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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles set a club record for gopher balls

The Orioles gave up seven more dingers yesterday, making them the most homered-upon team in O’s history. And the season isn’t even close to over.

MLB: Game Two-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Welcome to the Orioles, Ty Blach. This is how things go here.
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Can you picture it? Years from now, you’ll be bouncing your grandkids on your knee, regaling them with reminiscences about the Orioles teams of yore.

“Tell us again!” the rosy-cheeked scamps will exclaim. “Tell us our favorite story again! Pleeeeease?”

“Okay, okay,” you’ll chortle, twinkle in your eye. “Let me tell you about the time the Orioles set a new franchise record for giving up home runs.”


We are all witnesses. Before 2019, no Oriole team had given up more than 242 home runs in a season. Two-hundred forty-two is a lot of home runs. It’s hard to imagine giving up more than that, and if you did imagine it, you’d probably think it would take almost the entire season to surpass that mark.

Haha! Nope. The Orioles demolished the record in the first inning yesterday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, game no. 118 of the season, as Mark Brown discussed in his game one recap. Fittingly, it was Gleyber Torres who hit the record-breaking shot, the first of his three home runs in yesterday’s doubleheader (Alex Church recapped the game two carnage). Torres has now hit half of his home runs this season — 13 of 26 — against the Orioles, and his 13 blasts are the most for a player against a single team since 1961. The Yankees, who hit seven home runs in the twin bill, now have 59 against the Birds this year.

So there it is. The Orioles’ gopher ball count now stands at 248, six more than the previous franchise worst, the 2017 Orioles. And did I mention they still have 43 more games to play?

History is happening, ladies and gentlemen. Someday it might make for a good story.


HR bug continues to hinder Orioles’ progress -
Whoever wrote this headline showed some admirable restraint. Home run “bug”? I’d have gone with “plague” or “scourge” or “pandemic” or “OMG this is a nightmare.”

Orioles losing streak to Yankees grows in Game 2 - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko has some ugly stats to accompany the Orioles’ doubleheader sweep, including the fact that Torres has five multi-homer games against the O’s this year. Oh, and welcome to the Orioles, Ty Blach, who became the 33rd O’s pitcher to give up a homer. Things are great.

New York Yankees: Fans sad for Gary Thorne after Gleyber Torres’ 2 HRs - For the Win
Poor Gary Thorne has become utterly resigned to Gleyber Torres home runs against the Orioles, and the internet extends its sympathy.

Which teams have had the most dominant single seasons against the Orioles? -
The Yankees have completely owned the Orioles in the season series. They’re far from the first team to do so. And they won’t be the last. I broke down some clubs that have crushed the O’s in past seasons.

Bowie manager Buck Britton talks Baysox season in radio interview - Steve Melewski
If the Orioles are making you sad right now, here’s some good news: a few of their minor league affiliates are pretty good. Here, the skipper of the Bowie Baysox says some encouraging things.

Baltimore Orioles release 2020 schedule | Baltimore Orioles
Joe Trezza breaks down some key dates from the Orioles’ just-released 2020 schedule, including Brandon Hyde’s reunion with his former employer, the Cubs, in interleague play. But nobody even mentions Asher Wojciechowski’s reunion with the Reds! All eyes will be on that series, I’m sure.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your Oriole birthday buddies include lefty Jeff Ballard (56), who was just in Baltimore over the weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1989 “Why Not?” Orioles. Ballard was the wins leader on that team, going 18-8 with a 3.43 ERA. Also, it’s the 60th birthday of reliever Tom Niedenfuer, who was teammates with Ballard in 1987-88 but gone before that delightful 1989 season.

Other ex-Orioles with birthdays today are speedy outfielder Corey Patterson (40), as well as two guys he was teammates with, 2007 five-game righty Cory Doyne (38) and 2010 southpaw Will Ohman (42).

On this day in 1969, Orioles legend Jim Palmer threw a no-hitter against the Athletics in Baltimore. The Hall of Famer issued six free passes — including walking the bases loaded in the ninth — but induced a Larry Haney groundout to end it and seal his place in the history books. Palmer’s no-hitter was the fourth in O’s history at that point and the third by a single pitcher. No Oriole has thrown a complete game no-hitter since (though four O’s combined for a no-no in 1991).

And on this date in 1978, Hall of Fame O’s manager Earl Weaver pulled some classic Earl Weaver shenanigans to finagle a victory over the Yankees. The Orioles led 3-0 at Memorial Stadium after six innings, but gave up five in the top of the seventh before rain delayed the game. MLB at that time had a rule that if an inning wasn’t completed, the score would revert back to the last full inning, so the O’s grounds crew (allegedly under Weaver’s instruction) stalled long enough putting on the tarp that the field became unplayable. The game was called off and the Orioles were declared 3-0 winners. The Yankees protested, to no avail, although the rule has since been changed.

Race for the HRs allowed record (through 119 games)

Team HRs allowed 162-game pace Final season total
Team HRs allowed 162-game pace Final season total
2019 Orioles 248 338 ??
2016 Reds 193 263 258

You know, when I started this feature back in May — tracking the Orioles’ gopher ball pace compared to the MLB and franchise records — I figured it would run until at least September. How naive I was. As noted, the Birds have already broken the franchise record, and they’re now only 11 home runs shy of the MLB record held by the 2016 Reds. Eleven! Considering the O’s still have two more games at Yankee Stadium, it’s not out of the realm of possibility the record could be broken by the end of this series.

The 2016 Reds, at the same point of their season, had given up a comparatively paltry 193 homers. In their 119th game, they allowed one dinger to then-Marlin Marcell Ozuna.