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Monday Bird Droppings: Former Oriole Machado goes to NLDS, Showalter goes home

The division series are set and Buck Showalter won’t be a part of it, a current Oriole has a birthday, and more.

Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox
Happy birthday, Nick Vespi!
Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! I hope you had a nice weekend. Did you watch any wild card baseball? I’m wasn’t wild about the decision to add two wild card teams to the mix, but I have to admit this weekend had a lot of excitement.

From a 15-inning game that ended 1-0 on a walkoff home run to one of the worst chokes in playoff history as the Blue Jays blew an 8-1 lead to be eliminated, there was no shortage of drama. And yet only one game needed three games to be decided, the game with the most connection to the Orioles.

The Padres and Mets faced off in game three of the wild card series last night, with the winner slated to face the Dodgers in the ALDS. As an Orioles fan, do you have more affinity for Manny Machado and the Padres, or Buck Showalter and the Mets? For me it was the Mets, but it became apparently pretty quickly that things weren’t going to work out in the Mets’ favor.

Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove dominated the Mets last night, to the point where Buck sent the umpires out to check Musgrove for illegal substances. As we watched the umpires give Musgrove a very thorough check, including an intimate rubdown of both ears, the question was, is this legit? Or is it gamesmanship? As the meme says, why not both? Musgrove’s spin rate and velocity was up, and the Mets were running out of time.

Regardless, all it seemed to do was fire the Padres up and they went on to win 6-0, ending the 101-win Mets’ season in the wild card round.

There is no baseball today as the teams get set for the division series. Tomorrow will be another jam packed day of baseball with Guardians playing the Yankees and Mariners playing the Astros in the ALDS. The NLDS games will be Phillies/Braves and Padres/Dodgers.

I am enjoying playoff baseball but I am also anxious for it to all be over so we can finally see what Mike Elias means by liftoff.


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Birthdays and History

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have two Orioles birthday buddies. The first is current Oriole Nick Vespi, who turns 27 today. Nick Vespi was a frequent passenger on the Norfolk shuttle this season with six call ups and five times optioned back to the triple-A Norfolk Tides. He had a pedestrian 4.25 ERA in 25 games with the Orioles, but his real claim to fame that was in 26 games with the Tides he did not surrender a single earned run.

The other Oriole born on this date is Gordie Sundin, who passed away in 2016. Born in 1937, Sundin was a highly regarded football prospect who received over 20 college scholarship offers. The Orioles believed he’d be an excellent pitcher and got him to sign a contract with them instead, for five years, $50,000.

Sundin struggled in elbow injuries and made his major league debut on September 19, 1956. He walked two batters and was in the middle of pitching to a third when he was pulled from the game. His relief allowed one of his runs to score via sac fly. It ended up being Sundin’s only major league appearance, leaving him with an ERA of infinity! It is the first time I have ever seen “inf” listed under an ERA on Baseball Reference.

If you want to learn more about Gordie Sundin, he has a bio at that seems pretty long for a guy who only faced 2.5 batters in his major league career. But hey, I read the entire thing and learned he became a Campbell’s Soup salesman.

On this day in 1979, the Orioles kicked off game one of the World Series against the Pirates in style, taking a 5-0 lead in the first inning. Mike Flanagan made the start and pitched a complete game, despite “scattering” four runs as the Orioles held on to win 5-4.

In 1996, the Orioles defeated the New York Yankees 5-3 to even the ALCS at one game apiece. It was, as you may recall, the only win the Orioles got in that series. Rafael Palmeiro hit the go-ahead home run in the seventh inning.

The Orioles also played the Yankees on this day in 2012, this time in the ALDS. Ryan Flaherty and Manny Machado hit home runs and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

In 2014, the Orioles lost 8-6 to the Royals in game one of the ALCS.