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Friday Bird Droppings: Wondering what the Orioles have in store next

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A no-hitter is a tough act to follow for the Orioles, who return to action tonight. We’ll settle for a few more wins at Camden Yards.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Yesterday was a day off for the Orioles, but certainly not for Orioles news. If you’re like me, you were devouring every morsel of press coverage about John Means’ historic no-hitter in Seattle on Wednesday.

Two days later, it’s still hard to wrap our brains around what we witnessed that afternoon. This is an Orioles team that, in recent years, has been considered an afterthought and certainly hasn’t been known for its stellar pitching. Non-Orioles fans would probably have trouble naming three pitchers on the Birds’ staff this year, and while Means is a former All-Star, few consider him a legitimate major league ace.

All of that changed Wednesday, as Means’ brilliance was thrust into the national spotlight. People were talking about the Orioles again, even if only temporarily. For one night, Means and the Orioles were kings of the sports world.

So as the Orioles return to the field today, back in Baltimore for a four-game set against the Red Sox, what do they do for an encore? I mean, how do you top a no-hitter?

Well...you don’t. It’s going to be a long time before we see another no-no from an Oriole, in all likelihood. But the O’s would settle for a few wins at Camden Yards, where they’re just 4-10 this season. And it’d be nice to exact some revenge on the Sox for sweeping the Birds in their opening home series last month. Plus, the Orioles have a chance to get back to .500, which they haven’t been since April 10. Since then they’ve had six chances to get back to the even-water mark with a win, only to go 0-6 in those games.

So, go ahead, Orioles. Feel free to give up a hit, or two, or three. In fact, give up as many hits as you want, just as long as you outscore your opponent along the way. We don’t ask for much.

Links

Connolly: ‘Overlooked’ John Means makes Orioles history with one of club’s best outings ever – The Athletic
Dan Connolly recaps the story of Means’ improbable journey from fringe prospect to history-making ace, and all the bumps along the way. Baseball is pretty great, huh?

The lefty who didn’t get prospect attention is being noticed now - Steve Melewski
One moral of the John Means story: As we’re drooling over the Orioles’ top prospects, there could well be some minor leaguer we’re barely paying attention to right now who will one day be a surprise contributor in the majors. Maybe not a “throw a no-hitter” contributor, but a contributor nonetheless.

With No-Hitter, John Means Opens Up a World of Possibilities - The New York Times
It’s an unfortunate stroke of luck that Jim Palmer wasn't on MASN broadcast duty the day Means matched his feat of throwing a no-hitter. We’ll have to settle for his insightful comments in this interview.

John Means Tested the Limits of What a No-Hitter Could Be | FanGraphs Baseball
Jake Mailhot breaks down Means’ repertoire to find out just what made him so darn effective on Wednesday. To sum up: it was everything. Literally everything he did made him effective.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Four ex-Orioles were born on this day: outfielders Keon Broxton (31) and Mark Smith (51); catcher Brook Fordyce (51); and the late Hall of Famer Dick Williams (b. 1929, d. 2011), who had three stints playing with the Orioles in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

On this day in 1970, one out away from defeat, the Orioles stunned the Royals with a walkoff win on Frank Robinson’s three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off former Oriole Moe Drabowsky.

Exactly six years later, the Orioles walked off the Royals again, this time on an Al Bumbry ninth-inning homer.

And in 1992, the Orioles, trailing by three runs to the Twins in the ninth, strung together a furious four-run rally to snatch a victory, featuring four hits, two intentional walks, and a walkoff wild pitch.