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Friday Bird Droppings: Where we’re pessimistic about MLB’s return

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The owners and players seem far apart on an agreement for a 2020 season, and there’s not a lot of time left to reach one.

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Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

So...is anyone else feeling like there’s not going to be any MLB baseball in 2020?

I don’t mean to sound alarmist. But based on the negotiations between the owners and the players that have played out in the press, it seems the two sides are miles apart on reaching an agreement about how to safely and fairly play ball this season.

The health and safety issues for the players in this coronavirus world are one key sticking point, though I think those could be resolved in a way that satisfies all parties. But the financial issues? Not so much. We all know about the conflict here; the players want to be paid their full (prorated) salaries based on how many games they end up playing, while the owners are looking to slash their salary commitments to make up for their losses in gate revenue.

The MLBPA considered the owners’ initial 82-game proposal on Monday, in which the highest-paid players would’ve taken the most severe salary cuts, as insulting and unfair. The MLBPA is expected to present a counterproposal to MLB that consists of a longer season (around 100 games) and players receiving their full salaries, which will likely be summarily dismissed by the owners. Neither side seems willing to budge an inch.

Negotiations will continue, but the parties are running out of time to come to terms. If they want to have a regular season that begins in early July, and a spring training in mid-June, then they’ll need to finalize an agreement within a week (June 1 has been mentioned as a “soft” deadline). I’m getting a sinking feeling that both sides will dig in their heels, come to a stalemate, and punt on having any baseball in 2020, which would be a heartbreaking and infuriating result.

I sincerely hope I’m wrong. As if the world weren’t already a mess right now, a canceled baseball season would be the cherry on top of this disastrous sundae.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

In a universe where COVID-19 doesn’t exist, the Orioles completed a series against the White Sox yesterday by winning three of four. They’ve now won all 18 series they’ve played so far in 2020, holding an overall record of 45-12.

The game ended on a dramatic play. The White Sox, down by two, loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the ninth against closer Hunter Harvey. Eloy Jimenez bounced a comebacker to Harvey, who threw home to cut down the lead runner, and Pedro Severino fired to first to double up Jimenez. Then Chris Davis, noticing Tim Anderson taking too wide a turn around second base, fired to Hanser Alberto, who whirled to Rio Ruiz at third to catch Anderson in a pickle. Ruiz’s return throw to shortstop Jose Iglesias was dropped, prompting Anderson to bolt for third, but Dwight Smith Jr. alertly rushed in from left field to cover the bag. Before Smith could slap down a tag, Anderson slammed on the brakes again and headed back to second, where a hustling center fielder Austin Hays and right fielder Anthony Santander were now stationed. Smith’s throw nicked off Hays’ glove but directly to Santander, who applied the tag on Anderson.

All in all, it went down as a game-ending 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 triple play.

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

Links

A closer look at Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin - Steve Melewski
Austin Martin is the Orioles’ presumed choice with the No. 2 pick in most mock drafts. Melewski gives the lowdown on this guy, with some commentary from Martin’s head coach at Vanderbilt. Not surprisingly, he has very nice things to say.

Orioles’ 2020 schedule likely to feature many quirks - BaltimoreBaseball.com
If the players and owners ever come to an agreement on a 2020 season, it’ll likely include games only against regional opponents. As Rich Dubroff writes, that means most O’s games will be over before 11 pm. Yeah, except when they’re playing the Yankees or Red Sox.

‘Is this TMZ?’: Inside the Beat, 2011 Orioles – The Athletic
Britt Ghiroli continues to take us behind the scenes of her years covering the Orioles, this time the eventful 2011 season. I might quibble with the statement that Kevin Gregg became a “hero” in Baltimore after throwing punches at David Ortiz. I’d just say he became slightly less loathed.

Wondering how prospect development works in 2020 - School of Roch
I’m wondering the same thing, considering that the minor league season is almost certainly canceled for 2020. Pitching coach Doug Brocail assures us the O’s will have a plan in place for development, but he’s not sure exactly what it is yet.

Orioles extend $400 weekly stipend for minor league players through June - Baltimore Sun
Excellent news. It’s good to see the Orioles have a little more class than some other organizations out there (*cough* Athletics).

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have four Orioles birthday buddies: 1998-2004 infielder and unsung hero Jerry Hairston Jr. (44); 1997-98 outfielder and inspirational cancer survivor Eric Davis (58); and mid-1970s right-handers Dyar Miller (74) and Fred Holdsworth (68). Fun fact: Holdsworth was traded to the Orioles on his 23rd birthday in 1975.

On this day in 1965, Jerry Hoffberger took over as majority owner of the Orioles. Hoffberger hired Frank Cashen as club president, and the O’s won their first World Series the following season, then again four years later. Hoffberger was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1996.

On this day in 1967, the O’s acquired Pete Richert from the Senators for two players. Richert spent parts of five seasons with the Birds and led the team in ERA (1.98) and saves (13) for the 1970 championship club.

And on this day in 2013, the Orioles beat the Nationals, 9-6, despite Ryan Zimmerman hitting three home runs. Chris Davis hit two of his own, including the capper of a six-run seventh inning, to fuel the Birds’ comeback win.