Candy, bad pizza and more baseball for breakfast

If you’re wondering how you’ll recognize me tonight on Halloween, I’ll be dressed again as a guy sitting on his front steps handing out candy. The cigar and cocktail are only props.

I’m not big on sweets, but it’s a photo finish between Almond Joy and Snickers for my favorite candy bar. I also can be enticed by peanut M&Ms if the mood strikes me.

Do parents still hand out apples and popcorn balls, or am I showing my age? The world’s a dangerous place now and they’d end up in the garbage. The treats, not the parents.

Can someone please explain to me what motivated Papa John’s to make a pizza covered in Fritos and chili? Did they start a promotion where they’re only hiring drunken frat boys?

Is the crust stuffed with frosting?

I think I’ll call a Peyton Manning audible and pass.

The Orioles haven’t announced that they declined the options on Nick Markakis and Nick Hundley, so the 40-man roster stays at 32 until they get around to it. The announcement could come today. The decisions already have been made, according to multiple people in the industry.

showalter-serious-black-jacket-sidebar.jpgManager Buck Showalter is flying back to Baltimore today and will be at Camden Yards Saturday morning for the KidsPeace Trick-or-Trot 5K/1-Mile Walk. He called in to “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” yesterday on MASN to promote the event and again talk about fighting through the disappointment and trying to watch the World Series.

“What hits you in the playoffs is the way everybody’s connected - every pitch, every ground ball, every hit - and it’s fun to watch,” he said.

Was it difficult to sit at home and watch the Royals and Giants?

“Of course it was. Are you kidding me?” he replied. “I think the word is ‘painful.’ But God bless them. If you care about something, it’s going to pull your heart and it’s going to tear your gut a little bit, but I think it will be what drives this club next year. I really do. I don’t think it’s going to be ‘woe is me.’ I think with the type of people we have, it’s what’s going to drive them.

“There’s a lot of things taken out of that that you really won’t see on a stat sheet, but you’ll see it in their eyes when we get back going. We see all the little things that matter, and when I say something or the coaches say something in spring training about this being something important that we’ve got to be good at, it does not fall on deaf ears. They know exactly what we’re talking about.”

I’d like to see the Orioles improve on their .311 on-base percentage that ranked 17th in the majors, though I should point out that they were slotted directly in between the Royals and Giants. I also will point out that Markakis posted a .342 OBP and has a career mark of .358.

Showalter will meet twice next week with executive vice president Dan Duquette, as he did before flying to Dallas. The season is over, but the Orioles are open for business.

“We’re connected, Dan and I and the front office,” he said. “There are so many things going on right now every day. If you take your finger off it, the game will pass you by. That’s why in the offseason there are so many important dates and so many decisions that you’re going to be held accountable for on the field come April, and really come February in spring training.

“It’s not the accountability part that gets you. You’re trying to grind it to have a chance to roll the dice again next year. We’ve got a lot of tough decisions to make because our guys played well. So they’re tough, but they’re good decisions. Sometimes, it’s been picking your poison in the past, and here I think we’re choosing among quality guys.

“I’d like to bring them all back, but in today’s game that’s hard to do.”

Showalter said he’s on the same page as Duquette and they have “a pretty good feel where we’re going.”

“Nothing that’s going to be real newsworthy,” he said. “I think everybody’s kind of got their finger on the same pulse as we do. A lot of the decisions will be up to the players. They’ve earned the right to make some decisions.

“I feel good that we’ve established the Orioles as a place where guys want to play, all things being equal, and it will be up to them to decide what is all equal. I think you guys are aware of the decisions where Nelson (Cruz) is concerned and where Nicky’s concerned. We got a big one done with J.J. (Hardy). I thought that kind of put everything in perspective.

“Very quietly and very consistently our ownership has been there every time we’ve needed them and that’s what’s in our favor.”

You can add to the list of free agents that I posted yesterday by clicking here for the MLB Daily Dish tracker and checking out which players had their options declined. Let me know if there’s anyone worth pursuing for the Orioles.

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