There are now 18 days until the scheduled Orioles Opening Day for the abbreviated 2020 season. This would be a more exciting prospect if the current trajectory of the pandemic was “steadily improving” rather than “rapidly getting worse in states that account for a significant portion of MLB teams.”
The problem with how things are right now is nowhere more apparent than what several players are saying as they go through the motions of their second chance at a preseason camp. Former Orioles reliever Andrew Miller told reporters that “there’s still some doubt that we’re going to have a season now.” Generally good baseball guy Sean Doolittle had a thoughtful assessment of this whole business, observing that “sports are like the reward of a functioning society” before ticking off the ways things have fallen short here.
It seems to be the case that no team’s roster has been untouched by the virus, though some, including the Orioles, are thus far being secretive about who or even how many players are currently affected. MASN’s Roch Kubatko wrote yesterday that at least four players haven’t appeared on the field during three days of media availability: Alex Cobb, Mychal Givens, Anthony Santander, and Dwight Smith Jr.
Kubatko added later yesterday that Cobb and Givens have thrown bullpen sessions on the side and are scheduled for live bullpen sessions today. So that’s enough to scratch them off the list of unknowns.
These camp practices have only been open to the media for two hours each day. The typical press access to the locker room is out the window, with players still talking to reporters in Zoom calls even when everyone is there in the stadium. The fact that those two outfielders haven’t been seen doesn’t mean that they’re not there, but in the absence of any information at all from the team, wondering about it is pretty much all people on the outside can do.
The simulated baseball of Baseball Reference’s Out of the Park Baseball league continues. Those imaginary Orioles were 2-1 winners over the Athletics in yesterday’s game, improving their record to 37-54. Trey Mancini, Rio Ruiz, and Yusniel Diaz had two hits each and the O’s staff, led by starter John Means, held Oakland to just seven hits. There are four teams with a worse record than the O’s in this sim.
Around the blogO’sphere
Davis eager to show resurgent spring not fluke (Orioles.com)
The big spring training storyline is back almost immediately. Apparently, Davis has been playing pickup games with other MLB players in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Contending vs. evaluating remains a popular storyline (School of Roch)
It seems like another thing we’re going to hear about until reality disabuses everyone of the notion is, “What if the Orioles pull off a surprise in a shortened season?”
Hyde hasn’t decided on number of starters (Baltimore Baseball)
One of the early pieces of information from camp is that a variety of pitching options are on the table: A six man rotation, starters piggybacking off of one another, and use of an opener.
Hyde finding Mancini’s absence ‘challenging’; Elias to address coronavirus testing this week (Baltimore Sun)
One veil of secrecy surrounding the Orioles is supposed to be lifted this week, so I guess we’ll find out more then about who might have to spend time recovering before they can get ready to play.
O’s individual work during baseball shutdown paying off now (Steve Melewski)
One more early theme from camp is that the players stayed sharp and they feel ready. We’re less than three weeks - hopefully! - from finding out whether that’s worth anything.
Sunday Notes: Darren O’Day on Mark Trumbo the pitcher (Fangraphs)
In this edition of the Fangraphs Sunday notes column, one former Oriole talks about another from the days when they were both teammates at Low-A in the Angels system.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 1966, Boog Powell drove in a total of 11 runs across two games of a doubleheader against the Athletics. Despite Boog driving in seven runs in the second game, the Orioles lost, 9-8. This was the third doubleheader the O’s had played just since the beginning of July.
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2012-18 infielder Manny Machado, Baltimore-born 1959-62 reserve outfielder Barry Shetrone, and 1955 ten-gamer Frank Keller.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Revolutionary War naval commander John Paul Jones (1747), painter Frida Kahlo (1907), game show producer Merv Griffin (1925), author Hilary Mantel (1952), and rapper 50 Cent (1975).
On this day in history...
In 1885, Louis Pasteur’s rabies vaccine was tested on a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog. The boy survived, becoming the first person to be successfully treated for rabies.
In 1917, during World War I, T. E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”) led an Arabian force in capturing Aqaba from the Ottoman Empire.
In 1933, Major League Baseball held its first ever All-Star Game in Comiskey Park in Chicago. The American League beat the National League by a 4-2 score.
In 1957, future Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on July 6. Have a safe Monday.