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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where there might not be baseball in 2020 after all

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Just days after guaranteeing there’d be baseball in 2020, Rob Manfred walked back that statement yesterday. What a debacle.

MLB: Winter Meetings
Pictured: the worst commissioner in professional sports.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

I hope you enjoyed last week’s draft, because it may turn out to be the only MLB-related event in 2020.

Manfred told ESPN yesterday that he’s “not confident” there will be an MLB season this year, contradicting his statements from just last week that the chances of a season were “100 percent” and that “unequivocally we are going to play Major League Baseball this year.”

Sigh. Just when you think MLB couldn’t possibly get any more incompetent, here we are.

Over the weekend, the MLBPA decided to end negotiations with MLB after the owners’ repeated refusal to pay players their full prorated salaries. The players’ union directed Manfred to set the schedule himself, saying, “It’s time to get back to work. Tell us when and where.”

The answers, it seems, could be “never” and “nowhere.” Although Manfred has the power to unilaterally set a schedule, apparently he’d rather continue to burn bridges with the players (and fans). In Manfred’s interview with ESPN, he said that “there’s a real risk” as long as there’s no dialogue with the players.

A risk of what, you might ask? A health risk because of coronavirus? Why...no! It seems the risk Manfred is referring to is that the MLBPA could file a grievance against MLB for missed pay, arguing that the owners didn’t make a “good faith effort” to agree on a longer schedule.

Because of course. The “real risk” here, amidst a global pandemic, is that billionaire owners might have to shell out a few extra bucks that they don’t want to. Have I mentioned yet that MLB is the absolute worst?

In fact, The Associated Press reported that the commissioner’s office told the MLBPA that it won’t proceed with a schedule unless the players waive their right to file a grievance. That doesn’t sound shady at all! (That’s sarcasm, folks.) In response, the MLBPA said it was “disgusted” by Manfred’s actions and called it “just another day and another bad-faith tactic.”

Current and former players chimed in with their thoughts:

Manfred also told ESPN, “the owners are 100 percent committed to getting baseball back on the field,” a comment that made me literally laugh out loud.

So here we are. Major League Baseball, through sheer force of incompetence, idiocy, arrogance, and selfishness, is in real danger of canceling its entire 2020 season.

Great work, gang. Why do any of us even follow this stupid league?

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

In a universe where COVID-19 doesn’t exist, the Orioles opened a four-game series in Cleveland last night with a 10-3 victory, improving their record to 56-16. Before the game, the Orioles were the guests of honor at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where they were surprisingly inducted into the 2020 class. “Sure, they don’t play music,” said the Hall’s president, “but the Orioles are so dominant at what they do that they should immediately be inducted into every possible Hall of Fame.”

Within hours, the O’s had been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame, the Space Camp Hall of Fame, and the Magic: The Gathering Hall of Fame, among hundreds of others.

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

Links

Who’s ready for a really short baseball season? - School of Roch
I am, especially given the frightening alternative. Fifty (or so) games hardly seems like a baseball season at all, but that’s 50 days where I don’t have to find something else to do. I’ve already run out of TV shows to watch.

Myriad Orioles thoughts: Draft ‘cheapness,’ solid business, a Manny Machado lie – The Athletic
Dan Connolly explains that while he wouldn’t have drafted Heston Kjerstad over Austin Martin, it wasn’t a matter of the Orioles being cheap. They’ll still be using almost all of their allotted draft funds, just redistributing it in a different way.

A conversation with Ken Guthrie, Heston Kjerstad’s scout - Steve Melewski
Lest you think the Orioles were flying blind with the Kjerstad pick, you should know that an O’s scout has been tracking his progress since high school. Whether Heston pans out or not, you can’t say the Orioles didn’t get a good look at him.

Orioles’ Top 5 managers: Trezza’s take - Orioles.com
Joe Trezza ranks the best managers in O’s history, with the No. 1 spot being an easy pick. My only quibble: I’d like to have seen Davey Johnson in the top five. Sure, he managed only two years, but what a two years they were.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You share your day with O’s playoff legend Joe Saunders (39), who memorably outdueled Yu Darvish in the 2012 Wild Card Game to advance the O’s to the ALDS. You’ll never have to pay for your own drink in Baltimore again, Joe. Other ex-Orioles with birthdays today are 2005-07 utility man Chris Gomez (49) and the late 1959 righty Ernie Johnson (b. 1924, d. 2011).

On this day in 1986, the Orioles traded righty Dennis Martinez to the Expos, ending his ten-year tenure in Baltimore, in which he won 108 games. Even though “El Presidente” was 32 years old at the time of the trade, he went on to pitch for 12 more seasons, becoming the winningest Latino pitcher in MLB history until Bartolo Colon passed him in 2018. (Random factoid about Martinez: he finished his career with 3,999.2 innings pitched. Come on, he couldn’t have gotten one more out in all that time to make it an even 4K?)

And on this date in 2015, the Orioles set a franchise record with eight home runs in one game, bludgeoning the Phillies at Camden Yards, 19-3. Chris Parmelee, making his O’s debut, hit two dingers, as did Manny Machado. Adding a tater apiece were Chris Davis, Ryan Flaherty, David Lough, and Jimmy Paredes. The Phillies’ most effective pitcher of the day was outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who worked two innings and gave up only two runs, including Flaherty’s homer.