Orioles Observer Weekly Digest 1

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Welcome to the first issue of the Orioles Observer Weekly Digest. Thank you for signing up to receive these exclusive digests each and every Sunday throughout the year. If you would like to be removed from this list at anytime, please send an email to tim@oriolesobserver.com. We value your time and privacy.

The Orioles Observer is a two person operation located in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. Paul Cooke is the main features writer at the Observer, covering a wide range of topics while I mostly contribute with brief thoughts on Orioles news. We started the Observer in January 2012 after exchanging lengthy, daily emails throughout the regular and off-season for years. Some of the writing struck me as too good to be left sitting in an email inbox. It was pure coincidence that this site started at the beginning of the first winning season in 14 years. We saw the pieces start to come together, especially at the end of 2011, but never thought 2012 would be the year the Orioles got back to the playoffs.

We are die-hard fans who attend upwards of 70+ games a year and feel we bring a different analysis and perspective when covering the Orioles. While we are more than willing to look at the flaws and stumbles that every organization goes through, the underlying tone throughout the writing you will find on this site is positivity. There are plenty of people writing negative articles about the Orioles, regardless of fairness or accuracy. We don't have the will and energy to be part of this negative culture.

If you ever have any questions, you can email me at tim@oriolesobserver.com. Feel free to leave comments at any post on the site. We encourage healthy debate!

In this weeks edition:

  1. Fan Fest Tickets Give a Way
  2. Our favorite posts of 2013
  3. What's new at the Observer
  4. Featured Article of the Week

If you are reading this, you have signed up for the chance to win two free tickets to Orioles Fan Fest. We are offering subscribers of this email an extra opportunity to win the tickets. Re-tweet any of our tweets talking about the give-a-way and we will add on to your chances of winning. Remember, by signing up for this weekly Digest, you automatically were given more "weight" in winning the two free tickets, as opposed to those who entered via Twitter or Facebook or both. If you have a twitter handle that doesn't resemble your email address, just shoot us a quick note on Twitter or via email and we will make sure you are given your additional "weight" in the random draw process.

The deadline to enter is Sunday, January 26 at 8 pm EST. The winner will be notified by 9 pm that night and will have their tickets within 2 days.

2013 was another step forward for the Baltimore Orioles organization. Though the O's didn't make the playoffs, the team followed up with an 85 win season, good enough for 3rd place in the AL East. 2013 proved that the 2012 season wasn't a fluke and the pieces are there for more success in the future.

Paul wrote about the Most Enjoyable and Successful Disappointing Season Ever after the final win of the year against the Red Sox. The Orioles were the only AL East team to have a winning record against the Red Sox in 2013. The O's also held winning records against two other playoff teams in the Tigers (4-2) and Athletics (5-2).

Jim Johnson has always been a favorite at the Observer, long before he saved over 100 games in 2+ seasons as the Orioles closer. Over the summer, Paul took a look back at the moment Jim Johnson entered our radar.

We certainly don't have Nostradamus like power at the Observer, but it wasn't too hard to see that Chris Davis' 2012 season wasn't a fluke. While we certainly didn't see 53 home runs (and a new Orioles record), Paul wrote about CD's great start and overall potential while others were still harping on not resigning Mark Reynolds(*).

(*) No offense to Mark Reynolds, another Observer favorite, who we really liked during his two years with the team. But projecting who would be better in 2013 was fairly easy to do. We would also be more than happy to see Reynolds return in a utility role in 2014.

The New Year is a time to re-invigorate and turn the page from the prior year. Paul has been busy in the first three weeks of 2014, taking an in-depth look at:

We have also started a position-by-position look at where the Orioles stand in terms of starters and minor league depth.

Second Base should be up shortly with the rest of the infield and outfield being accessed over the upcoming weeks.

Each week, we want to highlight of piece of writing that we feel is worth reading. For the debut Observer Digest, we figured it would be worth re-posting the first in the five part series looking back at the September 2011 season ending series against the Red Sox.

Paul and I present part 1 of a 5 part series looking at the biggest on field moment for the organization since Cal Ripken Jr. retired in 2001.

September 2011 was a major stepping stone in getting the team to where it stands in 2014. Jim Johnson took over the closer role from Kevin Gregg. The Orioles took important series from the Yankees, Angels, Rays, and Red Sox (twice) in September. The Yankees and Rays made the playoffs and the Angels and Red Sox were winning teams with chances to clinch the playoffs into the final week of the season (or the final minute of the season for the Red Sox). JJ Hardy joined Mark Reynolds in hitting 30+ home runs, along with Adam Jones 25. Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter joined the team from Texas and got a first hand view of what the team was capable of doing in 2012. Troy Patton's outing against the Red Sox on September 26 might have been the reason he was able to compete and win a spot in the bullpen for 2012. Needless to say, there were a lot of positive signs of things to come, from what was a really rough season (particularly June-August).