone really think they only did this in ’17?”

This Astros thing is bad!!! Guys lost jobs, got sent down, missed service time bc of how they were hit in HOU. Does anyone really think they only did this in 17? #getreal

— Kevin Gausman (@KevinGausman) November 14, 2019
Gausman, then with the Baltimore Orioles, made one start at Houston’s Minute Maid Park in 2017, allowing two runs on eight hits in 6 ⅔ innings while striking out two. The Orioles lost 2-0.

During the 2018 American League Division Series, the Cleveland Indians filed a complaint with MLB against the Astros, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, after they saw an Astros employee filming video inside their dugout with a cellphone from the photographer’s pit.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (27) paces after striking out his 11th batter of the night in the seventh inning of the MLB National League game between the Cincinnati Reds and the San Diego Padres at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. The Padres won the series opener 3-2.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (27) paces after striking out his 11th batter of the night in the seventh inning of the MLB National League game between the Cincinnati Reds and the San Diego Padres at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. The Padres won the series opener 3-2. (Photo: Sam Greene)

The Astros swept the Indians in three games. Reds starter Trevor Bauer, then with the Indians, pitched out of the bullpen in all three games.

“Ooooohhhhhh, so you mean to tell me the guy videoing our dugout in 2018 ALDS wasn’t just doing that to ‘protect against the Indians stealing signs?’” Bauer wrote on Twitter. “Who would have ever guessed that he was up to no good. What a revelation … maybe MLB will do something about it this time.”


— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) November 17, 2019
Sign stealing has always been a part of the sport but using technology to steal signs is prohibited. The Boston Red Sox were fined in 2017 for reportedly using Apple Watches to relay the catcher’s signs to the dugout.

“When technology changes, people are always going to find edges and maybe they convince themselves that somehow they are on the right side of the line when they’re not,” Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams told The Enquirer. “I don’t know what goes through their heads, but clearly there has been a lot of attention drawn to it and I think it’s the exceptions rather than the rule because we’re paying so much attention to when it’s discovered.

“The general managers don’t want any part of it. The players and coaches don’t want any part of it. The commissioner’s office is trying to get rid of it. I think they are going to have to continue to try to figure out ways to prevent it because teams are creative when it comes to gaining an edge. Nowadays, everybody in the ballpark has electronics and it’s pretty hard to police it.”

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When the Washington Nationals dropped a 6-4 decision to the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 23, the Miami Marlins were breathing down their backs.

Yes, the 105-loss Marlins, who on May 23 were just 1 1/2 games back of the 19-31 Nationals in the NL East. The Toronto Blue Jays, who went on to lose 95 games, had one more win than the Nats on that date. Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist was replaced earlier in the month, and manager Dave Martinez’s seat was on fire.

On Wednesday, those same Nationals beat the 107-win Houston Astros in Game 7 to win the World Series.

The Nats did it after their horrendous start to the season. They did it while winning four times on the road against the best team in baseball. And they did it with five come-from-behind wins in five different elimination games, the first time that’s ever happened, according to MLB Stats.

What the Nationals just accomplished has already entered baseball lore. But are they the most unlikely champions of all time? Let’s see how they compare to a few other stunning World Series winners.

1906 Chicago White Sox

Transcendental Graphics / Getty Images Sport / Getty
The story: Nicknamed the “Hitless Wonders” – they hit a collective .230/.301/.286 in the regular season and averaged 3.68 runs a game – the 1906 White Sox won the pennant anyway, thanks to a 19-game win streak in August and a pitching staff that spun a modern-era record 32 shutouts. In the all-Chicago World Series, they hit .198 as a team but still upset the 116-win Cubs in six games. George Rohe – who had a 92 OPS+ in 1906, his second-last MLB season – torched the Cubs by hitting .333/.440/.571 with four RBIs. The Sox beat the great Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown twice and knocked him out of the clinching Game 6 in the second inning.

Do they compare? The White Sox and Nats both ran on superb starting pitching and earned their first three World Series wins on the road. Of course, we all know the Nats were a far, far better team at the plate, though the “Hitless Wonders” are still one of the most unlikely champions of all time.

