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Friday Bird Droppings: Where an ex-Oriole is thriving in Korea

Remember Mike Wright? Tall guy, couldn’t get MLB hitters out? Now he and his team are thriving overseas.

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MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

While we’re stuck in a waiting game to find out whether the 2020 MLB season will ever happen, let’s check back in on the Korea Baseball Organization, which began its season two and a half weeks ago with six former Orioles on various rosters.

Sitting atop the standings so far are the NC Dinos, who have jumped out to a 12-2 record as of this writing. I caught the end of their game against the Doosan Bears on ESPN2 yesterday morning. The Dinos entered the top of the ninth inning trailing, 4-3, and proceeded to put up a nine-spot on the board in their final at-bat, ultimately winning 12-6. That seems pretty good. #analysis

Joining in on the fun is the Dinos’ first-year foreign import, former Orioles right-hander Mike Wright. Wright’s five-year stint with the O’s ended last April with a career 5.95 ERA, but so far he’s found the KBO much more to his liking, going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his first three starts, according to MyKBO.

Wright didn’t make a lot of fans in Baltimore over the years, but hey, good for him for finding some success. He’s one of the very few American baseball players who’s actually participating in professional competition right now, and he and his team are off to a hot start. He’s making the best of what’s a very weird time in the world right now.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

In a universe where COVID-19 doesn’t exist, the Orioles continued a 10-game road trip by opening a four-game series in Toronto last night. Against a Blue Jays lineup stacked with sons of former big league stars — Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette — the Orioles, on a whim, decide to make things interesting by signing all of their dads to one-day contracts. That’s the kind of thing you can afford to do when you’re already 15 games ahead in your division.

Not only do the family reunions put everyone in a cheerful mood, but the Orioles’ signees lead their team to victory. The Hall of Famer Guerrero Sr., who last suited up for the Birds in 2011, hits a first inning home run to give the Birds a quick lead. Later in the game, fellow Hall of Famer Craig Biggio singles and steals second — still showing some speed in his 54-year-old legs — and scores on a double by 56-year-old Dante Bichette. The Orioles roll to a 5-2 victory, giving them 40 wins in 50 games, and the fathers and sons go out for steaks afterwards.

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


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 26th birthday to current O’s third baseman Rio Ruiz, who unfortunately has to spend it not playing baseball. Still, he figures to have the inside track on the Birds’ starting third base job if and when the season begins. Other Orioles celebrating birthdays today include Dutch right-hander Rick van den Hurk (35), Maryland-born lefty John Bale (46), and longtime big league closer Jose Mesa (54), whose 19-year MLB career began with the Orioles in 1987.

The Orioles have had a bunch of exciting walkoff wins on this date in history. In 1964, down to their last out against the Twins in Baltimore, Sam Bowens and John Orsino hit back-to-back homers off two different relievers to pull off a stunning victory. In 1974, Ross Grimsley pitched 12 shutout innings against Cleveland, then was rewarded with the win on Paul Blair’s RBI single in the bottom of the 12th. And in 1976, Ken Singleton thrilled the Memorial Stadium crowd by crushing a walkoff grand slam against the Tigers, sending the Birds home as 8-4 winners.