The Orioles would have been wrapping up a three-game series this afternoon in Toronto if the coronavirus pandemic hadn’t short-circuited the season.
Thirty-six games already would be in the books, assuming there were no postponements. The Orioles would enjoy an off-day Thursday, along with the rest of us, and host the Angels for a weekend series.
This is how it’s supposed to be playing out.
The baseball world stopped spinning on March 12 with spring training camps shut down and players in Sarasota unsure whether it was a wise move or an overreaction.
Might be time to conduct another vote.
One veteran asked me as I stood in the parking lot. “You think they’re overreacting?” And this was before the team began its delayed trip to Fort Myers for a night game against the Twins and made a broad U-turn back to the complex.
I felt that the social distancing with interviews held outdoors, including how reporters and other members of the media had to extend their arms with recorders in hand to capture sound from manager Brandon Hyde, was silly rather than a safe alternative. But the Orioles were just following the new rules. They didn’t invent them.
We were still learning about the virus and its world-wide impact. Losing March Madness was more alarming. But the media treated as a potential health threat while players continued to work out, play, eat, shower and dress together just seemed a little crazy to me.
Or was Major League Baseball protecting us from them?
We’re not accustomed to that level of concern.
(I’m not a doctor, but I occasionally play one on this blog. Always remember this before accepting my medical advice. You’re doing so at your own risk.)
Some players laughed or just smiled and shook their heads as they sat at tables on the patio outside the workroom, the media’s clubhouse access removed, and fielded questions from the beat crew. We sat or stood across from them, moving back until it felt like an acceptable distance. No one brought a tape measure.
The season was assured of starting late. Opening day was pushed back. But through May and perhaps June? Can’t say everyone in Sarasota saw it coming.
Also can’t really predict the Orioles’ record if they had been allowed to engage in these first 36 games. Anyone can venture a guess, but we don’t know how Hyde would have filled out his roster.
How he would have compensated for the loss of right fielder Trey Mancini, who underwent colon cancer surgery on the same day that spring training was halted. Which relievers he would have kept beyond the heavy favorites to head north.
How Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone would have produced at the back end of the rotation. Whether Alex Cobb would have made all of his scheduled starts after again having to deal with a blister issue that caused Hyde to scratch him from the March 12 assignment.
The utility situation hadn’t been resolved, including whether the Orioles, as expected, would carry two players who fit in that category. One also capable of playing the outfield.
The team was a work in progress that no longer could go to work.