In the parallel universe where everything is exactly like this one except that there is no coronavirus and no rain delays, the 2020 Orioles would have played 26 of their 162 games by now. Since we are in this universe instead, well, you know.
How are you holding up in the time of COVID-19? It is a wearying time to be alive even if you have not yet been affected by either the virus itself or the economic effects of a whole lot of places being shut down. By this point I think most of us know someone who has been hit by one or the other. It sucks, and all we can really do about it is limit trips outside and wear a mask on those trips.
At least for me, I find things a bit less stressful than they were a month ago. For a while there, every day brought fresh bad news and fresh restrictions or rumors of restrictions. That was tough. The sense of weirdness grew every day, and in the first 2-3 weeks there was “What if I got it before all these precautions were put in place?” anxiety regularly. Now it’s just, this is how things are right now. That has its challenges too, but it’s not hitting me new every day.
While life is on hold, we’ve still got simulated Orioles baseball going on in different places, for whatever that is worth to you.
In the Baseball Reference-run simulation through Out of the Park Baseball, the Orioles were beaten “yesterday” by the Angels, 2-1. It might have been one of those losses that was a little easier to stomach than others, as the O’s scored only one unearned run in eight innings against Shohei Ohtani, and one of the runs came when Mike Trout hit his sixth home run of the season.
These simulated O’s are now 9-15 on the season. There are four teams with fewer wins and four other teams at nine wins. Elsewhere in the league, Jake Arrieta fell to 0-4 on the season as the Rangers beat the Phillies, Eduardo Rodriguez picked up a win as the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, Wei-Yin Chen took the loss for the Mariners against the Twins, and Manny Machado hit his third home run in a losing effort for the Padres against the Cubs.
The Athletic recently updated the progress of its Alternate Universe sim, where writers focused on each team are helping to make the decisions. The Dan Connolly-influenced Orioles are now 12-25. Not great! I don’t know why they have played 37 games. Connolly’s Orioles have lost Alex Cobb to elbow surgery and have suffered injuries to all three 40-man roster catchers. He had Dean Kremer on the Opening Day roster but sent him back to the minors after three starts.
Things are going better for Ryan Mountcastle, who also made the Opening Day roster in the simulation. Mountcastle has hit 10 homers already and is batting .304/.324/.556. We’d all have taken that in the real world.
In a different video game, there’s Dwight Smith Jr. keeping the Orioles in the postseason picture in the MLB Players League on MLB The Show. Smith played another three games last night, going 2-1 against the Royals, Padres, and Astros. That leaves Dwight with a 14-8 across the competition. He’s in seventh place with another seven games left to play. Each team plays each team once and then the top eight qualify for a playoff.
Dwight will be back in action tonight for another four matches starting at 9pm Eastern, so if you want to tune in to his Twitch channel then, you probably won’t regret it.
Around the blogO’sphere
Trade deadline status and other lingering questions (School of Roch)
Roch wonders about when there’d be a trade deadline during an altered or shortened 2020 season. It’s a question I hadn’t thought about before now.
Orioles to pay all employees through May; City Council members call on team to pay contracted concession workers (Baltimore Sun)
The O’s have joined the majority of other MLB teams who committed to paying people until at least the end of May. Concession workers are still waiting, though.
Inbox: Who should the Orioles take at #2? (Orioles.com)
The draft is going to be strange this year, with fewer rounds on a different date, and there weren’t many games to scout before coronavirus came along. Joe Trezza guesses a college bat, maybe Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson or Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin.
Notes on a simulation sweep, KBO starting up, and more (Steve Melewski)
The five seed Orioles all-time team was swept in four games by the twelve seed Astros all-time team in MLB’s Dream League sim on Out of the Park Baseball. Rough.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 1994, the Orioles beat the Mariners, 4-3. Of note in the game is that Lee Smith picked up his ninth save, making him the first pitcher to ever have nine saves in his team’s first 16 games. By the time the strike hit, Smith had saved 33 of the team’s 112 games. The 63-49 Orioles were 2.5 games shy of the AL wild card spot and 6.5 back in the AL East.
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2009 six-game reliever Sean Henn, 1968 reserve infielder Chico Fernandez, and 1957 seven-gamer Buddy Peterson. Today is Fernandez’s 81st birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: 15th president James Buchanan (1791), Lincoln opponent Stephen Douglas (1813), constant physicist Max Planck (1858), baseball Hall of Famer Warren Spahn (1921), actress Shirley Temple (1928), actress/Food Network personality Valerie Bertinelli (1960), wrestler/actor John Cena (1977), Last Week Tonight with John Oliver host John Oliver (1977), and model Gigi Hadid (1995).
It’s also the observed birthday of William Shakespeare (1564). He probably was not born on this day, but he did die on this day (1616) and at some point people couldn’t resist the symmetry.
On this day in history...
In 1014, the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, led his force to victory over the invading Vikings in the Battle of Clontarf. Boru was killed in the battle, as were his son Murchad and grandson Toirdelbach; he remains a popular hero in Irish lore.
In 1914, the first baseball game was played at Weeghman Park in Chicago, still in use today as Wrigley Field. The Cubs did not arrive until 1916.
In 1942, during World War II, Nazi bombers began a series of attacks on British historical sites. The so-called “Baedeker Blitz,” dubbed after the once-ubiquitous German Baedeker tourist guidebooks, led to damage and casualties in places like Bath and Canterbury, though most sites escaped severe damage.
In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company released “New Coke.” It did not go well and original Coke was back on the market within three months.
In 2005, the first ever video was posted to YouTube: “Me at the zoo”
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 23. Have a safe Thursday.