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Friday Bird Droppings: Where we’d gladly accept baseball in any form

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A 100-game season? Games with no fans in attendance? Games at neutral sites? We’ll take it however we can get it.

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MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

We’re months away from any kind of baseball taking place. We’re at least several weeks away from even solidifying a plan for baseball to take place. While COVID-19 continues to run rampant throughout the country and the world, baseball is obviously not the priority right now.

Still, for players, owners, and those who work in baseball, it’s worth having preliminary conversations about what a 2020 season could eventually look like, if a season is possible at all. Earlier this week the New York Post reported on discussions between MLB and the Players Association about how the season could be salvaged, with the understanding that fans wouldn’t be allowed to attend at first (and maybe not at all). Another report spoke of rumors about a July 1 start date and a 100-game season through mid-October, followed by a neutral-site World Series in a warm-weather city.

To which I say...yes, please! Do that. All of it. Any of it. If it’s at all feasible and safe for baseball to be played sometime this summer, I’ll gladly take it. I won’t complain about any unusual adjustments that might have to be made to the schedule or to the style of play. Heck, Rob Manfred could go nuts and implement some of those crazy rules he’s been talking about in recent years. I’m fine with expanding the playoff field or banning shifts or starting extra innings with runners on base if it means we can see baseball on our TV this year.

It won’t be simple. And maybe it won’t happen at all. But we desperately need a distraction from the chaos that’s going on in our lives. Baseball, please come back.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

In a universe where COVID-19 doesn’t exist, the Orioles took their show on the road for the first time in 2020, following a season-opening six-game homestand in which they went 4-2 against the Yankees and Red Sox.

Yesterday, they traveled to St. Louis for just the second time in Orioles history — and the first since 2003 — for the Cardinals’ 2020 home opener. The Cards, of course, were feeling pretty confident about icing an easy home victory to celebrate with their sellout crowd, but the O’s had other plans. Austin Hays’ leadoff home run set the tone for an offensive outburst, which also featured Hanser Alberto’s three hits (all singles) and a pair of Pedro Severino RBIs. Renato Nunez delivered a pinch-hit, two-run double.

The O’s led 8-2 in the seventh with help from an Asher Wojciechowski quality start, and a bullpen near-meltdown was averted as Hunter Harvey notched his first major league save, icing an 8-7 win. With that, the Orioles improved to 5-2, and Cardinals fans went home disappointed. Too bad, so sad.

Links

Like its namesake, Earl Weaver Baseball was way ahead of its time – The Athletic
Keith Law pays tribute to the classic video game and interviews its creator. I chuckled at the part where Earl met with game designers and ended up stationing them around the room to show how relay throws work.

MASN to air Orioles classics all week - Orioles.com
MASN is going to air a dozen memorable O’s games over the next week, from 2131 to Eddie’s 500th home run to a 1970 World Series game, mixed in with some walkoffs from recent years. Which ones on this list are you most interested in, Camden Chatters?

Revisiting the trade of Manny Machado - Steve Melewski
Remember when Dan Duquette was the O’s GM? That seems like approximately 100 years ago. But he made a rather high-profile trade you may have heard about, and Melewski checks in on how the prospects from that deal have panned out so far.

Phillips keeping his spring roommates and new routine - School of Roch
If you've been lying awake at night wondering how the baseball shutdown has affected Evan Phillips, you can now rest easy.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You share your day with only one Oriole, but it’s a good one: the delightful Koji Uehara (45), the Birds’ first prominent signing from Japan, who made 12 starts as a rookie in 2009, then became the O’s closer. He ended up carving out a quality nine-year career in the majors, winning a World Series with the Red Sox in 2013. Koji just retired from baseball last season after nine appearances for the Yomiuri Giants, his original NPB team.

On this day in 1997, the O’s beat the Royals in the season opener behind newly signed free agent Jimmy Key, who improved to an MLB-record 7-0 in Opening Day starts. And on this day in 2011, Zach Britton made his major league debut with six innings of one-run ball to beat the Rays. In the nine years since, he’s taken on a new role (reliever), a new team (Yankees) and a new first name (Zack), but he’s still a pretty good pitcher.