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Thursday Bird Droppings: Orioles Opening Day waits another day (rain?)

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It’s been six months since we last saw the Orioles in action. They’re back! Hopefully the 2021 season has some fun surprises in store.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles
The orange carpet comes next week. Probably with fewer kids holding flags.

Hello, friends.

Orioles Opening Day is today! We’ve made it. The Orioles are going to play a real game today that counts in the standings. Unless it rains so much in Boston that they aren’t able to play today. Then they won’t play until tomorrow. That would be a letdown after months of buildup, but you know. The 162-game journey begins very soon either way.

The Orioles are sure taking their decisions on the Opening Day roster down to the wire. They come into Opening Day without having officially announced that roster. There’s not much suspense about it because there have been dribbles here and there about players who’ve been told that they’ve made the team.

Even with the Orioles not expected to do anything good this year, there’s still something marvelous about the blank slate that is Opening Day. When all of the numbers are zeroes, waiting to be filled in with the results of the season, you can start to spin yourselves wild tales of how awesome it would be if X, Y, and Z happens.

For an Orioles fan, these wild tales are not far off from if you sit around envisioning what you would do if you won some kind of $500+ million lottery jackpot. The Orioles 100/1 odds on winning the World Series feel a lot like the 302,575,350 to 1 odds of hitting Mega Millions. Everything would have to fall exactly into place, not only with the Orioles roster itself but with other teams falling apart. I couldn’t even begin to sketch out that scenario with a straight face.

If there’s one good thing about being a fan of a rebuilding team, it’s that the season can feel like a success even if the team doesn’t win the World Series, or even make it to the playoffs. All we really need in the third season of the Mike Elias is enough to feel like the Orioles will be good again in a year or two.

It would be nice to start to lock in the next good outfield, and some of the next good starting rotation, at the MLB level, while seeing continuing development from prospects down in the minors. If the prospects give hope that the reinforcements will continue to arrive for the rotation, and will start to arrive for the infield, it’ll be easier to start to imagine better baseball being played at Camden Yards.

The party gets under way at 2:10pm Eastern today, again unless weather changes either the time or the date.

Around the blogO’sphere

Santander will be ‘good to go’ for opener (Orioles.com)
I hope Anthony Santander’s oblique agrees with this headline and the manager quote that generated it.

Lakins excluded from Orioles Opening Day roster (School of Roch)
Travis Lakins Sr. was probably a bit less excited by the roster decisions. Two other bubble relievers have made it, though: Dillon Tate and Cole Sulser.

Orioles enter third year of rebuild still trying to grow at major league level (Baltimore Sun)
This is really what it boils down to. The rebuild’s going to have to start showing growth at the MLB level before we can start to feel like it’s working.

The hopefully not-too-regretful 2021 ZiPS projections, American League (Fangraphs)
ZiPS has crunched the numbers one last time before Opening Day, and yep, the Orioles still have a 0.0% postseason chance. They do, however, have a 19.5% chance of getting the #1 pick in the 2022 draft.

O’s to open year with one of the youngest rotations in AL (Steve Melewski)
The Orioles have the youngest rotation in the division by more than two years. The oldest, apparently, is the Rays. Quite the change from the time where the Rays went years without having a game started by a player age 30+.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The last time the Orioles played on April 1, David Hess took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and was removed from the game with the no-no still in progress. Rule 5 holdover Pedro Araujo promptly blew the combined no-hitter and O’s relievers gave up five runs. They still beat the Blue Jays, 6-5, to improve to 3-1 in the early days of the 2019 season.

Today is Keegan Akin’s 26th birthday. He’s not exactly a current Oriole since he got sent to the minors to start the season, but it’s close enough for me. I hope he earns his way back soon. His first Opening Day would have probably been a better birthday present.

Two former Orioles were also born today: 1999-2000 utility player Rich Amaral, and 1986-87 reliever Mike Kinnunen.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: German unifier Otto von Bismarck (1815), actor Toshiro Mifune (1920), author Anne McCaffrey (1926), baseball Hall of Famer Phil Niekro (1939), and wrestler Randy Orton (1980).

On this day in history...

In 1572, during the Eighty Years War, Dutch nobles rebelling against Spanish rule of the Netherlands captured Brielle, their first land conquest of the eventual Dutch Republic.

In 1789, the first US House of Representatives elected its first speaker, Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania. Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is both the 52nd and 55th Speaker to hold the post.

In 1945, during World War II, American forces launched the invasion of Okinawa. After a 98-day battle, the island was captured. There are 241,593 names inscribed today on the Cornerstone of Peace at the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, representing American and Japanese military members as well as Okinawan civilians who were killed in the fighting.

In 1997, the comet Hale-Bopp reached its perihelion.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 1. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!