At long last, tomorrow is Opening Day for the Orioles! Some teams get to start their season tonight, though the O’s aren’t one of them. We’ll have to wait about 36 and a half hours from the time this article posts until somebody on the Red Sox throws the first pitch to somebody on the Orioles. Unless it rains, or something bonkers happens. Nothing can be taken for granted about the 2020 season.
If you haven’t taken the chance to (re-)introduce yourself in our Who’s Who of Camden Chat: 2020 edition that was posted yesterday, please think again about doing so.
The Orioles roster picture has changed even in the past few days. There was Stevie Wilkerson getting hurt while making a catch in one of the exhibition games. There’s Dwight Smith Jr. looking possible to miss the first few days of the season since he had to report late to camp. And most distressingly, there’s Hunter Harvey headed for the injured list after he “moved into a dead-arm period.” This is not what what we want to hear!
Today at noon is the deadline for the Orioles to decide who’s going to be on their 30-man roster to begin the season. The roster can remain at 30 for two weeks before it has to be trimmed to 28, and another two weeks before it has to be trimmed to 26, which will be the new normal going forward even beyond this weird year.
2020 may yet find something else strange to throw at us. The city of Baltimore is apparently still under consideration to host the Blue Jays for the 2020 season, after their first backup plan, Pittsburgh, fell through on Wednesday. The Pennsylvania government didn’t seem to want to take the risk of having a second set of teams traveling through the Pittsburgh area in addition to the Central teams the Pirates will play.
The Orioles and Blue Jays, on the other hand, are going to face the same teams. That doesn’t mean the city or the state will roll out the red carpet to make this happen, but wouldn’t it be weird if it did? Maybe someone with a Warehouse office that has a view of the field can stick a “Cito Sucks” sign in there.
Around the blogO’sphere
Milone on unexpected opportunity to be Opening Day starter (School of Roch)
Milone wondered whether someone going from non-roster invitee to Opening Day starter was a first. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was.
Orioles season preview: Could a 60-game dash lead to a shocking playoff run? (The Athletic)
Whoever wrote this headline seems to be feeling the same optimism as MASN’s Mike Bordick, who asked Mike Elias during the broadcast the other day if Adley Rutschman might be called up if the Orioles are in the playoff hunt.
Speaking of the playoffs...
Sources: MLB and union are re-engaging on the possibility of expanded playoffs for this season. Has to be done before first pitch 25 hours from now, but there seems to be optimism. Hope was to go from 10 playoff teams to 16.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 22, 2020
If this last minute change comes to fruition, it probably still wouldn’t change much about the Orioles chances of making the playoffs. It’s not like they are very likely to end up as one of the 11th-16th best teams in the league.
Mullins in battle for outfield spot, plus other notes (Steve Melewski)
Cedric Mullins making the roster after his struggles last season would be a nice story. It’d be a better story if he was able to play decently or better after making the roster.
2020 Positional power rankings: Summary (Fangraphs)
The Orioles have the worst projected Fangraphs WAR of every team. Six of their 11 positions/roles are projected to be either 28th, 29th, or 30th in MLB. Get hype!
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 2013, the Orioles traded Nick Delmonico to the Brewers for reliever Francisco Rodriguez. It remains a mystery why Dan Duquette thought acquiring Rodriguez was a good idea, though at least Delmonico, unlike some guys Duquette traded, hasn’t performed at the MLB level in a way to keep an O’s fan up at night.
Out of all the players to ever play for the Orioles, not a single one has been born on July 23.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: novelist Raymond Chandler (1888), Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie (1892), Baseball Hall of Famers Pee Wee Reese (1918) and Don Drysdale (1936), actor Woody Harrelson (1961), Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash (1965), musician Alison Krauss (1971), and actor Daniel Radcliffe (1989).
On this day in history...
In 1903, Ford sold its first car.
In 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire delivered an ultimatum to Serbia following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Although Serbia accepted all but one of the demands in the ultimatum, Austria-Hungary still declared war on July 28, sparking what we now call World War I.
In 1962, Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, becoming the first Black player to be so honored.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on July 23. Have a safe Thursday.