Another chance to give thanks

With the pitching coach and bullpen coach vacancies filled this week, and on the same day no less, the Orioles can turn their collective attention to replacing director of pitching development Rick Peterson.

They also may want to replace the title. Minor league pitching coordinator is more to the point.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette, vice president Brady Anderson and manager Buck Showalter again will be involved in the process, and director of player development Brian Graham figures to have a strong voice in the hire.

I’ve been asked whether Cardinals minor league pitching coordinator Tim Leveque and Rangers minor league pitching coordinator Danny Clark are candidates to replace Peterson. They both interviewed for pitching coach and bullpen coach.

From what I’ve gleaned - that word again - Clark would be a candidate except the Rangers aren’t expected to approve a lateral move. A promotion to the major league staff is a different story.

The Orioles will look from within first, as they always do, and I continue to wonder whether Scott McGregor will be considered for the position. He’s valued as the pitching rehabilitation coordinator in Sarasota and someone who can offer assistance with the Orioles or a minor league affiliate. They may not want to disrupt it.

The Orioles also need an assistant hitting coach and a pitching coach at Double-A Bowie.

Meanwhile, if anyone cares about starting times for next season’s games at Camden Yards, click here. Just remember that they’re subject to change.

On this day of giving thanks, I’m grateful that the Orioles announced the hiring of pitching coach Roger McDowell and bullpen coach Alan Mills before I sat down to dinner today. As you know, it’s always about me.

I was making my first visit to the Wegmans in Owings Mills on Tuesday when the Orioles sent out the release. I had just turned onto Reisterstown Road. Of course, I gambled and left my laptop at home.

The purchasing of Thanksgiving pies had to wait. I whipped into the parking lot, tweeted the news and raced back to my house.

At least it no longer hung over my head.

I’m thankful that I can drive to the Winter Meetings next month in suburban D.C. It’s the worst assignment of the year. I’d rather give myself a root canal. But at least I can be in my car and pointed north before the smoke has cleared from the Rule 5 draft.

The Orioles want to add a left-handed bat. They have a hole at designated hitter. They might want a right-handed bat to platoon with Hyun Soo Kim in left field. They’re searching the trade and free agent markets for a veteran catcher on a short-term deal. They’d take a reliever, whether he’s left-handed or right-handed.

Pretend in two weeks that this is all news to you.

I’m thankful that Duquette joined Jim Hunter and me for the first edition of the “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan, and I’m thankful that Showalter will be our next guest on Dec. 1 at Dempsey’s Brew Pub & Restaurant. I’m also thankful for shameless plugs.

I’m thankful for games that finish in less than three hours and don’t include 14 re-writes.

I know it’s a media obsession and most fans see little or no different between 3:02 and 2:48, but I’ll always take the under. Force pitchers to receive the ball and peer in for the sign, without the strolls and gyrations and status updates on Facebook. Force catchers to accept a limited number of mound visits per game instead of guys like Ryan Hanigan who act like they’ve got a man crush on their pitcher or are allergic to batter’s box chalk.

I’m thankful whenever there’s even a hint that Major League Baseball will consider putting the designated hitter in the National League or ditching it in the American League.

The leagues should play by the same rules. They don’t use the NBA three-point arc only in the Eastern Conference. They don’t allow the two-point conversion only in the AFC. It’s dumb to put the American League at a disadvantage in interleague play by forcing pitchers to hit in NL ballparks while the designated hitter sits.

I’m thankful that Aubrey Huff has found peace while never losing his sense of humor.

I’m thankful for Kim’s thick skin.

Kim-High-Five-Alvarez-White-Sidebar.jpgLabeled as selfish for not accepting a Triple-A assignment in spring training, booed on opening day, planted on the bench for much of April as the 25th man. All of Korea was watching him. And he ended the season as the team leader in average and on-base percentage.

I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to discover firsthand that Pedro Alvarez is an intelligent, articulate man who just doesn’t like talking to reporters.

It has nothing to do with a lack of brains or a limited vocabulary. He isn’t a bad guy. He’s just not going to give you much if you work the beat.

We managed to co-exist. It helps if you don’t bother him much.

I’m thankful that first base coach Wayne Kirby knows enough about this blog that he still asks whether I really had leftovers for breakfast or Muscle Milk.

I rarely touch the stuff, and never for breakfast. And since I’m not being paid to endorse a product, I won’t reveal my protein shake of choice. But it includes whey.

I’m thankful for any fan who learned how to spell Matt Wieters’ last name.

The guy was in the organization for 10 years. He was a first-round pick, four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner. If you can’t get it right by now, there’s really no hope.

I’m thankful that the Orioles never signed Mark Grudzielanek or Marc Rzepczynski. And I’m thankful that I made it through the Scott Kamieniecki era.

Of course, I’m thankful for everyone who is marked “present” at the School of Roch. I’m only here because you’re here.

Now we’ve reached the part of this blog entry where you rank your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.

I’m all about the mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce (out of the can). My mother also smears cream cheese in celery and I eat it like it’s my job. But sweet potatoes aren’t in my wheelhouse. I place them alongside mint (which is only acceptable in toothpaste and peppermint patties) and cilantro on my short list of things that I’d like to see disappear.

Oh, and keep the cloves out of the ham!

Light meat or dark meat? The answer is always “yes.”

Friends are hosting Thanksgiving again this year - I had a wonderful visit with my parents over the weekend - and I’m thankful that anyone is willing to feed me. Whatever they put down on the table is going to take a severe beating.

Food, drinks, football and no presents. It’s my favorite holiday.

I hope yours is safe and special.

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