This and that

If I see one more advertisement that includes a talking pothole or dogs that save Christmas, my head might explode. But at least I can be reminded every 12 minutes that I need to buy diamonds or I'll die alone.

With the winter meetings coming up in three weeks, I find my thoughts drifting back to a few names that were tied to the Orioles at last year's gathering in Las Vegas.

Braden Looper drew their interest, and we kicked around the pros and cons of adding him to the rotation. He went 14-7 with a 5.22 ERA and led the majors with 39 homers allowed in 34 starts for the Brewers. They declined his $6.5 million option and he's back on the market.

Jon Garland sought a deal over the winter that was too rich for the Orioles, who kept waiting for his price to come down. He signed with the Diamondbacks, who traded him to the Dodgers, who declined his $10 million option after he went a combined 11-13 with a 4.01 ERA in 33 games. He's back on the market.

The Orioles were close to signing Matt Treanor as a backup catcher, but lost him to the Tigers. He appeared in four games, underwent hip and pelvic surgeries and is back on the market.

I wonder if we'll be discussing them again next month in Indianapolis.

Yesterday's Family FanFest in Sarasota drew more than 2,500 fans, far exceeding the original target of 1,000. A club official said the Orioles are "extremely excited" by the outpouring of support they've received from the residents and business community of Sarasota County.

The Single-A Frederick Keys, in partnership with its marketing colleagues and fans, have donated $375,000 to local charities, causes and schools in 2009. Area students were given more than $175,000 in free tickets as part of a reading program. The Keys took part in 136 community appearances this year.

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