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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Richard Bleier’s birthday edition

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There will be no Orioles baseball today, unless you watch Dwight Smith Jr. play MLB The Show, which was actually kinda fun last time.

MLB: FEB 18 Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
The birthday guy staring into your soul from spring training.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

In the parallel universe where everything is the same as this one except there were no baseball games delayed due to either coronavirus or rain, the Orioles would have played 18 games by now. Instead, well, you know.

For a while now, I’ve been assuming that something resembling an MLB season would be able to be put together because there are a lot of parties with vested financial interests in having some baseball be played. Also, even after a month of living with COVID-19-related restrictions, the idea of things not being closer to normal by July is hard to wrap my head around.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert who’s been indefatigable as he tries to communicate useful information to non-experts both in the public and in the government, weighed in yesterday and suggested something like “The Arizona Plan” - where games are played in empty stadiums and players are kept in hotels and regularly tested, might be the best bet for having any kind of baseball season.

It’s a tough idea to take. But denying reality because it conflicts with what we want to be true is never productive, so we should all probably prepare for things to stay strange and dangerous for a while longer.

In the meantime, there are assorted simulated Orioles to keep track of.

The Baseball Reference simulated Orioles through Out of the Park Baseball were winners “yesterday,” beating the Cubs, 6-4. The video game Orioles stormed back from a 4-0 deficit with a five-run sixth inning, with imaginary Jose Iglesias driving in a pair of runs and imaginary Jose Rondon plating two more with a home run, one of two Rondon hit in the game.

These Orioles now have a 7-11 record. Over a full season, that would be a 63-win pace, undeniably the record of a horrible baseball team but still nine wins better than they mustered in the real world in 2019.

The Orioles helmed by Dwight Smith Jr. in MLB The Show will be back in action tonight. I had more fun than I expected to watching some of Smith’s play on Monday night, when he started out with a 3-1 record. Smith will be playing a three-inning game against each of the Nationals, Cardinals, Twins, and Braves tonight starting at 9 Eastern. You can see the full schedule and standings here, as well as where you can tune in.

Around the blogO’sphere

Elias on importance of draft preparation while unsure of length (School of Roch)
I might have phrased this headline differently.

Richie Martin’s grandfather played with Jackie Robinson (Orioles.com)
Yesterday was the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in MLB, a good occasion to remember a story from last year about how Martin’s grandfather was one of Robinson’s Negro Leagues teammates.

Projecting the Cactus/Grapefruit League standings (Fangraphs)
The Orioles are the only team whose playoff odds are unchanged when going from a projected regular season to a projected Cactus/Grapefruit League season. They are 0.0% either way.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There is one current Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 33rd to Richard Bleier, who has been with the team since 2017.

Today is also the birthday of 1972-73 reserve catcher Sergio Robles.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: octant inventor John Hadley (1682), magnesium discoverer Joseph Black (1728), aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright (1867), actor Charlie Chaplin (1889), author Kingsley Amis (1922), basketballer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1947), singer-songwriter Selena (1971), and rapper Chance the Rapper (1993).

On this day in history...

In 1457 BC, it’s believed that Egyptians led by Pharaoh Thutmose III battled the Canaanites in the Battle of Megiddo - the earliest battle in history recorded with details accepted today as mostly reliable.

In 1746 AD, the Jacobites were defeated by the Duke of Cumberland in the Battle of Culloden, after which the English cleared the Scottish highlands of settlements and curtailed highland traditions in retribution.

In 1945, the Soviet Army launched what ended up being the final asasult that captured Berlin in World War II. Nearly a million Soviet soldiers were involved in the four-day Battle of the Seelow Heights.

In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 16. Have a safe Thursday.