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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Scoreboard watching is losing its fun

The O’s aren’t mathematically out of the playoff race yet, but it sure feels like the gap is getting ever wider.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Houston Astros
Brandon Hyde’s face when he sees the Blue Jays won again.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

I never thought I’d be saying this a couple of weeks ago, but it was kind of nice to have a night without Orioles baseball.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. The 2022 Birds have still been a heck of a lot of fun to watch, far, far more than we ever expected. But yesterday’s off day came at a good time for a slumping club that’s lost six of its last eight games. The Orioles may simply be running out of gas.

There was nothing to do last night but scoreboard watch, and last night’s results didn’t do the Orioles any favors. In a matchup of two teams currently in wild card position, the Blue Jays stunned the Rays with a late 3-2 victory on Bo Bichette’s two-run homer in the eighth. (See, the Orioles aren’t the only team that Bo Bichette destroys.) The win pushed the Blue Jays into a tie with the Mariners for the top wild card spot, a half game ahead of the Rays, who are 5.5 ahead of the Orioles for the third spot.

That’s not ideal for the O’s. Their most realistic path back into playoff contention would be for the Blue Jays — who have six head-to-head games remaining against the Orioles — to get beaten up by the Rays and drop within arm’s reach of the Birds, who could then finish the job themselves. But if the Jays move in front of the Rays, the Orioles’ options are limited. The O’s don’t play Tampa Bay again this season, so they’d have no control over their own destiny.

It’s not over yet. But a whole lot of stars will need to align, and fast, for the Orioles to have a puncher’s chance of playing postseason baseball this year.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 73rd birthday to Rick Dempsey, a longtime fan favorite in Baltimore and Camden Chat’s 24th greatest Oriole of all time. The catcher spent a decade with the Birds and was the MVP of the 1983 World Series, and later served as an Orioles coach and MASN analyst. Also celebrating a birthday today is right-hander Mike Adamson (75), who in 1967 became the first player since the institution of the MLB draft to go straight to the majors after being drafted.

On this day in 1969, the Orioles clinched the AL East pennant in the first year of the division’s existence. The O’s blistered Cleveland, 10-5, in front of 20,075 fans at Memorial Stadium, with Mark Belanger, Paul Blair, and Terry Crowley contributing three hits apiece. The victory was the Orioles’ 101st of the season, putting them an insurmountable 18.5 games ahead of the second-place Tigers.

In 1971, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson became the 11th member of the 500-home run club, hitting his historic shot with two outs in the ninth inning off Tigers reliever Fred Scherman. It came in the second game of a doubleheader after he’d previously homered in the opener. The momentous blast didn’t exactly receive huge national coverage, as it happened just a few minutes before midnight with fewer than 1,000 Orioles fans in the ballpark to witness it. (Of course, hundreds of thousands will claim they were there.)

And on this day in 2013, Chris Davis crushed his 50th homer of the year, a go-ahead shot in the eighth inning at Rogers Centre to lead the O’s to a comeback win over the Blue Jays. Davis became just the third player in MLB history to collect 50 homers and 40 doubles in a season, joining Babe Ruth and Albert Belle. Man, remember how good Chris Davis used to be?