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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the showdown for last place begins

The Orioles and Royals begin their three-game series to establish which team is the worst in baseball. In other news, all is quiet on the trade front, and it’s Frank Robinson’s birthday!

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Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The time is now.

The place

Tonight, the showdown of all showdowns begins. The two worst teams in baseball go mano a mano, toe to toe, as the 40-94 Orioles take on the 42-91 Royals for three games in Kansas City. Only once before in baseball history have two 90-loss clubs played each other in August. That was in 1969, when the 92-loss Padres and 91-loss Expos — both expansion teams — played a three-game set in San Diego from Aug. 29-31.

This one’s for all the marbles. It’s a stone cold lock that the Orioles and Royals will finish with the worst two records in baseball, but which team will prove to be the most inferior? If the Orioles somehow manage to sweep the series, they’d send the Royals into MLB’s basement. Don’t count on it, though; the O’s haven’t swept a three-game series on the road all season, and only just this week did they get their first three-game sweep at all.

So, in all likelihood, the Orioles will still hold the majors’ worst record by the end of this weekend. But this series is going to be fascinating to watch, in the same way you might stare at a fiery car wreck.

In other news, today brings another trade deadline; it’s the final day that players can be dealt (assumed they cleared waivers) and still be eligible for the postseason with their new teams. The Orioles, after their July trade extravaganza, probably won’t have any more deals up their sleeve today, but they’ve surprised us before.


Orioles remain quiet as next trade deadline approaches - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko confirms that the Orioles don’t have any irons in the fire at at the deadline. Shockingly, their attempts to interest teams in Craig Gentry fell on deaf ears.

Orioles to send Austin Hays, Steve Wilkerson to Arizona Fall League; five others to be announced - Baltimore Sun
Hays and Wilkerson have both missed significant time with injuries this year. They’ll try to make up for lost time in the AFL.

The Orioles have just one thing left to do—ruin somebody else’s run – The Athletic
It doesn’t seem like there’s any chance that the Yankees will miss the playoffs, so the Orioles trying to play spoiler doesn’t really excite me.

Orioles add another international player - Steve Melewski
By now, it’s almost becoming routine for the Orioles to sign international amateurs. I’m not used to this feeling.

The Royals might lose out on the No. 1 pick — and still land a future star – The Athletic
The Orioles and Royals are guaranteed to hold the top two draft picks in next year’s draft, in some order. It just so happens there are two standout stars who figure to headline said draft.

Baltimore Orioles usher bolsters Camden Yards camaraderie | Putnam Review |
I see this usher, Ryan, in my section at Orioles games all the time. Here, he’s interviewed by a 14-year-old O's fan.

Elsewhere, former Oriole Tyler Wilson, now pitching in Korea, shared some special news on Twitter. D’awwww!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have a very memorable Orioles birthday buddy: Hall of Famer Frank Robinson turns 83 today.

Robinson spent a relatively brief six seasons with the Orioles, but boy, did he make the most of them. He famously won the Triple Crown and MVP in his first season for the O’s in 1966 after they acquired him from the Reds, who claimed he was “not a young 30.” Robinson’s sensational play on the field, and leadership off it, propelled the Orioles to their first World Series championship. His six years with the club were about as good as a player can get, with five All-Star appearances, three top-three MVP finishes, and a 32.3 WAR.

He later returned to manage the O’s for parts of four years, winning Manager of the Year in 1989. Robinson, whose No. 20 has been retired, is now immortalized as one of six Orioles legends in the statue park at Camden Yards.

Six other Orioles also have birthdays today, though they of course pale in comparison to Frank. There are four righty relievers who had ever-so-short stints with the Orioles: Armando Gabino (35), Ramon Ramirez (37), Mike Hartley (57), and Tom Dukes (76). There are also two sons of former big leaguers: Maryland native Steve Johnson (31), son of Dave; and outfielder Tim Raines Jr. (39), who got to play with his Hall of Fame dad for a week in 2001. Happy birthday, y’all.

On this day in 1988, the Orioles made a great deadline deal, sending veteran outfielder Fred Lynn to the Tigers. In return, they got youngster Chris Hoiles, who spent 10 years with the O’s and was the best offensive catcher in club history.