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Thursday Bird Droppings: The two weeks until Opening Day edition

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Orioles Opening Day is now only 14 days away. As measures to combat coronavirus are stepped up, will it end up as another empty Camden Yards game?

Baltimore Orioles v Philadelphia Phillies
Alex Cobb, throwing the one inning he’s thrown so far this spring training.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 14 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day, or at least the currently scheduled Opening Day. The emerging understanding of the spread of coronavirus has already touched the start of the season for at least one MLB city, with the Washington state government limiting large gatherings for the rest of the month. The Mariners and their early opponents may not be the last teams who either play their first games elsewhere or in front of empty stadiums.

The uniform number 14 is currently in use by Rio Ruiz. It’s also been worn over the years by Orioles such as Nolan Reimold, Mike Bordick, and Mickey Tettleton.

For now, the spring training schedule rolls on. The O’s are in action on the road against the Twins tonight, with 6:05 game that will be on the Orioles Radio Network, and if you can watch it on MLB.tv you can get the Twins TV broadcast. After getting their butts kicked by a 14-2 margin by the Blue Jays yesterday, the O’s record is now 9-7-3 in Grapefruit League action.

If there’s silver lining from such a beatdown, it’s that there will probably (hopefully) not be too many 2020 Orioles games impacted by the pitching capability of Thomas Eshelman, who gave up nine of the runs in two innings. On the other hand, Hunter Harvey gave up two runs in less than one full inning, which isn’t as fun. Mychal Givens also gave up a pair of runs. So there’s not much silver lining after all, unless you want to tell yourself that the six home runs the O’s gave up were all wind-aided.

Between the continuing unknown of Trey Mancini’s health and the much more global coronavirus situation, it’s kind of weird to sit down and think about baseball. So much other stuff is going on that reminds us that baseball doesn’t matter very much.

It feels like it will only be a matter of time until MLB has to make a more drastic decision than anything they have done so far. The current not-even-half-measure of keeping media from having clubhouse access is not going to cut it for long when the NBA season is suspended after a player tested positive for coronavirus, the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments will play in near-empty arenas, and Tom Hanks has it also. Really.

With all of that going on, the idea that there are going to be 40,000 people at Camden Yards in two weeks (assuming they sold that many tickets) seems unlikely. Whether you’re near a current hotspot of this virus or not, please do the best you can to take care of yourself and the people around you.

Around the blogO’sphere

Coronavirus concerns reach the majors (Fangraphs)
A nice rundown of where things seem to be so far. It sucks that everyone’s go-to reference is the Orioles-White Sox game that had no fans due to the 2015 Baltimore riots. Seems like those games may have some company soon.

Cobb scratched due to blister on pitching hand (School of Roch)
Alex Cobb has thrown all of one inning in an organized spring game so far. He was going to start today, and now, due to a blister, he’s not.

Gotta hand it to him: How Orioles outfielder Austin Hays handles life without batting gloves (Baltimore Sun)
The O’s beat writers have done a good job of digging up some fun little quirky stories this spring training. Here’s another good one on a guy who does it without batting gloves.

Orioles still have many roster decisions to make (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff thinks the bullpen is where most of the decisions are left to be made between now and Opening Day.

Dillon Tate looking to make Orioles roster (Orioles.com)
Tate is one of the guys in that bullpen mix. It doesn’t hurt to be on the 40-man roster already.

DL Hall on his 2019: “It was really big for development” (Steve Melewski)
He walked way too many dudes! Hopefully this theory that it was important for developing secondary pitches shows up in 2020 results. Another guy in this same category is Keegan Akin.

SI MLB preview 2020 (Sports Illustrated)
A 53-109 record predicted for the Orioles, and a 105-57 record and a World Series title predicted for the Yankees. This would not make for a very fun season of watching baseball for me.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

A handful of former Orioles were born on this day. They are: 1989-90 outfielder Steve Finley, 1960 five-gamer Ray Barker, and 1958 short-timer Chuck Oertel.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: singer/musical inspiration Agathe von Trapp (1913), Chess Records co-founder Leonard Chess (1917), author Jack Kerouac (1922), early astronaut Wally Schirra (1923), actress Liza Minnelli (1946), and actor Coutrney B. Vance (1960).

On this day in history...

In 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA - then known as the Girl Guides - were founded.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his first national address as president - the first of his “fireside chats.”

In 1940, the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union ended with the signing of the Moscow Peace Treaty. Finland was required to surrender much of the territory it had controlled around Lake Ladoga.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 12 - or at least, until something happens later down in Florida. Have a safe Thursday.