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Sunday Bird Droppings: The ALCS gets started tonight

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Are you pulling for the Heel Astros, or for the Orioles fellow AL East team, the Rays? Their ALCS starts tonight.

Division Series - Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics - Game Two Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 172 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game. For today, inferior sports are at the ready to offer entertainment, but the big ticket is the start of the ALCS between the Astros and Rays.

For me, it’s not too hard to prefer the Rays out of these two teams. It has to be an extraordinary circumstance for me to really get on board with another AL East team pulling something off, but I think this qualifies. We all know that the Astros were cheating cheaters who cheated, and they deserve some karmic backlash that goes beyond the relatively paltry penalties issued to them.

As if that wasn’t enough, this year’s edition of the Astros finished below .500 in the shortened regular season, and they would not have come anywhere near the postseason if it were not for MLB expanding the postseason to an unprecedented eight teams per league. They just won the title - probably with the aid of their cheating - a mere three years ago. It should be someone else’s turn now. The best way to guarantee that is if the Rays take them out in the ALCS, so that’s where my rooting interest lies.

The action gets under way at 7:37 on TBS. We’ll see if the Astros having an extra day of rest because of finishing their previous series in four games instead of five gives them any advantage. The National League teams won’t start their series until tomorrow.

Around the blogO’sphere

A little more on Mullins (School of Roch)
A version of Wins Above Replacement that is seldom mentioned thinks that Cedric Mullins was the 2020 Orioles WAR leader, which might be one reason why it’s seldom mentioned.

Duquette says he left strong foundation for Orioles (Baltimore Baseball)
A number of players drafted or acquired during the Dan Duquette era looked good in 2020. He’s entitled to a little “I told you so” - not that he says it in so many words in this interview.

Keeping up with the AL East’s prospects (Fangraphs)
Ryan Mountcastle, Keegan Akin, and Dean Kremer all get slight bumps to their Fangraphs prospect rankings after their 2020 performance. It’s a nice sign for the near future of the system.

Orioles 2020 offseason FAQ (Orioles.com)
Joe Trezza runs through some of the O’s offseason storylines. The decision of which players to tender 2020 contracts and which prospects to protect from the Rule 5 draft could prove significant.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1971, the Orioles took down the Pirates in Game 2 of the World Series, winning an 11-3 contest that included Brooks Robinson setting a record by reaching base in five consecutive plate appearances.

In 2012, the Orioles beat the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALDS, a 2-1 victory in 13 innings. J.J. Hardy drove in the winning run by doubling home Manny Machado. This was the longest O’s postseason game in history.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2009-10 infielder Ty Wigginton, 1988-93 reliever Gregg Olson, 1968 six-gamer Mike Fiore, and 1956-60 catcher Joe Ginsberg.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: YMCA founder George Williams (1821), Heinz founder Henry J. Heinz (1844), First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884), novelist Elmore Leonard (1925), former Orioles radio broadcaster Jon Miller (1951), Hall of Fame footballer Steve Young (1961), actor Joan Cusack (1962), golfer Michelle Wie (1989), and rapper Cardi B (1992).

On this day in history...

In 1767, surveying was completed on the Mason-Dixon line, setting the border between the Maryland and Pennsylvania colonies.

In 1937, former British king Edward VIII started a 12-day tour of Nazi Germany.

In 1968, the Apollo 7 mission launched. This was the first successful launch of a manned Apollo mission and featured the first live television broadcast from orbit. The astronauts orbited Earth for about 11 days before splashing back down.

In 1976, Congress passed a law authorizing the posthumous promotion of George Washington to the newly-made rank General of the Armies of the United States, which by the same law outranks any other US Army rank that has ever existed.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on October 11. Have a safe Sunday.