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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where we can only hope this is rock bottom for the Orioles

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Nobody expected the Orioles to be any good this year, but it doesn’t have to be as embarrassing as last night’s loss to Cleveland.

Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Indians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

The Orioles are careening rapidly towards “put a bag over your head before being seen in public in Orioles gear” territory, if they aren’t there already. The road losing streak has now hit eighteen games after another stinker last night. That sounds really bad, and it is, but the O’s don’t even have the worst road losing streak in MLB, with Arizona having dropped 22 in a row. They suffered a 13-6 defeat out west last night. The O’s may be up to the task of beating that streak, however long it goes.

It’s not just the losing that is making this whole thing embarrassing. We all knew, deep down, that there was going to be a lot of losing for a while before the team was good again. We have seen a lot of it already, in 2019 and in 2020. There was never much mystery that the 2021 Orioles were going to be a continuation of those earlier Mike Elias-era tanking teams.

Losing is losing, but it doesn’t have to be absolutely stupid. Here is a play that happened as the Orioles lost to the Cleveland baseball team last night that will quite possibly end up as the most iconic play of this era of losing, not unlike how Jack Cust falling down between third base and home plate might have been the most recognizable single play from the last dark age of O’s baseball:

The person tweeting from the MLB account somewhat kindly puts the emphasis on José Ramírez hustling, rather than pointing out the obvious that this is quite possibly the worst blown rundown of all time.

It’s one thing if you get too many throws and things get stupid and the hung up runner ends up successfully scampering back to a base. A completely different level of failure is what happens here, when Stevie Wilkerson inexplicably flips the ball off to the side to Freddy Galvis, rather than either trying harder to tag Ramírez himself or tossing the ball to the player heading towards second base. And then, with no one at third base, Ramírez just helps himself to that base.

Two runs had already scored on this play thanks to something stupid that happened on the previous play leading to two men in scoring position, part of an eventual six-run outburst by Cleveland. All of these runs were charged as earned to poor Keegan Akin even though it wasn’t his fault that the defense immolated behind him. (If your personal “iconic worst play” of the last dark age is Todd Williams giving up an RBI hit while trying to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera in extra innings, that’s also a perfectly valid choice.)

It is the kind of loss that burns up a lot of the banked patience towards the rebuilding project. The fact that it came in the seventh straight loss overall and the 18th straight road loss just accelerates that feeling. Though as ugly as it was and as bad as it feels to have watched it, the Orioles still only lost by a run. They had a chance, somehow, despite all of the stupid stuff. Check out Stacey’s recap of the 8-7 defeat for more.

The plan does not involve being better than this right now. Immediate answers are not present at Norfolk, though we can hope perhaps in a month there will be one or two more players worth having here from that group.

The patience will return, probably, when the O’s string together some wins, or at least if they start interrupting the long stretches of losses before they can get quite so long. But for now, this is what it is. It’s tough at this moment not to feel like a sucker spending time and money watching this process continue to play out at the MLB level.

Around the blogO’sphere

Elias updates medical statuses of Kjerstad, Hall, and Davis (School of Roch)
Yesterday was a bad day of injury news. Heston Kjerstad had another inflammation flare-up and is set back, DL Hall has elbow inflammation, and Chris Davis will resume baseball activities in August.

Trade deadline primer: Buyers, sellers, and teams that could go either way (The Athletic)
In a stunning development, the Orioles are labeled as a team that will be selling before the deadline in 2021. Jim Bowden thinks Maikel Franco, Paul Fry, and Freddy Galvis are the most likely players to be dealt.

Mountcastle debuts in Rookie Power Rankings (Orioles.com)
Ryan Mountcastle is now 10th in MLB.com’s Rookie Power Rankings. And that was before he had a three-hit game and drove in four runs last night.

Skipper Brandon Hyde looks to stay upbeat during losing streak (Steve Melewski)
This headline was from before the latest loss. I think it was probably harder to be upbeat after last night’s display.

Mock draft: Changes in the top 10 (MLB Pipeline)
Last week, Jim Callis mocked Boston College outfielder Sal Frelick to the Orioles as an underslot pick. This week, his colleague Jonathan Mayo takes aim at the first round of the draft and sees shortstop Jordan Lawlar falling to the Orioles, with the O’s choosing to take Lawlar over Henry Davis, Kumar Rocker, and Brady House.

Hot property: Orioles legend Rick Dempsey is selling his Baltimore condo (The Baltimore Sun)
If you want to buy Rick Dempsey’s 1881 square foot condo at 717 President Street, the list price is $895,000.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2005, Miguel Tejada entered the top ten list for consecutive games played when his streak reached 822 games. He made it to 1,152 games before suffering an injury on June 21, 2007. According to Wikipedia, no active streak has been over 500 games since Prince Fielder suffered a season-ending injury in his 547th consecutive game played on May 16, 2014.

Of all the players to ever play for the Orioles, only one has been born on this day: 1955-56 outfielder Dave Pope, who passed away in 1999 at age 78.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: composer Igor Stravinsky (1882), artist M.C. Escher (1898), singer-songwriter Barry Manilow (1943), cycling legend Eddy Merckx (1945), tennis star Venus Williams (1980), and actress Jodie Whitaker (1982).

On this day in history...

In 1462, Vlad Tepes, Prince of Wallachia, led a night attack at Targoviste to try to assassinate the Ottoman sultan, Mehmed II. He failed in this goal, but as the Ottomans retreated, they discovered the impaled bodies of 23,844 Turks, so Vlad is known to history as “the Impaler.” Another of Vlad’s names of legend, Dracula, endures in the canon of fiction.

In 1631, Mumtaz Mahal, wife of the reigning Mughal emperor, died in childbirth. The emperor ordered the construction of a mausoleum, which took 17 years to build. You can still go see the Taj Mahal today. Between 7-8 million people are estimated to visit annually in ordinary times.

In 1885, the Statue of Liberty first arrived in New York Harbor.

In 1972, five operatives of President Nixon’s White House were arrested after breaking into the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate building.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on June 17. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!