The end of baseball season was just 19 days before Thanksgiving, though the Orioles’ season has been over for seven weeks. The Winter Meetings are just 10 days away, and the revival of the Orioles allows them to be bigger players in the free-agent market. For many Oriole fans, that enough is reason to be thankful.
There are so many more reasons.
The 2022 season was entertaining and unexpected. So many new players contributed to the team’s success and to the hope for a brighter future.
Two who helped, Trey Mancini and Jorge López, aren’t with the club any longer. Mancini’s gallant battle with colon cancer in 2020 and his leadership in the clubhouse and on the field will always be remembered by Oriole fans. As will his final at-bat at home, an improbable inside-the-park home run.
Though he struggled in the postseason with the Houston Astros, we can be delighted for Mancini’s World Series win and hope that he finds a happy and productive baseball home for 2023 and beyond.
López’s bullpen brilliance, which earned him an All-Star Game invitation, will be remembered. So will the love he showed for his son, who has faced medical challenges with a sweet optimism.
Winning teams bring fun characters. There was 6-foot-8, 280-pound Félix Bautista, who succeeded López as the closer and became an unlikely hero. His entrance video delighted fans.
There’s outfielder Ryan McKenna, the “Ferrari,” whose energy made him…