1954 New York Giants
The story: The 97-win Giants were very good, featuring multiple All-Stars, an ace reliever in Hoyt Wilhelm, and NL MVP Willie Mays in center field. But they were huge underdogs in the World Series against a 111-win Indians team that was great enough to interrupt the Yankees’ dynasty. Cleveland crushed 156 homers and had a star-studded pitching staff whose collective ERA was well below three.

Then Mays went to work in Game 1.

The catch demoralized Cleveland. Giants pinch-hitter Dusty Rhodes – who didn’t start a game in the series but still hit .667 – walked off Game 1 with a pinch-hit homer in the 10th, and New York swept the Indians with ease.

Do they compare? There are plenty of parallels, with both teams employing star young outfielders who had breakout seasons at the plate. Also, both the 1954 Giants and 2019 Nats beat World Series opponents who had 14 more wins in the regular season, the second-largest gap in history (trailing 1906). The World Series win was shocking, but the pennant win wasn’t a complete surprise.

1969 New York Mets
The story: The Mets were hapless, lovable losers from their start in 1962 but roared to 100 wins behind a young pitching staff of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, and Nolan Ryan. After holding off the star-studded Cubs in the regular season, the Mets swept the Braves in the NLCS before stunning the heavily favored, 109-win Orioles in five games to win the World Series. They’re still baseball’s most famous underdogs.

Do they compare? Few Cinderella stories were better than the “Miracle Mets.” But it’s hard to put them in line with the Nats because these Mets featured all kinds of young talent whose careers were just getting started. It’s not that the Mets weren’t amazing – they still are. It’s just hard to directly compare them to an older Nats club that finally got over the hump.

1990 Cincinnati Reds
The story: The Reds had struggled for two years during the Pete Rose scandal and Marge Schott’s unstable ownership, making the 1990 turnaround all the more surprising. Led by the great Barry Larkin, ace Jose Rijo, and the infamous “Nasty Boys” bullpen, Lou Piniella’s Reds went wire-to-wire atop the NL West before stunning Barry Bonds and the Pirates in the NLCS.

They were heavy World Series underdogs against the defending champion Athletics, who cruised to a third straight AL pennant. But Billy Hatcher hit .750, the pitching staff (led by series MVP Rijo) held the powerful A’s to just eight runs, and the Reds pulled off the unthinkable sweep.

Do they compare? This is one of the more shocking World Series outcomes, with the 103-win A’s getting swept by a team with 12 fewer victories. But the Reds differ from many of the Cinderella teams on this list, including the Nats, because they went wire-to-wire. The lack of a midseason turnaround means these Reds were just a really strong team that did what they were supposed to do, even if few actually saw it coming.

2003 Florida Marlins
The story: The Marlins were 16-22 when they fired manager Jeff Torborg in favor of Jack McKeon. It didn’t help at first; Florida fell 10 games under .500 less than two weeks later, and didn’t go above that mark for good until mid-July. But they scratched and clawed their way to October, fighting off multiple teams to sneak in as a 91-win wild card.

From there, the Marlins would not be denied. Pudge Rodriguez held onto the ball to upset the 100-win Giants in the NLDS. Down 3-1 in the NLCS, the Marlins came back (with help from a famous incident) to beat the favored Cubs in seven. And then for the grand finale, they showed no fear while beating Joe Torre’s 101-win Yankees in six games, clinching it in the Bronx on Josh Beckett’s five-hit shutout.

Do they compare? An NL East wild-card team that at one point was 10 games under, featuring a bright young hitting star alongside a hodgepodge of assorted veterans, coming from nowhere to stun heavily favored juggernauts? You better believe they’re similar. One key difference is this year’s Nats were at least expected to compete for a playoff spot, whereas the 2003 Marlins were supposed to be just another wretched squad. But this is more in line with the kind of jaw-dropping upset we’re looking for.

