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Friday Bird Droppings: A big weekend awaits the Orioles at Camden Yards

The first-place O’s host the Yankees in a series that should draw plenty of lively crowds to Baltimore.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

After yesterday’s idle date, the Orioles are back in action tonight, returning to Camden Yards for a brief, three-game homestand over the weekend. And don’t be surprised if there’s a little extra bit of electricity in the air at Camden Yards.

This is the Orioles’ first homestand since they took over the AL East lead in Tampa Bay last weekend, which gives the hometown fans a chance to see a first-place O’s team in person for the first time since, oh, 2016. They’ll also be playing against the Yankees, who, while currently in last place in the division (a phrase I’ll never get tired of typing), always draw big crowds in Baltimore. And — oh yeah — the Yankees reportedly are planning to activate Aaron Judge for this series after a nearly two-month stint on the injured list.

And tonight’s game will bring fan favorite former Oriole Adam Jones back to the ballpark for the first time since he last played for the Birds in 2018. Jones will be in attendance for Mo Gaba Day, celebrating the life of the late young superfan and Orioles Hall of Famer, and will catch the ceremonial first pitch from Mo’s mother, Sonsy. Adam will then spend the game in the Bird Bath section, serving as the first-ever guest splasher, which feels like a match made in heaven. Maybe he’ll bring some pies to throw in a few fans’ faces, too.

So, yeah, there should be plenty of energetic crowds and lots of fun to be had for these next three games, capped off by the nationally televised finale on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The Orioles are quickly turning into must-see TV, and if they play like we know they’re capable of, they can further cement their status as one of the most dominant clubs in baseball.

Meanwhile, in trade news, the O’s reportedly are interested in Tigers All-Star right-hander Michael Lorenzen, a decent if unspectacular nine-year veteran, to upgrade their rotation. But one of their potential reliever acquisitions went off the board when the Mets traded closer David Robertson to the Marlins.


Another dive in the trade deadline, Povich promoted to Triple-A Norfolk - School of Roch
As Roch Kubatko points out, Mike Elias has never been a buyer at the deadline in his five years in Baltimore, so we really don’t know what kind of trades to expect from him. I for one look forward to finding out.

After bout with vertigo, Orioles’ Ryan Mountcastle finding form at plate: ‘I’m starting to get that confidence back’
If vertigo was the cause of Mountcastle’s regression at the plate earlier this season, then there’s reason for optimism that he’ll improve the rest of the year. He’s even walked three times in the last two games!

Michael Baumann on Mike Baumann | FanGraphs Baseball
FanGraphs writer Michael Baumann decided he should finally meet the Orioles pitcher who shares his name. The two bonded over pineapple pizza, misspellings of their names, and middlebrow Netflix shows.

‘We’ve got to be able to have that tool in our toolbox.’ Norfolk Tides work on little things in hopes of helping O’s. – The Virginian-Pilot
For the old-fashioned Orioles fans who worry that analytics have made the game unrecognizable to you, take heart: O’s affiliates are spending ample time practicing things like bunting and moving runners over. Small ball is alive and well.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on July 28, including right-handers Bob Milacki (59) and Chad Paronto (48) and three-game outfielder Drew Jackson (30).

This has been an eventful date in Orioles history. In 1971, Hall of Famer and 16-time Gold Glove third baseman Brooks Robinson committed three errors in a game for the only time in his career — and they happened on two consecutive plays. In the top of the fifth inning against the A’s, Robinson threw wildly to first on a Bert Campaneris bunt to put two men in scoring position. The next batter, George Hendrick, hit a grounder to Brooks that he first booted, then made an errant throw to score both runners. Rough inning. The O’s won the game anyway, 3-2, on a walkoff three-run homer by Frank Robinson off Rollie Fingers (two more Hall of Famers).

On this day in 1978, Rich Dauer set a club record by collecting multiple hits for the 10th consecutive game. You could have given me 100 guesses as to which Oriole held that record and I would not have landed on the light-hitting Dauer. Good for him!

In 1990, Cal Ripken Jr’s streak came to an end. ...No, not that streak. This was a streak of 95 straight errorless games at shortstop, setting a new MLB record. It was snapped when he fumbled a sixth-inning grounder from the Royals’ Jeff Schulz.

The O’s have also made a bunch of trades on this date. In 1995, they acquired slugger Bobby Bonilla from the Mets for the stretch run. The Orioles didn’t make the playoffs that year but they did in ‘96, and Bonilla was a key contributor to the offense. The Birds are still paying him to this day.

In 2000, the Orioles began their infamous Syd Thrift-led fire sale by trading All-Star shortstop Mike Bordick to the Mets for four players. It ended up being the only successful deal of that selloff, as the O’s acquired Melvin Mora, who went on to a strong 10-year career with the Birds and was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame. (Exactly one year after the trade, Mora and his wife Gisel welcomed quintuplets, which means those little tots are turning 22 today. I’ve never felt older.)

And in 2017, the Orioles traded away popular outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, a Korea Baseball Organization veteran who was in his second year in MLB, sending him to the Phillies for Jeremy Hellickson. Kim returned home to Korea after that season and is still going strong in the KBO, batting .292 for the LG Twins this year.