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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the virtual Orioles start the playoffs tonight

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Tune in to FS1 at 10 pm as Dwight Smith Jr.’s Orioles begin the quarterfinals in the MLB: The Show Players League.

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Atlanta Braves v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Congratulations to everyone for making it to May. April was kind of a slog, huh?

For most of us, we spent the past month socially distancing ourselves in our homes, doing our part to try to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections. And most of us will spend the next month doing the same thing.

It may be boring. But we can do it. When you compare our plight to the people who are facing much more difficult challenges in these trying times — the people who have been hospitalized (or worse), and their loved ones; the health care workers and first responders who are putting themselves at risk to help others; the essential workers who are stocking the shelves at the grocery store, picking up the trash, and everything else needed to keep society functioning — then the rest of us can suck it up and stay home for a while. It’s literally the least we can do.

That means we can live without baseball for now, too, as frustrating as it may be to have to wait. We just finished the first April without major league baseball in the modern era. (Even the strike-shortened 1995 season started by April 25.) We won’t have baseball in May, either. Even the most optimistic scenarios don’t have the season beginning until late June. But hopefully sometime this month MLB will at least be able to finalize a plan for baseball’s return.

In the meantime, there’s still some excitement to be found for O’s fans. Dwight Smith Jr.’s Orioles, with a 19-10 record, advanced to the playoffs of the MLB: The Show Players League. They’re the No. 5 seed in the eight-team postseason, and tonight they’ll square off against Jeff McNeil and the 21-8 Mets in the quarterfinals. McNeil bested Smith when the two met in the first round.

The best-of-three series will air on FS1 at 10 PM. Let’s go, Dwight!

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

In a universe where COVID-19 doesn’t exist, the Orioles completed a four-game sweep of the Royals yesterday afternoon, finishing April with an astounding 25-6 record, the best in baseball. “Surprising Orioles dominate baseball’s first month,” the sports headlines glow. They’ve attracted national attention, garnering “are-they-for-real?” articles from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Us Weekly, Popular Science, Cat Fancy, Good Housekeeping, and, most recently, O Magazine, which Oprah Winfrey declared would be overhauled to become an Orioles-centric publication. “These are the only O’s who matter right now,” she said.

Simulation brought to you by the PWAG (Paul’s Wild-Ass Guesses) system.

Links

Remembering Eric Davis’ comeback from colon cancer - School of Roch
As Trey Mancini prepares for the toughest battle he's ever faced, he’s not the only Oriole who stared down colon cancer and won. Eric Davis talks about his diagnosis and surgery in 1997, which led to his inspiring comeback for the Birds later that season.

Trey Mancini’s dad on his son’s cancer: ‘I’d trade places with him in a second’ – The Athletic
It’s no surprise that Trey Mancini’s parents sound like incredible people. Trey wasn’t kidding when he talked about the great support system he has around him.

Baltimore rallies behind Mancini after diagnosis - Orioles.com
Everyone from Brooks Robinson to Mo Gaba has reached out to give Mancini support and well-wishes during this tough time. Baltimore can be a pretty awesome community, huh?

Checking in with O's prospect Gunnar Henderson (with video) - Steve Melewski
Melewski interviews Gunnar Henderson, a 2019 draftee who could become a household name among Orioles fans in a couple of years. Provided he gets to actually play again soon.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy birthday to O’s righty Dillon Tate, who turns 26. Tate was battling for a spot in the Orioles’ bullpen when spring training was abruptly halted, and presumably he’ll be doing the same if and when “spring training” resumes this season. Also celebrating a birthday today is 1983 O’s right-hander Allan Ramirez (63).

On this day in 1966, the Orioles notched their first 10-game winning streak in club history, beating the Tigers, 4-1, in Detroit. Brooks Robinson went 3-for-5, Boog Powell homered, and Steve Barber worked 7.1 strong innings. With the victory, the eventual world champion Orioles improved to 12-1 for the young season.

And on this date in 2012, O’s skipper Buck Showalter earned his 1,000th career win as a major league manager. It came, appropriately enough, at Yankee Stadium, where he’d begun his managerial career 20 years earlier.