New Year, New Me
A gift given at my family’s Christmas this year brought back a warm memory of my first year covering baseball: a wine glass inscribed, “Welcome to the Shitshow.”
At the end of the 2016 season, as the only good Orioles team I was around pushed for a playoff spot, they were lousy with starting pitchers (many lousy themselves) and didn’t have enough spots to start them.
There was no rotation, just daily uncertainty for veteran starters who didn’t know when they’d pitch. They did not enjoy it. So, one pitcher bought the whole group T-shirts with that phrase on it, and they wore them around the clubhouse for most of September.
I’m going to miss stories like that. Today is my last day at the Baltimore Sun, and as I leave this dream job of covering the Orioles for a new industry and new challenges, it’s those little nuggets gleaned just by being around every day that are hardest to give up.
There’s nothing interesting about me leaving. Eventually, hopefully, covering the Orioles for the Sun will get back to how it was before COVID, where our daily in-person access, home and away, was a catalyst for stories that were worth the price of a subscription. The last time that was the case was in March 2020, the day the Orioles took a ride around the block in their spring training bus before baseball shut down, and the world learned of Trey Mancini’s cancer diagnosis. The latter made me cry, but the former allowed me to be home the next Monday for my wife’s first ultrasound.
Now, that little heartbeat we saw that day is our whole world, and the idea of getting back on that grind once normal returns simply doesn’t make sense for me anymore.
I couldn’t be more fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at the Sun for as long as I did. My time began in community news back in 2011, then on to covering the Ravens and Orioles. I had too many mentors to name, and I hope they all know I’m grateful. I shared both beats at the Sun with some absolute pros, and value the friendships I made along the way.
I’m incredibly proud of how our coverage has changed and grown over the last six seasons. We began beholden to print and by the end were serving a digital audience daily content they couldn’t find anywhere else, and it didn’t really matter that the Orioles were bad. There were plenty of good stories to tell.
My hope is that going forward, this space will be a venue to continue to do that. I won’t be around the team the way I was, but feel confident I’ll be able to provide the analysis and insight into the Orioles’ rebuilding project from an arm’s length and am hopeful there’s an audience for it. The elite talent pipeline Mike Elias promised is in place and will start producing players who can make the Orioles good again in short order. Now, the preferred turn of phrase is when and how the Orioles will begin to maximize playoff odds. Hence, the name of this newsletter.
With the occasional trip to Camden Yards and a continued presence around their minor league parks, my hope is to give a look at how they plan to open that window and begin to compete again.
The first few weeks of this page will be free as we feel out the process of what it’s going to look like. I anticipate the output will look a lot like the body of work from the Sun, with reported stories and insights on what the Orioles are doing to get good again. I did a fairly good job of only writing what I wanted to write then, and that freedom will hopefully produce the same types of stories going forward.
Thanks to everyone who read at the Sun. I hope you have room for a little more Orioles content going forward. If so, toss your email into the box on this page and you’ll hear from me soon.