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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where the players are taking a look at MLB’s plan

There’s a little bit of actual momentum toward a 2020 season, as MLB is sending a proposal to players today. But now things could get contentious.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark answers questions about Astros sign stealing scandal
MLB proposed a plan for a 2020 season, but Tony Clark and the MLBPA will surely have some thoughts.
Photo by Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Could there be an actual light at the end of the tunnel for the suspended 2020 MLB season? Yesterday, MLB owners approved a proposal for baseball’s return, and today it’ll be sent to the MLB Players Association for review.

The proposal, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, maps out an 82-game season beginning in early July, with spring training 2.0 to begin in mid-June. Under the proposed schedule, teams would play in their (empty) home ballparks — if state governments allow for it — but to reduce travel, they’d play only against the opponents in their own division and in the same division in the opposite league. So all 82 of the Orioles’ games would come against the AL East and NL East. The playoffs would be expanded from 10 teams to 14, with four wild cards in each league.

Those parts of the plan, while very different from usual, probably won’t be a huge problem for players. But there are several issues that are expected to be quite contentious. Most notably, owners are requesting a 50-50 revenue split with players, which the MLBPA is almost surely not going to agree to.

Beyond that, players are concerned about their safety of themselves, their families, and all the support staff who would be needed to make a baseball season happen. The NationalsSean Doolittle laid out a bunch of those issues in a Twitter thread yesterday, including: how often will players/staff be tested for COVID-19? How will MLB acquire those tests? What happens if a player tests positive? How will players/staff who have pre-existing conditions be protected? Will clubhouses be modified to decrease the risk of the virus spreading?

All good questions. And it’s unclear if MLB’s proposal addresses any or all of them satisfactorily. Today, the players get their first look at MLB’s plan, but that surely won’t be the end of the negotiations. There’s likely going to have to be a lot of back and forth between the two sides before they can agree to a deal for baseball’s return — if they can agree at all.

So, as always, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

In a universe where COVID-19 doesn’t exist, the Orioles would’ve opened a three-game series against Cleveland at Camden Yards last night.

Normally in this space, I speculate on what might have happened in the game based on my proprietary, definitely scientifically sound Paul’s Wild-Ass Guesses (PWAG) system. But today, I need to point out the absolutely ridiculous game the Orioles played in Baseball Reference’s simulated season using Out of the Park Baseball 21.

In last night’s game, the Orioles hit seven home runs. That included three consecutive roundtrippers off Cleveland starter Mike Clevinger in the first, and then back-to-back homers in the second. DJ Stewart (who is now the cleanup hitter, apparently?) hit two dingers, as did Austin Hays. The O’s pounded out 11 runs on 15 hits...

...and they still lost the game. The Birds blew an 11-3 lead, giving up 13 unanswered runs from the fifth inning on. The O’s starter, someone named Kyle Lloyd, couldn’t get through the fifth, and then five relievers combined to allow 11 runs. Check out the simulated box score and play-by-play.

That sounds like it would’ve been an absolutely infuriating game to witness. Although I’d gladly watch a game like that instead of, well, watching no baseball at all.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You share your day with three ex-Orioles, including 2014 righty Evan Meek (37), best known for giving up Derek Jeter’s walkoff hit in his final game at Yankee Stadium and then talking about what a great moment it was. Meek never threw another major league pitch after that. Your other O’s birthday buddies are 1982-85 catcher Joe Nolan (69) and 1995 outfielder Kevin Bass (61).

May 12 has been an eventful day in the career of Hall of Fame O’s ace Jim Palmer. In 1967, he threw what could be called a one-hit perfect game, facing the minimum 27 batters in a shutout win at Yankee Stadium. The only baserunner Palmer allowed was a Horace Clarke leadoff single in the seventh, but he erased him on a double play.

And on this date in 1984, Palmer made the final appearance of his legendary MLB career, giving up four runs in two innings of relief against the Athletics. The Orioles released him five days later and he announced his retirement.