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Thursday Bird Droppings: Even imaginary Orioles seasons aren’t going very well

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Today in 1959, it was Opening Day and the Orioles turned a triple play. They lost, though.

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Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

In a parallel universe where everything else is the same except there was no coronavirus to derail the 2020 baseball season, and also where there were no rainouts affecting the Orioles, the team would have played 12 games by now. That would probably have been long enough for us to have our first idea of whether they were going to turn out to be as bad as everybody thought.

An ongoing imaginary window into the 2020 baseball season that would have been is taking place at Baseball Reference. The simulated Orioles being run through their league-wide Out of the Park Baseball 21 game are 3-9, falling in their latest game “yesterday” by a 4-3 score to the Yankees. Familiar real-world Orioles destroyer Gleyber Torres hit a walkoff homer off of Mychal Givens in the ninth to avoid extra innings.

The early days of this simulation have been unkind to some Orioles like Hanser Alberto (.167 average), Chance Sisco (.162), and Renato Nunez (.224). I think that we’re probably all expecting a crummy pitching staff whenever the real Orioles are playing baseball again, but it’ll be a bummer if the offense is so poor. At least simulated Austin Hays (.999 OPS) and Anthony Santander (1.157) have good small sample sizes.

Elsewhere in this simulated league, former Oriole Nick Markakis picked up his first home run of the season as the Braves beat the Padres, Nelson Cruz hit his fourth homer as his Twins beat the Indians, Jonathan Villar’s 10th inning home run helped the Marlins beat the Nationals, and a 13-inning Athletics-Angels game had former O’s as both the winning and losing pitchers, with T.J. McFarland picking up a win and Dylan Bundy getting saddled with a loss.

With a 9-4 record, the Marlins are surprisingly the team in the NL with the best record so far. The biggest AL surprise might be the Mariners at 8-5; in the real world, they were being considered as probable competition for the Orioles in the “FUBAR for Kumar” tankapalooza. The O’s, Phillies, and Tigers are all at 3-9 records so far.

Around the blogO’sphere

Leftovers from Ripken Q&A (School of Roch)
Apparently, the first time Cal ever sat down and watched the 2131 game from start to finish was on Tuesday night when it aired on ESPN.

Bruce Zimmermann is a fast-rising Oriole who believes in science (Fangraphs)
Whenever there’s Orioles and minor league baseball again, Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann is one of the guys from whom I’d most enjoy seeing success.

Hanifee waits to get started - again (Daily News-Record)
O’s pitching prospect Hanifee comes from a family of O’s fans, as you may recall.

Live from Sliders and Pickles: Bars near Camden Yards long for baseball, too (The Athletic)
The Athletic has a free series of articles calling attention to some local businesses that are hurting. Dan Connolly’s highlight’s a couple of Camden-adjacent bars you’ve probably been to before a game at some point.

‘Failure is not an option’: Iron Rooster’s owner on the fight to stay afloat (The Athletic)
This doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the Orioles except that the owner seems to be a fan. And I really like their homemade Pop Tarts that they aren’t allowed to call Pop Tarts for trademark reasons.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1959, the Orioles turned a triple play on Opening Day against the Senators, becoming the first MLB team to ever have an Opening Day triple play. According to the box score on Baseball Reference, it was a line drive, first to short to first. Future disgraced president Richard Nixon, then the vice president, threw out the first pitch before the game. Due to rain, the next 1959 O’s game was played on April 14.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2006-08 pitcher Adam Loewen, and 2008-09 reliever Dennis Sarfate.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Hidden Figures engineer Mary Jackson (1921), Playboy founder Hugh Hefner (1926), veteran baseball scribe Peter Gammons (1945), actress Cynthia Nixon (1966), actress Leighton Meester (1986), and actress Kristen Stewart (1990).

On this day in history...

In 1784, Great Britain’s George III ratified the Treaty of Paris, officially ending the Revolutionary War.

In 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, the effective end of the Civil War.

In 1917, the Canadian Corps launched an assault on Vimy Ridge, a four-day battle that ended in victory and remains a symbol of Canadian achievement. The larger World War I battle of which Vimy Ridge was a part, the Battle of Arras, was less of an immediate success for the British and French.

In 1947, an interracial group of 19 men and women began the Journey of Reconciliation, the first of the Freedom Rides to be interracial, with the goal of protesting the Jim Crow South’s continued segregation even after a 1946 Supreme Court decision that required the end of segregation in interstate travel.

In 1959, NASA announced the first seven American astronauts. All seven eventually flew in space. The first of these was John Glenn.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 9. Have a safe Thursday.