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Friday Bird Droppings: Playoff season begins today

If you can stomach watching the postseason after the Orioles came up just short, four Wild Card Series openers are on the docket today.

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Baltimore Orioles
Buck Showalter and Manny Machado, once Orioles BFFs, now go head-to-head in the Wild Card Series.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The MLB postseason officially begins today. Baseball junkie that I am, I always watch as much of the playoffs as physically possible, but this year it’s going to feel a little different. Knowing that the Orioles were ever so close to joining the party before falling short, I’m going to be watching with a judgmental eye. The first time a team commits an error, or a batter has an ugly at-bat, or a pitcher gets hit hard, I’m going to be all, “Pssssh! The Orioles could’ve done better than this! Why does this team get to be in the playoffs and we don’t??”

Oh well. I suppose these teams earned their way into the dance, fair and square, though not all are created equal. The field runs the gamut from the 111-win Dodgers to the 86-win Rays. In the first year under the expanded 12-team postseason format, nearly every good team was awarded a playoff berth. The Orioles (83-79) and Brewers (86-76) were the only two teams in MLB to finish above .500 without going to the playoffs.

Eight teams are in action for the best-of-three Wild Card Series, starting at noon today with the Rays at the Guardians, then the Phillies at the Cardinals, the Mariners at the Blue Jays, and wrapping up with the series I’m most excited to see, Manny Machado’s Padres at Buck Showalter’s Mets. Two former Oriole heavyweights are going head-to-head, mano-a-mano, to see who earns the honor of probably getting destroyed by the Dodgers in the second round.

I’ll be watching, even if the sting of the Orioles missing out hasn’t quite worn off yet. How about you?


Will you be watching the MLB postseason?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Yes! I’m going to watch as much as I can.
    (80 votes)
  • 56%
    Eh, I might check it out here or there if nothing better is on.
    (162 votes)
  • 15%
    No. Without the Orioles, I’m not interested.
    (46 votes)
288 votes total Vote Now


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 26th birthday to current Orioles minor leaguer Yusniel Diaz, who got his first cup of coffee in the majors with a single inning of action on Aug. 2 this season. Perhaps by his 27th birthday he’ll have more games on his major league ledger, though it might not happen with the Orioles. It’s the 28th birthday for Kohl Stewart, who was on the Birds’ Opening Day roster in 2020 but didn’t make an appearance before opting out of the Covid-shortened season. Other ex-Orioles born on Oct. 7 include right-hander Alex Cobb (35), lefty John O’Donoghue (83), and the late infielder Grady Hatton (b. 1922, d. 2013).

The Orioles have played three postseason games on this date in history, winning one and losing two. The victory came in 1983 in Game 3 of the ALCS, when they crushed the White Sox, 11-1, at Comiskey Park. Eddie Murray crushed a three-run homer in the top of the first and the O’s cruised from there, taking advantage of nine walks by White Sox pitchers. Mike Flanagan and Sammy Stewart combined to allow just one run as the O’s took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

On this day in 1973, the Orioles lost to the Athletics, 6-3, in Game 2 of the ALCS in Baltimore. Starter Dave McNally coughed up four home runs, including two to Sal Bando, while Hall of Famers Catfish Hunter and Rollie Fingers combined to hold down the O’s offense.

And on this date in 2012, the Orioles played their first playoff game in Baltimore in 15 years, but it didn’t exactly go as planned. First the sellout crowd of 47,841 had to wait out a 2.5-hour rain delay, then the O’s gave up five runs in the ninth to fall to the Yankees, 7-2, in Game 1 of the Division Series. Russell Martin’s go-ahead home run landed one section over from me in the left-field seats. Where was Mt. Walltimore when we needed it?