Suspended game just another in a season of challenges for 2020 Orioles -

Rich Dubroff

Suspended game just another in a season of challenges for 2020 Orioles

In just over two weeks, the Orioles’ 2020 season has been full of challenges. The latest was unexpected, just like the storm that suddenly appeared at Nationals Park on Sunday a little after 2:30 p.m.

While it was comical to watch the grounds crew attempt to unravel a tangled tarpaulin, the result wasn’t funny to the Orioles.

They appeared to be on their way to a third straight win over the Washington Nationals when the field took on too much rain to resume play. Even if they hold on to the 5-2 lead they had when play was suspended, it won’t feel the same.

Nothing does in 2020.

Last week, the Orioles lost four straight to the Miami Marlins, who hadn’t played in eight days because 18 of their players tested positive for Covid-19. They were the visiting team in two of those games to make up for the two games that were postponed in Miami.

What 2020 has taught the Orioles is to be adaptable.

New rules are seemingly made up on the fly. Extra innings begin with a runner on second base, doubleheaders are seven innings and Major League Baseball has introduced a flex schedule because of the coronavirus.

Last week, after ruling that rosters would be reduced from 28 to 26 on August 20th, MLB decided that because of injuries and illness, they would hold at 28 for the rest of the season.

Six months ago, spring training began and news of the coronavirus was thousands of miles away.


The big story was the Houston Astros’ electronic sign-stealing scandal, which hasn’t been forgotten by Houston’s opponents.

Quickly, our world changed and baseball, the least flexible of all sports, has had to change its ways.

When the Marlins-Orioles games were postponed two weeks ago, MLB scheduled two games with the New York Yankees instead.

Last week, the Marlins were the home team in Baltimore. On Friday, when the Orioles-Nationals is resumed in the top of the sixth with runners on first and second and one out, the Nationals will be the home team — and it won’t seem weird.

Rule 7.02, reads in part:  A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for any of the following reasons:

(1) A curfew imposed by law;

(2) A time limit permissible under league rules; (3) Light failure, malfunction of, or unintentional operator error in employing, a mechanical or field device or equipment under the control of the home Club (e.g., a retractable roof, a tarpaulin, or other water removal equipment).

The malfunction was caused by the Nationals’ grounds crew, and the rule was properly interpreted.

Fortunately, the suspended game can be resumed quickly. A technicality in the rules once caused Luis Montañez to be denied a place in the baseball history books.

On August 6, 2008, Montañez hit a home run in his first major league at-bat against the Angels in Anaheim, California, becoming just the second player in team history to do so. That distinction stood for 19 days when a game suspended on April 28 in Chicago was resumed in Baltimore. Montañez was inserted into the game as a pinch-hitter in the 12th inning and grounded out.

Even though Montañez had hit the home run in his first game 19 days before, the April 28 game, which resumed on August 25th, became his major league debut, and although the home run remains in the records, the distinction of hitting one in his first major league at-bat vanished.

Incidentally, the Orioles were the road team in the resumed game, which was eventually won, 4-3, in 14 innings. The game-winning hit was by Luis Montañez.

If the Orioles make any roster changes between now and Friday, those players will be eligible to play in the game. Statistics from the game will count.

While the 2020 season has been challenging for the Orioles, it also has been satisfying. They’ll enter Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia with a 7-7 record. The Orioles thought Sunday’s game would mark the quarter-point of the season.

Even though the Orioles have played only 15 games, manager Brandon Hyde said it still feels like August.

Hyde has deftly handled the challenges of the 2020 season, and the guess here is that, somehow, Major League Baseball will find a way to complete the season.

In the seven weeks between now and then, other unimaginable challenges will face the Orioles. They may not make the expanded postseason, but it’s clear that it’s a better team than many of us thought just a few weeks ago.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 10, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Rich, the confluence of freakish-oddities of this season in baseball are certainly mind boggling, topped by the fact that one Chris Davis is still playing major league baseball. How and the wide-wide world of sports can this be?

    It’s like we’re living in the Bizarro World or something.

