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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where we fight off the All-Star break blues

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It is the calm before the All-Star Game, or something like that. The Orioles could probably use the four days off, and so could we. Rounding up what news is out there in Birdland with days still to go before games resume.

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Hello, friends.

We are, at the time this post will go live, in the neighborhood of 84 hours until the next Orioles game begins. That is a lot of hours, especially when you consider that Wednesday and Thursday will be bereft of baseball games entirely. At least tonight will bring us the All-Star Game, with four Orioles on the American League roster. What about tomorrow? I guess I'll have to worry about that tomorrow.

On Sunday I was thinking that the Orioles could use four days off and I could probably use four days off from the Orioles. I still think that's true but I also think I'll be thinking differently by the time Thursday rolls around.

There will at least be some excitement in France today as the Tour de France heads into the Pyrenees. Today's 167km ride from Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint-Martin is capped by the Hors Categorie ascent of La Pierre-Saint-Martin, a 15.3km climb with an average gradient of 7.4%. The Hors Categorie means Beyond Category, which means you don't want to screw with it. Keep an eye out for a Frenchman to go for the glory on Bastille Day. It happens. I've seen it.

Do you have anything you want to catch up and read over the All-Star Break? TV show that you'll be binging to catch up on since there's no Orioles for the next few nights? Heading out to the movies? Tell us about it, just be kind about spoilers if it's something fairly current.

Around the blogO'sphere

Five questions facing the Orioles at the All-Star break - Baltimore Sun
There are probably more than five questions that are facing the Orioles at the All-Star break, but the Sun is here for you with five of them. Let's hope they find the answers.

Orioles star Adam Jones: Phillies' hiring of Andy MacPhail a 'good move' (Philly.com)
Jones, of course, is going to be a little partial to the work done by MacPhail in Baltimore - and I can't help but appreciate it either, since that's why we have Jones. He offered some thoughts in the context of the turmoil in Philadelphia.

Orioles Hit Season Midpoint Tied For Third " CBS Baltimore
As that great sage Ricky Bobby once said - if you ain't first, you're last. Although I guess that's a little different when there are also wild card spots in the picture.

Top 75 MLB Prospects: Mid-season update - Minor League Ball
Over at Minor League Ball a few days ago, John Sickels posted his midseason update to his top prospect list... and the Orioles are actually shut out completely, as he did not want to rank any injured pitchers. And this is why 2015 feels like it could be a last gasp.

Birthdays and anniversaries

There are no interesting transactions on this date. As for birthdays, there are a few former O's who have this day as their birthday: slap-hitting short timer Bernie Castro from the 2005 team; Derrick May, who popped in to 25 games for the 1999 team; Vic Rodriguez, here for 11 games in 1984; and last, but certainly not least, the Cy Present of 1980, Steve Stone.

If today is your birthday, happy birthday! You are birthday buddies with a few interesting people who have already come and gone from this earth, including the co-founder of Carvel, Tom Carvel (1906); William Hanna (1910) of Hanna-Barbera; he of the "This Machine Kills Fascists" guitar, Woody Guthrie (1912); and President Gerald Ford (1913).

And among those still living, you've got the likes of actor Matthew Fox (1966), wrestler/promoter "Double J" Jeff Jarrett (1967); Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds (1987); and Miami Heat player Shabazz Napier (1991). This is kind of a boring birthday day. Sorry.

On this day in history...

In 756, the Chinese Emperor Xuanzong fled his capital, Chang'an, because the rebel general An Lushan was coming to kick his ass. He would abdicate within a month.

In 1789, Parisians stormed the Bastille, which is why today is, as already mentioned, Bastille Day.

In 1881, Billy the Kid was shot and killed.

In 1965, the Mariner 4 mission resulted in the first close-up photos of any planet (Mars). There will be some Pluto pictures in the near future, so this kind of thing is topical!

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And that's the way it is in Birdland on July 14 - at least, unless something happens later. Have a safe Tuesday.