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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where Opening Day is one week away

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There will be real Orioles baseball in just one week. There are some roster things to figure out between now and then.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees
I picked this photo because the photographer is named Mark Brown - but it wasn’t me.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are seven days remaining until the next Orioles game that counts. One week from today, there will be real baseball! If we want to get technical, there was already real baseball yesterday and earlier this morning when the Mariners and Athletics played regular season games in Japan, but since that baseball didn’t involve the Orioles, it doesn’t matter to me. The only Opening Day that counts is the one where the O’s play.

One bit of fun for the O’s thanks to those Tokyo games is that they will spend the first eight days of the regular season tied for a wild card spot, since their 0-0 record is equal to 13 other AL teams.

Between now and the real start of the season, there’s still a scheduled six exhibition games, including one at 1:05 this afternoon, when the O’s travel to the spring home of the Pirates. This game will be broadcast online only via either Orioles.com or the MLB At Bat app. David Hess is scheduled to start for the O’s. Josh Rogers, Tanner Scott, and Mychal Givens are also expected to pitch.

After a defeat at the hands of the Red Sox last night, the Orioles are 12-12-2 in their Grapefruit League schedule. They lost, 6-4. Dylan Bundy was good in 5.1 innings. Cedric Mullins and Dwight Smith Jr. each homered, but Scott was bad and Jimmy Yacabonis was worse and the O’s blew a lead.

There’s still a good bit of uncertainty in who is going to fill out the Orioles roster. Some of that is because of health. Austin Wynns seems like he won’t be ready for Opening Day. What about Renato Nunez, who’s now got bicep tightness? Is Mark Trumbo’s rehab, where he’s batting twice per game he plays and only DHing far enough along to put him on the opening roster?

This is outside of any considerations for who has won any of the various battles in camp, which also must be resolved over the next week. Bit by bit, things are falling into place. They fell a bit more into place yesterday when the O’s decided to grant Alcides Escobar his release as his opt-out arrived. The next opt-out decision comes tomorrow with catcher Jesus Sucre. His chances are probably a little better due to Wynns’s health.

Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 58 days ago. The Orioles have not yet announced any plans to retire his jersey or add his statue to Camden Yards.

Around the blogO’sphere

How the Orioles united Mike Elias, Sig Mejdal, and Brandon Hyde to make over club (Baltimore Sun)
This season will not be very much fun for O’s fans, but reading about the new brain trust continues to make me feel better about the future.

A look at how data and analytics have come to the O’s farm system (Steve Melewski)
Another reminder that everyone responsible for things being the way they were before should have probably lost their jobs a lot sooner than they did.

Rebuilding Orioles won’t be burdened by high expectations (Washington Post)
That’s a polite way of putting it.

Orioles release infielder Escobar (Orioles.com)
“I think rookies break through all the time,” Hyde said. “We want to continue giving them opportunities.” That’s what this season should be all about. No retreads!

Harvey getting good results in minor league camp (School of Roch)
I don’t have it in me any more to tell myself that this year will be the year for Hunter Harvey. I hope that everything comes together for him nonetheless.

Five observations about Orioles spring training (Baltimore Baseball)
Number five is alive! Rich Dubroff lays out the concern about the starting rotation, and offers the simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic view that the rotation will probably look a lot different in June.

MLBPA chief Tony Clark says union is ‘keeping an eye’ on Orioles rebuilding project (Baltimore Sun)
Yesterday was the O’s day to have union meetings. Although the headline makes it sound ominous, the director Clark doesn’t seem too upset about anything to do with the O’s specifically, at least not for now.

Birthdays and anniversaries

One year ago today, the Orioles signed Alex Cobb to a four-year contract. Year one did not go very well.

There is one current Oriole with a birthday today: Happy 27th to Jimmy Yacabonis. Maybe the Orioles will give him a belated present by putting him on the MLB roster in a few days.

The only former Oriole with a birthday today is 1972-75 designated hitter Tommy Davis, who will be celebrating his 80th birthday today. Happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your birthday buddies for today include: Song dynasty founder Emperor Taizu (927), composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685), composer Modest Mussorgsky (1839), actor Timothy Dalton (1946), philosopher Slavoj Zizek (1949), Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu (1959), and actress Rosie O’Donnell (1962).

On this day in history...

In 1800, the newly-elected pope, Pius VII, had to be crowned in Venice rather than Rome, with a papal tiara made of papier-mache. Napoleon’s French had stolen the regular tiara while capturing the previous pope, Pius VI, four years before.

In 1925, the state of Tennessee passed the Butler Act, which forbade the teaching of evolution. Teacher John T. Scopes later ran afoul of this law, leading to a famous trial.

In 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led his third march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Unlike the prior two marches, this one successfully reached Montgomery, in part because President Lyndon Johnson ordered the National Guard to protect the marchers from state and local law enforcement.

In 1980, President Carter announced that the USA would be boycotting the upcoming Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 21 - or at least, unless something happens later today down in Florida. Have a safe Thursday.