1914 Boston Braves
The story: On July 4, the last-place Braves fell to 26-40 after dropping both ends of a doubleheader to Brooklyn. They sat 15 games back of the first-place Giants. But on July 5, the Braves suddenly started to win.

Bettmann / Bettmann / Getty
The “Miracle Braves” engineered one of the most remarkable midseason turnarounds in sports history. After that Fourth of July doubleheader they went 68-19, took first place from the Giants for good on Sept. 8, and ultimately won the pennant by 10 1/2 games. In the World Series, the Braves swept the dynastic Philadelphia Athletics – who boasted five future Hall of Famers and were looking for their second straight title, and fourth in five years – in stunning fashion, holding them to a .172 average while using just three pitchers in the process.

Do they compare? The “Miracle Braves” are the only other team besides the Nats to have won the World Series after being at least 12 games below .500 during the regular season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. And while the Nats’ record through their first 50 games is now the worst for a champion, the Braves nearly turning a 15-game deficit into a 15-game lead is a feat that should stand the test of time.

Realistically, the 1914 Braves are just about the only club that can claim to be a more unlikely champion than the Nationals. Not only did they complete that wild midseason turnaround, but they did it with a largely anonymous team that returned to irrelevancy two years later. Outside of star infielders Rabbit Maranville and 1914 MVP Johnny Evers, the Braves fielded a roster of no-names like Lefty Tyler, Butch Schmidt, and Possum Whitted. And that group showed the same lack of fear as the Nats while taking down one of the greatest teams ever assembled.

So let’s leave it at this: the 2019 Washington Nationals just did something we haven’t seen in 105 years. It might take another 105 to see it again. It was that unprecedented.

You might as well call it a miracle.

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The sprawling suburban estate once called home by Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and later, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Jones , is back on the market for the second time this year.

The six-bedroom,10-bath mansion was listed for $4.25 million this month by current owner, Baltimore County-based Milden LLC.

The group had purchased the 25-acre estate from Jones, who previously played with the Baltimore Orioles, in May for $3.55 million.

It is the third time the Worthington Valley estate at 13301 Dover Road has hit the market since 2016.

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Where should we expect to see the most improvements in 2020? It better come from the outfield.
For the Baltimore Orioles, there’s really nowhere to go but up. Their 47 wins in 2018 marked the fewest number of wins in a single season, breaking the franchise record by seven (54 wins in 1954 and 1988 set the previous record for fewest wins). Much of the roster was shipped away, new leadership was brought in, and fans are now hoping their patience through a complete rebuild pays off with a World Series, sooner rather than later.

We saw a number of improvements in 2019, but what can we expect to see in 2020? More specifically, which position group will make the biggest improvement from 2019 to 2020? It could end up being in the outfield, where the Orioles struggled to replace Adam Jones after his 11-year career in Birdland and saw some of the worst defense in the major leagues from the left field spot.

Let’s take a look at where each positional group ranked this season and see why we’re most excited about the potential improvements in the outfield above all other positions.

A look at the Baltimore Orioles infield in 2019.
Using data from Fangraphs, Orioles catchers ranked 24th in combined fWAR at -0.2 and ranked 21st in wRC+ at 82. Pedro Severino surprised with his offensive production, but struggled with his highly-touted defense for much of the season. Unless Chance Sisco can flip a switch, not much will change behind the plate in 2020, but that’s ok with Adley Rutschman coming soon.

First base could end up featuring a rotating group of players that include Trey Mancini, Renato Nunez, Ryan Mountcastle, and Chris Davis (if he survives spring training). Mancini had a big year at the plate, a performance that will be difficult to top. It would be great if Nunez could maintain his power output and develop a little more consistency at the plate, but a .244/.311/.460 with 31 HR and 90 RBI Nunez may be peak Nunez.

I don’t think even the optimistic Orioles fan has any hope Davis can turn things around and how much can we really expect from Mountcastle in his debut season? He’s only 22, owns an extremely low walk rate, and routinely falls behind in counts, which can’t continue against major league pitching. He’s going to need some to settle in and adjust. Looking squarely at 2020, there could be improvements, but the ceiling isn’t as high as it is in the outfield.

