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Weekend Bird Droppings: Where Dwight Smith Jr. might be the best gamer in MLB

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The Orioles outfielder has put on an impressive display in the MLB The Show Player’s League.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Dwight Smith Jr. entered the MLB The Show Player’s League with a tougher task than any other participant. Per the rules of the contest, each player must control their real life employer. That means that Smith has had to take the virtual field with the lowest-rated team in the entire league, the 2020 Baltimore Orioles.

Even if you don’t play video games, just take a moment and think about the Orioles current roster. Which players would you be excited to “play” with?

Maybe Hunter Harvey? Try again. The game, for some reason, has his velocity topped out at 96 mph and his overall rating at 56 out of a possible 99.

Adley Rutschman? Perhaps. But he’s in the minors, and therefore ineligible for this competition. The backstop duties are left to Pedro Severino and Chance Sisco.

Even Austin Hays puts forth a fairly bland skill set in video game form. He’s well-rounded but lacking any standout abilities.

The slim pickings are making what Smith is doing in the league even more impressive. The Orioles outfielder went 3-1 for the third straight time on Friday night, bringing his overall record to 9-3. If you missed the action, you can catch the full replay on Smith’s Twitch channel.

That performance puts him in a three-way tie for third place in the entire competition, ahead of more fortunate players like Tommy Kahnle of the New York Yankees, Lance McCullers Jr. of the Houston Astros and Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals.

Of course, there is still a long way to go. Smith has only played 12 of the 29 games on his schedule. But he has put himself in good position. You can next catch Smith back on the sticks this Sunday at 9 p.m. He is set to take on David Dahl (Colorado Rockies), Joey Gallo (Texas Rangers), Ryne Stanek (Miami Marlins) and Niko Goodrum (Detroit Tigers) in the round robin tournament.

Links

Five ways delayed season affects Orioles’ plans - Baltimore Baseball
Many of the ways in which the Orioles have been impacted by the delay of the regular season are the exact same concerns for other teams. It does seem that it is preferential to be a rebuilding team like the O’s rather than a competitor. Sure, the Orioles young players are not getting the minor league reps they need to get better. But they also aren’t accumulating service time. A club like the Dodgers, who gave up a decent package to land Mookie Betts in a contract year, would lose him for nothing if the season were completely cancelled.

The greatest comeback in Orioles history, told through the eyes of Brian Roberts - Yahoo!
The Orioles streamed the referenced game on their social media channels earlier this week. It was such an odd contest to watch back. It was from an age where the ornithologically correct Birds was still featured on the team’s cap. George Sherill, with a repertoire that included 90 mph fastball, was the closer. And Nick Markakis was the face of the franchise.

Half a World Away, the Korea Baseball Organization Looks to Play - FanGraphs
This story is not Orioles-related, but there isn’t much else going on. For those of us currently watching video game baseball contests, any “real” baseball would be a welcome addition. Well, a few of the Asian leagues are starting to get their campaigns underway, albeit in a different fashion.

Memories of Mike Mussina as MASN airs more Orioles moments - School of Roch
Alliterative headline. Memories of better days. Mike Mussina’s handsome mug. This article has it all, baby!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Pete Stanicek turns 57 today. The Stanford alum spent parts of the 1987 and 1988 seasons with the O’s, splitting 113 total games between second base and left field. In his career Stanicek hit .243/.319/.307.

It is also the birthday of Rich Bordi. The 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher was a journeyman, spending parts of nine major league seasons with five different clubs. As an Oriole, Bordi had a 4.46 ERA over 107 innings pitched during the 1986 season. He turns 61 today.

1899 - John McGraw makes his managerial debut as the skipper for the Baltimore Orioles. He would spend just three seasons with the O’s before moving on to the New York Giants, with whom he would put together a Hall of Fame career.

2013 - A walk-off grand slam from Matt Wieters gives the Orioles their 17th consecutive extra innings win. On this particular night the O’s top the Rays 10-6.