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Thursday Bird Droppings: The day that would have been Opening Day

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There was once going to be Orioles baseball today. Now, there probably won’t be any until at least after May.

Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles
There won’t be even this sparse of a crowd today.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

Welcome to another day where most of regular life is on hold in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus. I’m sure I’m not the only one experiencing a feeling where time and days of the week are really blending together. It’s hard to really get a handle on the idea that it was only two weeks ago where, as far as anyone knew when the day began, Opening Day would be proceeding as planned.

A lot has happened in those two weeks. The number of cases of COVID-19 is riding the exponential curve upward. This is the case in just about every state, including Maryland, where there has been an increase of about 20% daily. Hundreds will soon give way to a thousand, and if the rate isn’t slowed, thousands in a few days beyond that.

Hopefully the increasing social distancing measures start to take effect before the curve’s inexorable march reaches a stressful level where you live. If you are somewhere that things are already stressful, I’m sorry to hear it. Wherever you may be, I hope you and those you care about are able to be OK in dealing with COVID-19 and all of the ripple effects it is creating.

In the face of that, baseball matters very little. Yet some day on the far end of this, people will be looking to have fun again and baseball will be important. Even watching the jabronis who were probably going to make the 2020 Orioles rotation would be better than what is happening right now.

The league and players have been negotiating on what a late-starting season might look like. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on Wednesday about some of the proposals that have gone back and forth, with the two sides seeming to accept that early June is the earliest baseball could return. There is a lot of stuff to be figured out for contracts and service time and the like if that is what happens.

Interesting to me, though we’ll have to see if even early June proves to be an optimistic timetable, is the idea that some players are apparently willing to have one or two doubleheaders every week, plus regular season games in October and possibly neutral-site November postseason games in order to get as close to a 162-game season as possible.

The absence of baseball is one of the many things creating a lack of normalcy right now, and at this rate even baseball’s return will be tremendously weird weird.

Around the blogO’sphere

Pitching in limbo: A fixed loophole, a pandemic, and an earthquake (The Athletic)
Things have only gotten stranger in life for the two Rule 5 picks who were returned by the Orioles to their original teams.

On would-be Opening Day, vendor ‘Fancy Clancy’ Haskett waiting for return to normalcy (Baltimore Sun)
Aren’t we all?

Reflecting on past spring trainings with the Orioles (School of Roch)
In which Roch remembers getting roasted by Mike Hargrove for a bad hair decision. If this is the stuff getting written about now, it’s going to get real weird a month from now.

Orioles Opening Day at Home (Orioles.com)
MLB is marking the day that would have been Opening Day as “Opening Day at Home”, blanketing the Internet with one fun game for every team. For the O’s, they’ve chosen, of course, the Delmon Double game. Take a look within to see how you can watch at 4 Eastern.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

In 1960, the Orioles were going to play an exhibition series against the Reds in Havana, though it ended up being played in Miami instead due to concerns over unrest in Cuba.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1998 eight-gamer Jesus Tavarez, 1995 reserve outfielder Jarvis Brown (no known relation), 1989-90 pitcher Mickey Weston, and 1983 reliever Dan Morogiello. Today is Morogiello’s 65th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: poet Robert Frost (1874), Gucci founder Guccio Gucci (1881), playwright Tennessee Williams (1911), Supreme Court pioneer woman Sandra Day O’Connor (1930), actor Alan Arkin (1934), Baltimore-born current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (1940), journalist Bob Woodward (1943), musician Diana Ross (1944), actress Jennifer Grey (1960), and actress Keira Knightley (1985).

On this day in history...

In 1484, Englishman William Caxton published a translation of Aesop’s Fables, the first time they had appeared in English.

In 1812, a Boston Gazette political cartoon coined the term “gerrymander” to described oddly-shaped districts meant to give an electoral advantage. The district in question, created by one Eldridge Gerry, was said to be shaped like a salamander - hence, gerrymander, a term and practice still in use today.

In 1945, during World War II, the Battle of Iwo Jima came to an end after one month and one day of fighting that saw nearly 7,000 Americans and almost 20,000 Japanese killed.

In 1982, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was held in Washington, D.C.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 26. Have a safe Thursday.