Twelve Orioles thoughts as baseball’s shutdown continues

April 13, 2020 | Luke Jones

With baseball’s shutdown continuing indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve offered a dozen Orioles thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. The family of Al Kaline took out a regular obituary in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press, reflecting how unassuming the Hall of Famer nicknamed “Mr. Tiger” was. The Southern High product never forgot his Baltimore roots and collected his 3,000th hit at Memorial Stadium in 1974. What a story and life.

2. If you’re yearning for some optimism regarding a 2020 season, watch this Newsday interview with Daniel Kim, who provided insight on what’s happening in South Korea with the KBO and its goal to open the season in early May. A former Mets interpreter, Kim is a good follow on Twitter.

3. ESPN has reportedly explored the possibility of securing KBO broadcasting rights. If you’re looking for a potential rooting interest, former Orioles Hyun Soo Kim and Tyler Wilson play for the LG Twins and had strong 2019 seasons.

4. So much needs to happen before even considering MLB’s return in any capacity, but the Grapefruit-Cactus league realignment idea sounds more plausible than the Arizona-only “quarantine” concept floated early last week. Going from the AL East to the Grapefruit South division sure wouldn’t offer the rebuilding Orioles any break.

5. As a pro wrestling fan who’s watched televised shows without fans in attendance for weeks, I’d say the experience is weird and far from ideal, but I’ve been entertained. If it can work for a product so dependent on crowd interaction, that particular condition for a return plan seems tolerable.

6. The retiring Mark Reynolds could be frustrating to watch, but his 2011 blast into the club level (3:35 mark) was one of the more impressive homers at Camden Yards. How frequently he’d leave his feet playing first base was amusing, but he was much better there than at third base.

7. Wednesday will mark the 73rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s major league debut, but this year also brings the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, which is scheduled to be celebrated this summer. I highly recommend a visit to Kansas City’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to any fan.

8. Speaking of anniversaries, Cal Ripken registered his 3,000th career hit 20 years ago this Wednesday. Good for him to launch the Strike Out Hunger campaign in conjunction with his new Twitter account. His message to Whit Merrifield — the active streak leader at 247 consecutive games — was fun.

9. We’re all coping without baseball in different ways, but I just can’t get into the simulated 2020 seasons some websites are using to provide content. I did notice Austin Hays already having six home runs in Baseball-Reference.com’s simulation. That’d be fun.

10. Along those lines, it’s strange to think that the Orioles would have already been a tenth of the way through the scheduled 2020 season. They would have been starting their third interleague series of the season on Tuesday, which also would have been weird this early.

11. Having watched plenty of old baseball recently, I was reminded Rick Sutcliffe pitched his five-hit shutout in 2 hours, 2 minutes to open Camden Yards 28 years ago. That was quite the Orioles debut, but the 2-0 final didn’t exactly paint an accurate picture of the ballpark’s eventual reputation.

12. I’d be embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve watched the Ken Burns “Baseball” documentary in my life, but its original release coincided with the 1994 strike that canceled the World Series. My latest viewing of it has helped amidst uncertainty of when we’ll have live baseball again.