Just about now it feels like the Orioles suck more than the combined power of every vacuum cleaner on the planet. They are not this bad, although it may be at this point one can only accept that by taking on blind faith the old adage that you're never as good as you look when you're not and you're never as bad as you look when you're cold.
You can pretty much forget about the playoffs now. That dream died around the time they got their butts swept by the Twins. Now it's pretty much about clawing back to a more respectable record, preserving the streak of above-.500 seasons so that we don't have to spend all offseason wondering if things are headed towards another stretch of dark losing seasons.
The first game of the rest of the season is tonight, where they will again face the Rays. Cal Ripken Jr. will be on hand for some special 2131-related festivities. Maybe there will be some good karma built up in the stadium from that.
Around the blogO'sphere
School of Roch: Buck Showalter on Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen and a 6-3 loss
Vaguely ominous words about Miguel Gonzalez's health, which anyone who has watched him pitch for the last couple of months has probably suspected for some time. If he's not right, just shut him down and get Tyler Wilson back up here. See what happens.
Steve Johnson will be among Orioles' September call-ups - Baltimore Sun
Nelson Cruz ain't walking through that door, but Steve Johnson is. What good does having him around do? Not enough to erase the last two weeks of struggle. He's earned the shot, though. Congratulations to him.
Brittany Ghiroli Says Orioles Are Not A Playoff Team " CBS Baltimore
MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli recently joined the fellows on 105.7 for some breakdown of what's wrong with this year's team, in her perspective. One thing that's missing, she feels, is some kind of stabilizing presence of veteran hitters to keep younger players from panicking.
Don't click on this next link unless you want to get angry.
The do's and don'ts of Jake Arrieta, unexpected ace - SBNation.com
On the SB Nation mothership, all-around awesome baseball writer Grant Brisbee had his own breakdown of Sunday night's Arrieta no-no. It is much less likely to make you want to throw your computer out of the nearest window.
Birthdays and anniversaries
One lone former Oriole has a birthday today - happy 85th to Dean Stone, who popped into 17 games in relief for the 1963 squad.
On this day in 2011, the Orioles dumped Mike Gonzalez onto the Rangers. In exchange, they received Pedro Strop, a trade that worked out for the O's for about one calendar year. Also on this day, in 2005, the Orioles parted ways with Sir Sidney Ponson.
ALSO on this day, in 2007, Greasebucket Clay Buchholz no-hit that year's incarnation of sad sack losers.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! I've got to warn you already that it's not a very interesting assortment of birthday buddies today. Some of those who aren't with us any more are Nobel Prize-winning chemist Francis William Aston (1877), Hare Krishna founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896), character actor James Rebhorn (1948), and wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow (1961).
Others still living with birthdays today include actress Lily Tomlin (1939), singer Gloria Estefan (1957), ESPN funny man Kenny Mayne (1959), Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi (1970), and singer/actress Zendaya (1996).
On this day in history...
In 717, a Muslim armada consisting of 1,800 ships was defeated by a Byzantine navy that may have been using Greek fire. George R. R. Martin witnessed the battle and was later inspired for his own Battle of the Blackwater.
In 1715, the reign of French King Louis XIV came to an end after 72 years with his death. This is recognized as the longest reign of any of the European monarchs. England's Elizabeth II, already 89, would have to make it another 8.5 years or so.
In 1831, Pope Gregory XVI founded the Order of St. Gregory the Great, which seems kind of... I don't know. You know? Some of those honored by this order by more recent popes (none of these names are jokes): Ricardo Montalban, Bob Hope, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
In 1952, Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea was first published.
In 1974, an SR-71 Blackbird piloted by USAF Maj. James Sullivan and crewed by Maj. Noel Widdifield, set a still-active world record by making a flight from New York City to London in one hour and 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds. That is a speed of 1,435.587 miles per hour, which I cannot even imagine.
And that's the way it is in Birdland on September 1 - at least, until something happens later. Have a safe Tuesday. Go Orioles!