Hello, our friends, we meet again

It's been a while. Where should we begin? Feels like forever.

Yeah that's some Creed, wanna fighdabouddit?

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The 2008 rivalry between the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles really started on February 8, 2008.

That was the day we traded Erik Bedard to the hopeful Mariners, who thought their 88-74 season in '07 was no fluke (it was), and that Bedard probably pushed them into serious contention (he didn't).

Let's compare the results of this trade. Bedard has gone 4-4 with a 4.26 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 61 1/3 innings for the Mariners. He currently sits on the DL with "left shoulder stiffness." He is VORPin' a cool 11.0 this year.

And then there's Adam Jones. Happy 23rd birthday, big guy! Jones is hitting .274/.317/.403 -- not a world-beater yet, but he can clearly play. He's also a funny dude and is destined to be a long-time fan favorite. AdRock's VORP is 9.3.

George Sherrill is overrated as all hell by his 30 saves (4.23/1.46), but he had a great performance as the O's lone All-Star and has done a nice gap-filling job as the closer, a role for which he's just not particularly suited. That's not his fault; he's best maximized as a LOOGy who can not totally die against right-handed hitting, but he's done his job.

We won't even count the prospects we got back.

The Mariners came to town on April 4 for a four-game set. We swept them right the hell out of town, a series that included the amazing Luis Hernandez as Hero moment, his game-winning single that propelled the O's to a 3-2 win and popularized the phrase "This is Birdland." It was Luis Hernandez and that win that made "Birdland" go from laughable marketing gimmick to something bigger that we now love.

Later in the month, we went out to Seattle, lost the first game, and then won the next two, including a big comeback in game three sparked by a Jay Payton home run and -- if I may be so bold -- my own personal, undying optimism (which has since died).

But baseball moves fast. Luis Hernandez isn't with us anymore, nor is the outstanding honorary Oriole in the Mariners bullpen, Eric O'Flaherty.

But all great rivalries must begin anew, really, year-by-year. Players come and go -- it's the passion and joy that makes fierce competitions like Orioles-Mariners what they are.

The last time we saw Seattle, Lookout Landing user 'Happybelly' remarked, "Get the Orioles the f--k out of here."

Look out -- here we come again!

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