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Friday Bird Droppings: A circuitous Orioles road trip reaches its final leg

The O’s have a winning record on their cross-country trek so far, but the first-place Twins await.

Baltimore Orioles v Seattle Mariners
Much like Anthony Santander, the Orioles’ road trip is rounding third base.
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Does it feel like forever since the Orioles have actually played a game in Baltimore? It’s no wonder — they’re about to enter the final leg of a laborious, three-city, 10-game road trip that took them from Chicago all the way to Seattle and now back to Minnesota, where they’ll begin a three-game series at Target Field tonight.

It’s been a long, winding trek, yet the Orioles have more than held their own so far, carrying a 4-3 record on the first two stops of the tour. If they can take one game from the Twins, they’ll clinch at least a .500 mark on the road trip. And if they can manage to win the series against first-place Minnesota, the Birds will accomplish a feat they haven’t pulled off in eight years. The O’s haven’t had a winning record on a road trip of 10 games or longer since July 18-27, 2014, when they went 6-4 on a 10-game West Coast jaunt against the Athletics, Angels, and Mariners.

These 2022 Orioles are a far cry from that 2014 O’s squad that was one of the best in baseball. And taking two of three from a tough Twins club on the road is a tall order. But if the Birds can pull it off, it’d be another feather in the cap for a team that’s becoming more intriguing with every passing day.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy birthday to one of the best one-season Orioles of all time, Nelson Cruz, who turns 42 today but might as well be ageless. Cruz was already considered to be old and washed-up when the O’s signed him in 2014, but after a renaissance season in Baltimore — in which he crushed an MLB-best 40 home runs — he’s barely slowed down since. This year he’s posting an above-average 109 OPS+ for the Nationals. Also born on this day was lefty reliever Jamie Walker (50), who finished his career with three seasons with the Birds from 2007-09.

On this day in 1967, 19-year-old right-hander Mike Adamson made his MLB debut for the Orioles, becoming the first player in history to jump straight to the majors after being drafted. The O’s had selected him from USC in the now-defunct June “secondary draft,” in which teams could select players who had previously been drafted but hadn’t signed. Adamson ended up pitching just 11 major league games before his career ended at age 21.

On that very same day, Jim Palmer — who famously never gave up a grand slam — actually gave up a grand slam. Don’t worry, it was only in the minors. On a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester, the righty coughed up a salami to another guy you might have heard of, Johnny Bench, who was then a 19-year-old working his way up the minors and later joined Palmer in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

And on this date in 1994, the Orioles and Angels combined for a then-MLB record 11 home runs in one game, with the O’s winning a 14-7 slugfest at Camden Yards. The Birds bashed six of the roundtrippers — two by Jeffrey Hammonds and one apiece by Cal Ripken Jr., Rafael Palmeiro, Chris Hoiles, and Leo Gomez — while Mike Mussina got the win despite giving up seven runs and five homers of his own. The record has since been broken by a Phillies-Diamondbacks game on June 10, 2019, which featured 13 homers.