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Friday Bird Droppings: Baseball is suspended and everything is terrible

This sucks.

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MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Arizona Diamondbacks The Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

No, scratch that. It’s not a good morning at all. Everything is awful. The world is in the middle of a pandemic that has cost many people their lives, cost others their livelihoods, and will continue to affect countless victims for who knows how long.

Normally in times of strife and chaos, we can at least turn to sports as a much-needed distraction from the harsh realities of life. Sadly, even that is no longer a possibility for the time being. The coronavirus scourge has upended the sporting world, and yesterday MLB officially released the unfortunate news: the league is suspending operations, with all remaining spring training games canceled and the start of the regular season to be delayed at least two weeks. Based on the horrifically rapid rate at which the virus has spread through the United States so far, chances are the delay will end up being considerably longer than two weeks.

The decision was, obviously, the correct course of action. There’s simply no reason to risk exposing people to a potentially life-threatening contagion by cramming thousands of fans (not to mention the players and staff) into a single venue. If anything, MLB probably didn’t act quickly enough to cancel their games. There were still a few spring training games in front of sizable crowds going on yesterday as MLB was discussing the plan with team owners, which seems kind of irresponsible.

MLB followed in the footsteps of nearly every other major sport. On Wednesday, the NBA announced the suspension of its season after a member of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus (and one of his teammates has since tested positive as well). The NHL followed suit yesterday. And the NCAA canceled its championships in every sport, most notably the March Madness men’s basketball tournament, after initially planning to play the games in empty arenas.

This sucks. The world is burning and we don’t even have baseball to provide a reprieve. We’ve been (literally) counting down the days to Opening Day and now we don’t have any idea when — or even if — the 2020 Orioles season will begin. That, of course, is not the most pressing concern in life right now, but it just adds to the heaping pile of horrible that is current world events.

Oh, and did I mention Trey Mancini had a malignant tumor removed from his colon? The Orioles made the announcement yesterday afternoon, following days of speculation about Mancini’s health status. There is not yet a timetable for Mancini’s recovery, and lab results won’t be known until next week, but the phrase “malignant tumor” is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine. We can only hope Mancini, a fan favorite and a top-notch Oriole, will have a speedy and healthy recovery.

It’s been an emotionally draining day, folks. Please stay safe out there.


FAQ: How coronavirus impacts Orioles, MLB -
Joe Trezza tells you everything you need to know — or at least, everything that’s knowable at this point — about what to expect in the wake of MLB’s suspension of activities.

Chris Davis on MLB delaying start of regular season: ‘It doesn't seem real’ -
Orioles player rep Chris Davis seems as shocked as the rest of us at how quickly events have unfolded in the past few days. I feel bad for the players and their families, who are now stuck in a state of limbo for weeks or possibly months.

Mancini has malignant tumor removed from colon - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko provides further details on Mancini’s surgery, including a typically classy statement from the man himself.

No game today, but it was an eventful day for the Orioles and MLB - Steve Melewski
Basically everything happened to the Orioles yesterday except a baseball game being played. Get used to that last part.

The National Guard, armored cars, silence: Scenes from MLB’s scariest series – The Athletic
Longtime O’s beat writers Dan Connolly and Brittany Ghiroli reminisce about covering the infamous no-fans game in Baltimore in 2015. I covered that game too, and yes, it was eerie as hell. Hearing Gary Thorne’s “goodbye, home run!” call booming from above the press box provided some much-needed levity, though.

Dorktown: The year Caleb Joseph couldn’t drive in a run to save his life -
On the lighter side, Alex Rubenstein and Jon Bois reflect on Caleb Joseph’s zero-RBI season in 2016, complete with charts and graphs. Poor Caleb can't escape that ignominious season even four years later.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday, and I’m sorry it had to come at such a dismal time. One former Oriole was born on this date: 1999-2000 first baseman Will Clark, who turns 56.

On this day in 1996, the O’s acquired Tony Tarasco from the Expos. Tarasco played just two seasons with the Birds but was prominently involved in one of the most infamous plays in franchise history during the ‘96 ALCS. Tarasco was camped under a Derek Jeter fly ball at Yankee Stadium before a little brat named Jeffrey Maier reached out of the stands and...well, you know the rest.

It’s a memory that has haunted O’s fans ever since. Still, I’d gladly go back to a time when that was the biggest thing we had to worry about.