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Monday Bird Droppings: Nothing to do but wait for minor league position players

To no one’s surprise, the lockout is still ongoing. The next milestone is Orioles minor league position players reporting tomorrow.

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New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles - Game One
Eutaw Street may be remaining empty for most or all of April, based on the current trajectory of the MLB lockout.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

It’s anybody’s guess how long it is between now and the next Orioles game. The league is thus far maintaining the fiction that only two series have been canceled, so technically Opening Day is a month and a day away. It seems fairly clear, however, that more games will be canceled before the league ends its lockout of the players.

A variety of writers have observed in recent days that the league doesn’t really hit a pain point financially until 25 missed games, after which teams must begin paying rebates to TV networks. If that really bears out, then owners aren’t going to start to feel the pressure until they contemplate missed games beyond late April. That’s not a very exciting bit of news for anybody who’d like to get to see the Orioles play at Camden Yards before May.

The small positive is that the two sides are continuing to negotiate with each side’s previous positions remaining on the table. MLB’s cancellation of the first two series has not led to talks totally falling apart. Negotiators met over the weekend and the players’ current position was formally put into a proposal. They’re still holding firm on wanting a bigger increase to the competitive balance tax with softer penalties than the owners have demanded, so we don’t seem to be on the verge of a breakthrough.

That’s not to say there’s no agreement at all. MLB Network guy Jon Heyman reported that the union has agreed on the league implementing any of pitch clocks, a ban on shifts, and larger basis for the 2023 season, provided there is a larger deal made. Robo ump strike zones will not be in play until at least after the 2023 season. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal added a report that owners are willing to accept a larger increase to the first CBT level, if there is movement from players in other areas. If this materializes in the negotiations, perhaps things will get somewhere.

For Orioles fans, one solid consolation remains that the march towards minor league schedules continues uninterrupted. We’ve got less than a month to go until the Norfolk Tides season starts, presumably with Adley Rutschman catching pitches from Grayson Rodriguez. That will be fun. Other teams have a month and a day to go.

Minor league spring training is also ongoing. Next Wednesday marks the beginning of minor league spring games, with contests scheduled daily from March 16 to April 3, with split intrasquads on all Sundays. The home games will be played at the minor league complex rather than at Ed Smith Stadium. They will mostly play Pirates and Rays minor leaguers, with one day playing Atlanta minor leaguers.

It’s not currently known whether the games will be open to fans. That’s less fun. Not much about the lockout is fun for fans. The owners persist nonetheless. I won’t be surprised if there are further cancellations announced before the week is out. A cancellation of the games on the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier (April 15) is not far away unless there’s a big change.

Around the blogO’sphere

More clarity coming to Orioles’ camp plans (School of Roch)
Roch runs through how things are going with minor league camp, with players currently split between Ed Smith Stadium and Twin Lakes Park. Minor league position players report date is tomorrow.

MLB executives think Rule 5 draft should be canceled (The Athletic)
Picking one or more players in the Rule 5 draft has been a part of the annual Orioles ritual going back at least to the Dan Duquette years. Seasons where they were good did not stop them from trying to break in players this way. Rosenthal and Jayson Stark say that team executives think there’s no fair way to pull one off this season.

Uvila hopes a big league career with the Orioles is in the cards (Baltimore Baseball)
That is, the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft may not happen. The minor league part happened as it ordinarily does back in December, which brought players including Cole Uvila into the organization. These guys are able to get their work in during minor league spring training still.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1999, the Orioles exhibition game against the Cuban national team in Cuba was announced. The two teams played towards the end of that year’s spring training on March 28.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2021 two-game catcher Nick Ciuffo, and 1998 outfielder Joe Carter. Today is Carter’s 62nd birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: blueprint inventor John Herschel (1792), Nobel Prize-winning botanist David Baltimore (1938), “Fifty Shades” author E.L. James (1963), actress Jenna Fischer (1974), and National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman (1998).

On this day in history...

In 1573, a war between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire concluded after a peace treaty. The treaty settled that the island of Cyprus would remain under Ottoman control.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was given the patent for his new invention, the telephone.

In 1945, during World War II, American forces seized intact the Ludendorff Bridge across the Rhine River, allowing the Allied advance a quick way to cross. This state of affairs only lasted ten days before the Germans were able to destroy the bridge, but not before 125,000 men and their equipment made it across the Rhine. The bridge was not rebuilt after the war.

In 1965, the American civil rights movement had its “Bloody Sunday” as 600 marchers in support of voting rights for African Americans were attacked and beaten by state and local law enforcement in Selma, Alabama. 17 marchers were hospitalized as a result of the attack.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 7. Have a safe Monday.