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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are back in Baltimore

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The Orioles are back in town and they brought a winning record with them.

Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles
Roll out the orange carpet. It’s home Opening Day.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

The unbelievable has happened. The Orioles will roll out the orange carpet at Camden Yards today and it’ll be a winning baseball team trotting in to line up on the infield. Somehow, some way, the team that was expected to be among the worst to ever suit up for an MLB season has managed to pull a 4-2 record out of their first road trip, with two road series wins.

That 4-2 mark remains good enough for the Orioles to be in second place in the American League East, trailing the Rays by half a game. There are 156 games still to play. Maybe more of them will be fun than not.

In case you’ve already put last year out of your memory, the 2018 Orioles did not win their second series until the ninth series that they played. It was bad. This year may yet be bad. So far, though, as a team they’ve given little reason to be unhappy with how things have gone.

Whatever happens from here, with the Orioles once again facing the bound-to-rebound Yankees for three games, the O’s were a winning team on the home opener, an outcome that I simply did not believe was possible. Enjoy whatever is fun about this season for as long as it’s fun.

If you didn’t get to watch yesterday’s game, the O’s lost the finale in Toronto, 5-3. Make sure to read Paul Folkemer’s recap of the game to find out what you missed.

Along with being the Orioles home opener, today also marks the beginning of the minor league seasons for all four O’s full season affiliates. Here are the starting pitchers for the opening games:

  • Norfolk: Josh Rogers
  • Bowie: Marcos Molina
  • Frederick: Brenan Hanifee
  • Delmarva: Blaine Knight

Frederick is the only team that opens at home, with a 7:00 game set for tonight. Best of luck to all of the Orioles minor leaguers this season. May the prospects turn into better prospects and the non-prospects turn themselves into prospects.

Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 72 days ago. The Orioles have not yet announced any plans to retire his jersey or erect his statue at Camden Yards.

Around the blogO’sphere

When gates open and everything you need to know for Orioles pregame ceremonies (Baltimore Sun)
Be there with your eyes on the field by 2:30 if you don’t want to miss anything.

Brandon Hyde on Chris Davis, roster move, and more (Steve Melewski)
Not surprisingly, the O’s manager sounds like he’s got a bit more patience about Chris Davis than fans do. I would guess his patience is not infinite.

Quick early trust between pitchers, Jesus Sucre ‘shows we’re going in the right direction’ (Baltimore Sun)
Hyde refers to him as “Suc,” which is just so... baseball manager. And it seems like there are some, dare I say, intangibles, that explain why the Orioles made the decisions they did about who would catch for them to start the season.

Here are the 2019 draft pools and bonus values (MLB.com)
Although the Orioles have the #1 pick this June, they only have the second-highest total bonus pool, because the Diamondbacks have collected three compensation picks and one tradeable competitive bonus pick.

Orioles saving best for last (School of Roch)
The Orioles have won four games with four different pitchers getting saved, and none of those pitchers was Mychal Givens. That’s a good start for anyone who answered “saves by players other than Givens” in our preseason contest.

Tim Beckham has found what works (Fangraphs)
We’ve heard this story before. Good luck to Beckham out in Seattle anyway.

Birthdays and anniversaries

Some bad things happened to bad Orioles teams and good things happened to other bad Orioles teams on this day just since the start of the 21st century. I won’t say what happened to which team because the 2019 Orioles have a winning record right now and I’m not going to be the one to put that bad energy out there.

One current Oriole has a birthday today. Happy 25th to Renato Núñez!

There are also several former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2016 reliever Odrisamer Despaigne, 1995 short-timer Jim Dedrick, 1990 reserve outfielder Brad Komminsk, 1966-67 reserve Mike Epstein, 1967 two-gamer Tom Fisher, and 1966-73 pitcher Eddie Watt. Today is the Iowa-born Watt’s 78th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your birthday buddies for today include: abolitionist congressman Thaddeus Stevens (1792), musician Muddy Waters (1913), poet and activist Maya Angelou (1928), science fiction author Dan Simmons (1948), actor Robert Downey Jr. (1965), magic man David Blaine (1973), actor Heath Ledger (1979), and funny man Eric Andre (1983).

On this day in history...

In 1147, the city of Moscow appears in a historical record for the first time.

In 1818, Congress passed an act which set the number of stripes on the American flag at 13, for the original colonies, with 20 stars for the 20 states at the time. This stars-and-stripes formula has remained constant ever since. The flag this 1818 design replaced had 15 stars and 15 stripes for the 15 states in 1795.

In 1841, President William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia, making him both the first president to die in office and the shortest-serving president. He still holds the latter record. Although it’s commonly believed to this day that he contracted pneumonia while delivering his inaugural address on a cold day, Harrison likely did not get sick until about three weeks after the inauguration.

In 1923, four brothers from the Warner family, Albert, Jack, Harry, and Sam, formed a motion picture company that still exists today.

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 1973, the final flight of the C-141 Starlifter “Hanoi Taxi” took place. This plane was responsible for Operation Homecoming, which ferried Vietnam War POWs back to the United States after America left the war. Today, there remain more than 1,600 personnel unaccounted for.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 4 - or at least, until something happens later when the Orioles play their home opener against the Yankees. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!