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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where MLB is considering a super short season

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Team owners are reportedly prepared to offer players their full salaries...but only if the season is shortened to 50 games or so.

2019 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Everything is terrible in the country right now, and things aren’t much better in the baseball world, where MLB owners and players remain in a standstill about how — and if — to restart the 2020 season.

Last night came word that MLB is considering a drastic alternative if a deal can’t be reached. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, commissioner Rob Manfred may have the power to unilaterally present a regular season schedule in which players will be paid their full prorated salaries. The catch? That schedule would consist of only “around 50 games.”

Fifty games? Yowza. I mean, I’d gladly take 50 games instead of zero, but it’s hard to even call that a baseball season. To put that in perspective, if this season had started when it was originally scheduled to, the Orioles would’ve played their 50th game a week and a half ago. They’d be done already! That’s less than one-third of a normal baseball season.

With that short of a schedule, baseball would be ripe for chaos. An underdog team could easily get hot and turn into unexpected contenders, while a behemoth club could suddenly find itself out of the pennant race with just a few games going the wrong way. Last year’s eventual World Series champions, the Nationals, were just 19-31 after their first 50 games, carrying the second-worst record in the NL.

In a 50-game schedule, who knows? Maybe even the Orioles could have a winning season. It’s a distinct possibility! (NARRATOR: It isn’t.)

To be clear, a 50-game season probably isn’t going to happen. Passan reports that the owners see the idea only as a “last resort” and aren’t even planning to officially propose it to the players. The MLBPA, which recently proposed a season of more than 100 games, certainly would balk at such a truncated schedule. Still, maybe the plan is being floated as a way to jump-start negotiations between the two parties.


This, that and the other - School of Roch
Like the rest of us, Roch is riding the emotional roller coaster of wondering whether the owners and players will reach a deal for a 2020 season. The waiting game certainly is torturous. I kind of wish I could just fast forward a month into the future — for a lot of reasons.

Answers to your Orioles questions -
Rich Dubroff tackles questions from readers, including what the likely cancellation of the minor league season will mean for the likes of Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle. I say just let major league teams have 100-man rosters this year so every minor leaguer can see some action. Why not? Let's go crazy!

Asa Lacy should be the Baltimore Orioles choice - Call to the Pen
David Hill argues that the O’s should draft Lacy with their top pick because they “have a distinct need for pitching in the farm system.” I’d argue that they have a distinct need for talent, regardless of whether it’s a pitcher or hitter.

O’s Top 5 left-handed starters: Trezza’s take -
Great left-handed starters don’t grow on trees, but the Orioles have had an awful lot of them in their history. For all you Matt Riley fans, sorry, he doesn’t appear on this list.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day: 1987 lefty Jack O’Connor (62), early-1960s utility man Bob Saverine (79), and the late Roger Freed (b. 1946, d. 1996), who appeared in four games for the 1970 Birds.

It’s a shame the Orioles aren’t playing today, because historically they’ve been dominant on June 2, amassing an all-time record of 37-21. At one point, they went 14 years between losses on this date (winning 11 games in a row from 1964 to 1976), and later they went nearly two straight decades without a June 2 loss, falling in 1982 and not again until 1999, with a 12-game win streak in between. So if the Orioles had actually gotten to play tonight’s originally scheduled game at Wrigley Field, well, look out, Cubs.

Among the notable O’s victories on this date:

  • In 1959, the Birds beat the White Sox at Comiskey Park despite the game being halted for half an hour due to a swarm of gnats. After the grounds crew chased away the gnats with a smoke bomb, the O’s snapped a 2-2 tie in the ninth on a Gus Triandos RBI single.
  • In 1971, again at Comiskey, the O’s erased a 2-0 deficit in the ninth inning on Brooks Robinson’s two-run single, then scored the game-winning run in the 12th on a wild pitch.
  • In 1976, Jim Palmer threw 11 shutout innings in Cleveland, and Lee May’s two-run homer in the 14th provided the game’s only runs.
  • In 1980, Lenn Sakata’s walkoff homer in the 11th capped a wild, 9-8 victory over the Brewers. No. 9 hitter Rich Dauer went 5-for-5, all singles.
  • In 1998, in a game that featured seven home runs, Rafael Palmeiro delivered the decisive one, a walkoff two-run blast against the Mariners in the 10th. His shot came shortly after Ken Griffey Jr.’s dinger in the top of the 10th, his second of the game, had given Seattle the lead.