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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles will play baseball tomorrow

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Today is the last day before the 2020 Orioles season begins. So, quick, get everything else done now.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles-Workouts Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Let’s flash back to last Sept. 29, when Mookie Betts (in his final act as a Boston Red Sock) came all the way around to score from first on a walkoff single at Fenway, sending the O’s on their way to the long, cold winter. It’s now been 145 days since the Orioles last set foot on a diamond to play baseball against an opponent.

That streak ends tomorrow, when the O’s kick off their 2020 exhibition slate with a 1:05 matchup against the Atlanta Braves in North Port, Fla.

Yes, folks, it’s finally happening. Orioles baseball is back in action. Granted, the first 34 of those are meaningless games — and, arguably, so are the next 162. But still! There’s nothing like watching the O’s take the field for the first time to get me feeling pumped for the 2020 season.

That is, if you even can watch. The Orioles won’t be televising the game, nor will there be an over-the-air radio broadcast, though you can listen online at Orioles.com or on the MLB At-Bat app. And if you have MLB.tv, you can catch the Braves’ TV broadcast on Fox Sports Southeast.

If you are able to tune in, the first two Orioles pitchers you’ll be seeing are Chandler Shepherd and Ty Blach, two 2019 washouts who were removed from the 40-man roster and don’t figure to play any significant role this year, even in the unlikely event they make the team.

Yeah. So the O’s will be opening their 2020 slate with a game that’s not televised locally and features two pitchers nobody is particularly interested in.

Like I was saying, though. Totally pumped!

Links

Myriad Orioles thoughts: Mountcastle’s D, Adley’s attitude, broadcast shakeup – The Athletic
For what it’s worth, Dan Connolly reports that Ryan Mountcastle looks good at first base in fielding drills. That’s kind of like a hitter looking good in batting practice — sure, it’s nice, but let’s see how it translates to actual games.

For the Orioles, there is no shortage of utility candidates - Steve Melewski
These are the guys who are candidates to become bench-warmers on arguably the worst team in baseball. Just as every young player dreams about.

Baltimore Orioles 2020 Draft Targets: A Big First Week For Top Options - Birds Watcher
It’s never too early to think about whom the O’s might select with the second overall pick in the June draft, especially now that college baseball season has begun. Nick Stevens breaks down how the first few games have gone for the top candidates.

Orioles hope to see a different David Hess in 2020 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
You and me both, Orioles.

Orioles to play Mets at Naval Academy - School of Roch
Normally I’d say adding a 34th exhibition game is kind of overkill, but not in this case. This is a legitimately cool thing.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your lone O’s birthday buddy is Tom Shopay (75), who played five years for the Birds in the 1970s, mainly as a pinch-hitter.

On this day in 2017, the Orioles acquired Richard Bleier from the Yankees for cash, which turned out to be one of Dan Duquette’s savvier transactions. Bleier so far has posted a 3.21 ERA in three seasons with the Birds, including a superb 1.99 mark that first season. He’s ticketed for the O’s bullpen again this year, hoping to rebound from a rough 2019.

In less successful Orioles transaction history, it was on this date in 2018 that the club signed both Colby Rasmus and Chris Tillman for $3 million apiece. That money was...not well spent. Rasmus had just six hits in 49 plate appearances before quitting midseason, while Tillman ended his otherwise quality major league career with a horrific 10.46 ERA in seven starts.