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Monday Bird Droppings: Trying to stay optimistic about 2020 baseball

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Negotiations between MLB and the players are still unsettled, but there was, maybe, a hopeful sign for movement over the weekend.

Major League Baseball Delays Start To Regular Season Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

In the parallel universe where everything is the same as this one except that the 2020 MLB season was about to proceed as planned, the Orioles would have played 78 games by now. We would be crossing the halfway point of the season this week. Instead, well, you know.

It remains unclear when there will actually be baseball games again. The brief burst of optimism late last week has faded against the reality of a continuing gap between the two sides negotiating, and perhaps more seriously, by the worsening of COVID-19 in a number of states with MLB teams: Florida, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and California.

That’s a significant percentage of teams housed in those states. In March, the longshot plans for playing closer to a full schedule involved using only Florida and Arizona, and by the time they play games, it may end up being the case that teams aren’t playing there at all. As it is, spring training 2.0 is expected to happen closer to home stadiums rather than in the typical spring sites.

One small, encouraging sign for negotiations, reported on Sunday by baseball writers including ESPN’s Jeff Passan, is that MLB indicated a willingness to take out expanded playoffs and a universal DH in 2021, which are aspects of the existing proposals. The thought is that this would make players feel less like they’re giving up things for which they’re receiving nothing in return.

In the meantime, there’s simulated baseball. The Orioles of Baseball Reference’s Out of the Park Baseball simulation were beaten yesterday by the Rays, 7-4. The recently-promoted Michael Baumann surrendered five runs in 4.2 innings, including four first inning runs. Brendan McKay of the Rays, the 2017 #4 overall pick, held the O’s to six hits over his 7.1 innings, and he struck out nine O’s batters.

This team is now 31-47, which at the moment would only leave them with the #6 pick in next June’s draft.

Around the blogO’sphere

Is the DH destined to be done in both leagues? (School of Roch)
It’s been assumed that “universal DH in 2020 and 2021” would lead to “universal DH forever,” though perhaps MLB’s recent offer to take out universal DH in 2021 changes the equation.

Every team’s best Father’s Day moment (Orioles.com)
Gary Roenicke hit a grand slam on Father’s Day in 1984, leading to a fan winning $1 million. Fun for the Orioles, who won 6-2, and especially fun for the million dollar fan.

Ben McDonald talks about the Orioles draft and a possible blueprint (Baltimore Baseball)
McDonald sees a lot of SEC baseball, so he has plenty of thoughts about both Heston Kjerstand, who the Orioles took, and Austin Martin, who they didn’t.

Taking a look at the undrafted free agents (Steve Melewski)
Steve runs down which teams have been signing the most undrafted FAs, a list where the Orioles are closer to the top than the bottom. He also has a brief bit about each of the players the O’s have signed to date.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1962, Boog Powell hit a home run over the hedge in center field at Memorial Stadium, the first player to accomplish this feat. Boog hit the homer in the second game of a doubleheader against the Red Sox. The Orioles, after losing the first game, won game 2 when catcher Hobie Landrith hit a two-run walkoff home run in the ninth inning.

There are a number of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2018 infielder Engelb Vielma, 2001 nine-gamer Willie Harris, 1996-97 cup of coffee pitcher Esteban Yan, 1996 three-game pitcher Brian Sackinsky, 1978 reserve outfielder Mike Anderson, and 1961-67 outfielder Russ Snyder.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Pacific explorer George Vancouver (1757), soldier and author Erich Maria Remarque (1898), masking tape inventor Richard Gurley Drew (1899), author Octavia Butler (1947), actress Meryl Streep (1949), singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper (1953), actor Bruce Campbell (1958), basketball Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler (1962), and author Dan Brown (1964).

On this day in history...

In 1633, Galileo was forced by church officials to recant his belief that the sun, rather than the Earth, is at the center of the universe.

In 1940, France was forced to sign an armistice at Compiegne. The Nazis had the French sign the armistice in the same railway car in which the Germans surrendered to end World War I. Exactly one year later, Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, its invasion of the Soviet Union, with which it had arranged a non-aggression pact.

In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire. It’s credited with leading to the passage of the Clean Water Act, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In 1990, with the Berlin Wall having come down the previous year, Checkpoint Charlie was dismantled in Berlin. You can still visit the spot today.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on June 22. Have a safe Monday.