Jonathan Villar had a career-year this season and it will be hard for him to top it, should he remain with the Orioles, and we largely know what to expect from fellow projected infield starters Hanser Alberto and Rio Ruiz.

Fangraphs classifies Mancini as a first baseman, pushing the Orioles up to 15th in combined fWAR at 2.2. They rank among the upper half of the league at second base (5.9 fWAR) and shortstop (3.0 fWAR), but in the bottom-third of the league at third base (2.1 fWAR). Unless Richie Martin or Ruiz has an elite breakout season in 2020, we’re likely to see much of the same production totals by the end of next season.

Will the Baltimore Orioles see big improvements from their outfield?
It’s going to be in the outfield where we see the real improvements next year. There’s no other choice but to improve.

With Trey Mancini playing out of position in right field, Stevie Wilkerson logging the highest number of innings in center despite never having played the position, and one of the worst defensive outfielders in Dwight Smith Jr.seeing significant time in left field, the Orioles ranked 24th in combined fWAR at 2.4.

Baltimore ranked 29th in left and center field production, two specific positions where things look much brighter in 2020.

Cedric Mullins, Stevie Wilkerson, Mason Williams, Joey Rickard, and Keon Broxton were all significantly below league-average at the plate, and all but Broxton were worth below-replacement level in center field.

Enter Austin Hays. Hays appeared in just 21 games, making 75 plate appearances, but he did record a 146 wRC+ and was worth 0.9 fWAR in his extremely small sample size. Only Alberto, Mancini, and Villar were worth more in 2019.

Of course, health is a major concern when it comes to Hays. But after witnessing a full season of a healthy Hunter Harvey and nowhere to go but up in Birdland, it’s hard not to be optimistic. What do we have if we don’t have hope?

A healthy Hays in center and Mancini in right field means no need for Wilkerson or Smith in the starting lineup. It also allows Anthony Santander to slide in as the everyday left fielder.

Santander wasn’t great in left field, but his -1 Defensive Runs Saved and -1.6 Defensive Rating in 287 innings are extreme improvements over Smith’s -12 DRS and -11.7 Defensive Rating in 695 innings. Maybe working primarily at one position and entering next season with a bit more job security leads to bigger defensive improvements for Santander. No pressure, but the International Anthony Santander Fan Club will be watching.

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While it was a joke, the Tampa Bay Rays social media team made a fool of themselves in a post comparing themselves to the 1966 world champion Baltimore Orioles team.
The 1966 Baltimore Orioles and 2019 Tampa Bay Rays have something in common. 53 years after the Orioles went 8-1 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in 1966 the Rays were able to complete the same feat as they dominated Boston in their home ballpark.

With that fact in mine, the Rays had a little fun tweeting that their current 2019 club was better than the 1966 Orioles.

2019 Rays > 1966 Orioles#RaysUp

— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 2, 2019

For those who are unfamiliar with the 1966 Orioles, they were one of the most dominant teams in franchise history. The Birds went 97-65 and swept the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series to win their first championship in team history.

The team consisted of future Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Luis Aparicio and Frank Robinson who was named 1966 American League MVP after hitting .316 with 49 home runs and 122 RBI’s.

It’s safe to say, 1966 the Orioles don’t even compare to the 2019 Tampa Bay Rays (64-48). The Rays currently trail the New York Yankees by eight games for first place in the American League East, hold just a half game lead in the second Wildcard race and are on pace to finish the season 92-70.

While the team is better than most in baseball, they do not have a single star player, lacks home support and very well may miss out on the postseason.

Yes, the Rays social media was trying to make a joke, but it’s hard not to take offense to it as some of the most historic players to ever play the game of baseball played for the 1966 Orioles and helped them bring the first-ever world series championship to the city of Baltimore.

Though the joke was in poor taste, no Orioles fan will complain watching the Red Sox season fall apart just a year after winning the world series.

However, the Rays must remember 1966 Orioles > 2019 Tampa Bay Rays. Hear it from Palmer himself.