    • CalsPals

      August 10, 2020 at 11:02 am

      It’s definitely the agony of defeat…go O’s…

    • NormOs

      August 10, 2020 at 11:17 am

      I don’t believe that Hyde makes the decision to play Davis, no MLB manager would. I think he was told to play him and since Hyde wants to keep his job, the choice is easy.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 10, 2020 at 12:22 pm

        Absolutely agree with you. Just like the decision to give him that huge contract, I believe keeping him on the team comes from the VERY TOP of the organization. I believe the decision to play him comes from one rung on the ladder lower ….

        • Bancells Moustache

          August 10, 2020 at 1:37 pm

          I seriously doubt he gets this level of playing time if the Orioles starting first baseman isn’t in chemo therapy right now.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            August 10, 2020 at 4:36 pm

            I’m not so sure. Mancini may have still been the every day left fielder if he were here.

            There’s some sort of bad dynamic between Crush & Hyde that I don’t think we’re all privy to. I think that if Hyde had his way, Crush would be riding the pine every game.

  2. IrishAl81

    August 10, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Is CD-19 actually playing too much? He’s sat a number of games for various reasons. He actually had a mult-hit game this week.

    • CalsPals

      August 10, 2020 at 12:59 pm

      & I saw a squirrel with a cane in my yard, he found two nuts…go O’s…

  3. Bhoffman1

    August 10, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    A 500 record can get you a wildcard during this bizarre season. Will Elias go for it.

    • Bancells Moustache

      August 10, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Hell, why not? He’s not going to make any roster moves to do so other than bring up some young players, but the financial benefits of playoff baseball this year can’t be overstated, especially for a franchise like Baltimore

    • Bhoffman1

      August 10, 2020 at 3:19 pm

      Well he might have to get one valuable starting pitcher and keep Cobb if he keeps on pitching well and not trade Iglesias and Alberto. Plus if Davis continues his three year slide just sit him or finally release him

      • Bancells Moustache

        August 10, 2020 at 3:33 pm

        There’s no reason to trade Inglesias. He’s a journeyman Middle Infielder on a one year deal and won’t bring back anything of substance. Wouldn’t surprise me to see his team option picked up, and maybe even extended since there isn’t anyone knocking down the door in the minors at short. Cobb is the only real asset, and if he gets sold he gets sold.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 10, 2020 at 4:47 pm

      I think Elias is still trying to lose as many games as possible.

      Why else do Smith Jr, & Crush get significant playing time? Heck, why are they even on the team? Where’s RM? Why are they in love with Severino while sitting Sisco 2 out of 3 games? Hey…there’s a pitcher with a 6.0 ERA that even the Royals don’t want available … snatch him up!

      Unfortunately for Elias, I don’t think the players were ever clued into the plan.

    • Bhoffman1

      August 10, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      Probably your right why would he have a 5ft 9 in 170 pound infielder who cant hit as your fourth outfielder when he has three real outfielders who are so much better at the alternate site just because that guy is a utility man. I don’t know why Smith jr is the starting left fielder. Atleast alternate him with Mountcastle or Diaz what is there to lose and so much to gain. They should have had the win yesterday it was a home town decision . 8 and 7 add a player or two and make this season interesting.

  4. Bhoffman1

    August 10, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    When you think about Crush take away Cobb and I’m pretty sure his salary is more then the entire team put together. Yet he sits out games because of sinus, knee, resting you would think after three years of embarrassing non production there would be some animosity among the other players. I know it’s a ton of money to pay someone for sitting home but you have a whole team and thousands of fans who want to win now rather then tomorrow

    • CalsPals

      August 10, 2020 at 9:02 pm

      I mentioned in their comeback game against the Nats, everyone in the dugout was celebrating & looked happy BUT him, he doesn’t fit in, just collecting a paycheck, I get it, he’s well within his rights, I’m just blown away that he gets valuable playing time over guys that do & could matter…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      August 10, 2020 at 9:26 pm

      I get the feeling that he doesn’t really want to play with this Covid thing looming over and his wife once was a nurse. I don’t know why he hasn’t opt out. He’s gotta have enough money to be comfortable

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