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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles intrasquad hype edition

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The Orioles played an intrasquad game yesterday with invisible fielders. They also added Ryan Mountcastle to their player pool.

Baltimore Orioles v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 15 days remaining until the Orioles scheduled opener in the abbreviated 2020 regular season. I say scheduled because who knows if something else crazy might happen, but so far multiple teams having testing delays and workouts canceled hasn’t been enough to knock the plan off course.

Perhaps if MLB’s excuse that these things were related to the 4th of July weekend is true, then this will prove to be a hiccup that passes, at least until the next COVID-19-related hiccup comes along. In any case, the Orioles, who according to what Mike Elias told reporters on Tuesday have a more extensive testing regimen than the league demands, were not affected by the delays.

There was some small news from O’s camp on Wednesday, as the team added Ryan Mountcastle and Mason Williams to their 60-man player pool. Elias told reporters that they will be reporting to the O’s secondary camp location once that’s been set up. This seems like it could be related to Anthony Santander and Dwight Smith Jr. being in “it’s not officially COVID, but what else could it be?” limbo. Smith did do a Twitch stream for charity yesterday in which he mentioned crummy hotel wi-fi.

The team also played an intrasquad game, which was even stranger than the typical early spring training scrimmage might have been because they were using “ghost defenders.”

For the next couple of weeks, there’s still imaginary baseball to tide us over a tiny little bit. The Orioles of the Baseball Reference Out of the Park Baseball simulation lost to the Mariners yesterday, 7-3, to drop to 38-56 on the season. Video game Alex Cobb gave up the full Tommy Hunter (five runs, all earned) in only 3.2 innings and Orioles batters struck out 11 times in the game.

With a .404 winning percentage, this simulated team is not any good at all, but they’re not the worst, either. There are five teams with worse records and another three teams who are only a half-game better at 38-55.

For no other reason than that this exists, here’s Hunter Harvey on an Orioles-themed Zoom background:

Around the blogO’sphere

Mountcastle, Williams added to the O’s player pool (Orioles.com)
Before you get too excited about Mountcastle being on the player pool, keep in mind he’s not expected to be an Opening Day roster candidate. He’s still expected to get big league action this season, though.

Iglesias sits out intrasquad game with back soreness (School of Roch)
Here’s hoping Jose Iglesias is ready to be full-go soon. There’s not much time left to get ready!

No snap judgments for Hyde; Stewart wants to make an impact (Baltimore Baseball)
DJ Stewart is one person who figures to get an extra opportunity from Santander and Smith Jr. being out of action.

With air fives and ghost fielders, Orioles intrasquad game ‘a practice run’ in empty Camden Yards (Baltimore Sun)
It’s probably not the weirdest thing that there will be if this season happens, but the intrasquad game got pretty weird.

Here’s Austin Hays hitting a home run in the intrasquad game:

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There is one lone former Oriole who was born on this day. Happy 71st birthday to 1981 seven-gamer Steve Luebber.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: actor Brian Dennehy (1938), author Dean Koontz (1945), actor Tom Hanks (1956), wrestler Kevin Nash (1960), musician Jack White (1975), and Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar (1987).

On this day in history...

In 1540, England’s Henry VIII annulled his marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, after about seven months of marriage. She was afterwards referred to as “the King’s Beloved Sister,” a better post-marriage fate than some of Henry’s other wives.

In 1755, a British colonial force that included Virginia militia commander George Washington was defeated in its attempt to take control of the French-controlled Fort Duquesne, situated in modern day Pittsburgh.

In 1850, President Zachary Taylor died, believed to be after eating raw fruit and iced milk. He was succeeded as president by Millard Fillmore.

In 1877, the Wimbledon Championships for tennis were held for the first time. There have since been 133 more Wimbledons, though this year’s edition was canceled due to COVID-19. That’s the first cancellation of the tournament since World War II.

In 1944, during World War II, the Allies launched Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily by sea and air. On this same day in the Pacific, American forces took control of the island of Saipan, which brought Japan’s mainland within bombing range of land-based planes. Mussolini in Italy and Tojo in Japan were both brought down after these events.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on July 9. Have a safe Thursday.