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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Where Trey Mancini is a fighter

We learned Mancini’s diagnosis plus a few plans from MLB to get the season started.

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

We learned more about Trey Mancini, his current fight against cancer and his future on the baseball diamond. In a piece published in the The Players’ Tribune on Tuesday, Mancini announced his official diagnosis: stage III colon cancer. He also explained his treatment in the short term: chemotherapy every two weeks for six months. And finally, he answered a question that has selfishly been on the minds on many baseball fans, including myself: “If baseball returns in 2020, it will probably be without me.”

The entire article is well worth your time. Mancini takes you behind the scenes of some of the biggest moments in his life. He discusses his friendship with 13-year-old Mo Gaba and his lifelong battle against cancer. But what really emerges from his writing is Mancini’s positivity, his passion for the game of baseball and his gratitude for all of the things that he holds dear in his life.

It’s unclear what the future has in store for Mancini. If all goes well, he may have enough time to get back to full strength and return to the Orioles lineup sometime in 2021. But that doesn’t really matter right now. Trey and his family should only have to worry about beating this disease while everything else comes secondary.

Links & Notes

After experience Orioles’ fanless game, Buck Showalter isn’t sure MLB should go that route this summer - The Baltimore Sun
It would be a lot of fun to have MLB games back in our lives. But if they are going to happen in 2020, it is going to be without fans in attendance. That appears to be an almost forgone conclusion. At the same time, I agree with Showalter’s point that there remains a practicality concern of quarantining the players and necessary staff, plus games in empty stadiums would lack the excitement of packed crowds. Scrapping the entire season feels like a gut punch, but it may end up as the most responsible decision.

MLB allowing teams to offer refunds for games lost to coronavirus - ESPN
This was inevitable. MLB has finally given up the charade that they would still be able to play a full 162-game season in 2020. As such, fans are getting their money back. If no fans are able to attend the games that do take place this year, they will get additional refunds.

MLB discussing plan to start season in late June, playing in home stadiums with realigned league - USA Today
How many of these plans are MLB officials gonna float to the press before something sticks? There has been a ton of talk among professional sports leagues about opening practice facilities sometime in May or June. These MLB plans jive with that talk. But what is the scientific backing of any of it? It feels more like the executives just want to get the ball rolling towards real games with no evidence that it is safe to do so.

Mock Draft: All 29 first-round picks - MLB Pipeline
As the NFL just proved last weekend, it is still possible to have a draft in the midst of a pandemic, and it went off pretty flawlessly. MLB can do the same thing, and the Orioles hold a bunch of important picks in the one coming up. In this scenario, the O’s would draft Vanderbilt third baseman/outfielder Austin Martin. I won’t pretend to know much about him, but Pipeline calls him “the best pure hitter in the 2020 draft” and says he can “handle almost any position.” The Orioles need infield prospects, and Martin could be a nice fit.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Omir Santos played just 122 total major league games spread across five different seasons. Eleven of those games came with the 2008 Orioles. Santos turns 39 today.

Longtime Rangers manager and current Braves coach Ron Washington turns 68 today. He also spent 26 games with the 1987 Orioles as a utility infielder.

Rick Burleson finished up his 13 seasons in the majors with a 62-game stint as an Oriole in 1987. He turns 69 today.

And finally, happy 86th birthday to Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio. The talented shortstop made his name as a member of the White Sox, but that doesn’t stop him from being an Orioles legend as well. From 1963 through 1967, Aparicio posted a 16.4 bWAR, earned two all-star selections, won two Gold Gloves and helped the O’s win the 1966 World Series.

1902 - Orioles infielder John McGraw gets hit by a pitch five different times, but the umpire does not allow him to take his base. He gets hit once again in the ninth inning and decides to sit down in the batter’s box in protest. McGraw would be suspended for five games.

1988 - The Orioles end their 21-game losing streak to open the season with a 9-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

2015 - The O’s and White Sox face-off in an empty Camden Yards. The lack of a crowd was a safety precaution taken due to riots and protests in the city following a high-profile police brutality case that resulted in the death of Baltimore native Freddie Gray.