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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the sports world is taking a stand

The Orioles joined countless other teams in MLB and other professional sports in electing not to play last night in protest of racial injustice. Good for them!

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Last night, the Baltimore Orioles took a sitting out.

Not long before the scheduled first pitch of their series finale in Tampa, the Birds decided, after a players-only meeting, that they weren’t going to play.

They weren’t the only ones, of course. The Orioles’ game was one of seven postponements in the major leagues last night, adding to three that were postponed on Wednesday night along with the entire slate of NBA, WNBA, and NHL games and a slew of NFL practices. The player-led movement, sparked by the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, serves as a protest of systemic racism and social inequality following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday.

We’ve never witnessed anything quite like this in the sports world before — athletes of all different backgrounds, in nearly every professional sports league, rising up as one, showing their solidarity in the pursuit of social justice.

Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for critics to fire up their Twitter machines and message board forums. “What does this even accomplish?” they say. “Why is it any of their business? Keep politics out of sports.”

Here’s the thing: this is bigger than sports. This is bigger than you, or me, or any individual sports fan. It’s about basic human rights, something that should matter to everybody on this planet. It certainly matters to the human beings who play these sports for a living, many of whom have had devastating personal experience with being treated differently because of the color of their skin.

By electing not to play, even if just for one or two nights, the players are making a powerful point. They’re reminding us of what really matters in this world (hint: it’s not sports). They’re showing their frustration while raising awareness of the many issues this nation needs to fix. And, hopefully, their actions are stirring up important conversations in households all across the country. And while there will always be some folks who will never accept it, if this player protest can help change the hearts and minds of those who otherwise wouldn’t have thought about these issues — and maybe inspire some meaningful changes in policy along the way — then postponing a few games seems the tiniest price to pay.

Good on you, Orioles, and everyone involved.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Two ex-Orioles were born on this day: 1975 righty Mike Torrez (74), who was a 20-game winner in his only year with the Birds; and Lou Piniella (77), who began his career with one plate appearance for the O’s before playing 17 years elsewhere and going on to a prolific managing career.

The Orioles historically have had a horrendous time on August 28, with a 26-35 all-time record. In 1988 they won an 11-inning game on this date...and then they didn’t get another victory until 21 years later. In between, they lost 14 consecutive games on August 28. The last game of the skid was in 2007, when the O’s carried a 6-3 lead to the top of the eighth against the Rays...and then proceeded to give up 11 runs in the eighth inning in an eventual 15-8 loss. The O’s finally snapped the losing streak in 2009 with a 13-4 blowout of Cleveland, featuring home runs by Nick Markakis and Felix Pie.

Not part of that streak, but also an ugly performance, was in 1986, when closer Don Aase blew saves in both the first and second games of a doubleheader, resulting in an Athletics sweep. In game one, Aase was tagged for a two-out, two-run, walkoff homer by Dave Kingman, and in the nightcap he lost on a Carney Lansford two-run triple, again with two outs in the ninth.

And on this date in 1960, the Orioles won, but they needed help from some questionable umpiring to do so. With the O’s up 3-0 in the eighth against the White Sox, Milt Pappas gave up a game-tying home run to Ted Kluszewski, but umpire Ed Hurley waved it off because he had called timeout just before the pitch was delivered. Given a do-over, Pappas retired Kluszewski, and the O’s went on to win, 3-1. The White Sox protested the game, to no avail.