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Thursday Bird Droppings: The day where fans return to Camden Yards

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The Orioles probably “should” have lost to the Yankees last night, but they didn’t. Now, they come into the home opener in first place.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles
The stadium won’t be packed for public health reasons, but fans will be there.

Hello, friends.

Finally, fans can come back to Oriole Park at Camden Yards! Or at least about 11,000 of them, in accordance with precautions stemming from the year-plus reign of of the pandemic. That’s going to make for a sparse crowd in the opener, but after last year’s full empty stadiums everywhere, even a 25% capacity crowd is a nice move in the right direction.

The Orioles come back home to their faithful fans as a team in sole possession of first place in the division. Whatever happens today, everyone will walk out of Camden Yards with the O’s still in first place. That is pretty cool! Sure, it’s only April 8 and only six games have been played, so it doesn’t mean anything, but much like last year’s fun start, this is more time than I thought it would be fun to be an Orioles fan in 2021. I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

You might say that the O’s didn’t “deserve” to win last night’s game against the Yankees, in which they triumphed by a 4-3 score in 11 innings. The O’s had only four hits while the Yankees had 13, and there were some stupid plays, including an eighth inning non-catch by Ryan Mountcastle in left field that led to a tying run scoring.

After all of that, though, when it came down to it, the O’s got a clutch bloop hit at the right time and Anthony Santander hosed down a runner at the plate at the right time, so the 4-2 Orioles will be back in Baltimore today. Check out Drew Bonifant’s recap of the game, and don’t forget to vote in the MBP poll.

Nice as it is that the O’s have a 4-2 start, they’re fortunate to have that record when they’ve really only got one player who’s been hitting well. Cedric Mullins has a six-game hitting streak to start the season, and a 1.239 OPS in that small sample size. The next highest OPS in the Orioles lineup at the end of last night’s game was .713. Wins will not continue to pile up if that does not change.

Maybe today will be the day. Matt Harvey starts the home opener for the O’s, which is set to get under way at 3:05 Eastern this afternoon. The O’s hitters will be squaring off against former O’s prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, who is making his first start since the 2019 season. He missed the 2020 season due to myocarditis, the same problem that was/is affecting O’s prospect Heston Kjerstad.

Around the blogO’sphere

New bullpen aces beginning to emerge (MLB.com)
In what might be just a bit of an overreaction, Mac Sceroler is on this list.

Jim Callis on two under-the-radar O’s prospects (Steve Melewski)
The longtime MLB prospect writer has good things to say about last year’s trade acquisition Kevin Smith, as well as last year’s draft pick Hudson Haskin.

Harvey ‘honored’ to start Orioles home opener (Baltimore Baseball)
There was a time several years ago where “Harvey starts home opener” would NOT have seemed so weird, but that’s when it was Hunter, not Matt. I hope he does well today.

What you need to know if you’re attending Orioles Opening Day at Camden Yards (Baltimore Sun)
All of the stuff that’s going to be different if you’re going to the stadium today in one convenient place. No bags and no food and drink coming into the stadium.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2019, Chris Davis set the record for consecutive hitless at-bats with an 0-5 game as the O’s beat the Athletics, 12-4. Davis added another five hitless ABs over the next few days to set his new record at an 0-54 streak before finally getting a hit.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2017 acquisition Jeremy Hellickson, 2006-08 pitcher Brian Burres, 2007-11 pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, 1962 pitcher Dick Luebke, and 1955 four-gamer Charlie Maxwell. Today is Maxwell’s 94th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: film pioneer Mary Pickford (1892), journalist Seymour Hersh (1937), baseball Hall of Famers Catfish Hunter (1946) and Gary Carter (1954), novelist Barbara Kingsolver (1955), rapper Biz Markie (1964), and actor Robin Wright (1966).

On this day in history...

In 1904, France and the United Kingdom signed the “Entente cordiale.” The peace brought an end to a nearly thousand-year history of occasional fighting between people of those lands.

In 1913, the 17th Amendment was ratified by the state of Connecticut, bringing it into law. This amendment requires the direct election of US Senators, rather than having them chosen by state legislatures. Maryland did not formally ratify this amendment until 2012.

In 1974, Hank Aaron hit the 715th home run of his career, passing Babe Ruth to become, at the time, the home run king.

In 1975, Frank Robinson managed his first game for the Cleveland MLB team, in the process becoming the first African American manager in MLB history.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 8, or at least until things change later when the Orioles play the Red Sox. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!