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Thursday Bird Droppings: You gotta have Hart

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It is one of the two most dead days in the sports calendar, but there's still plenty of Orioles stuff to discuss, including a promotion for Donnie Hart, the improving of Hyun Soo Kim, and why there are so many home runs this year.

Hello, friends.

We have now survived the single most dead day in the entire sporting calendar. True, today is just about as dead, unless the British Open getting underway is your thing, or the Tour de France's Bastille Day ascent up Mont Ventoux. We're one day closer getting back to real sports being underway, so at least that's something.

And in the meantime, the Orioles are in first place, and will remain in first place, so hooray for that! It's good to be in first place. Take that, haters. The Orioles are all alone in first place and that will be the case for at least three days more.

You might think that, with things being dead for the All-Star break, there'd be a shortage of links, but it turns out that is not actually the case. What actually happens is that when beat writers have a few days where they're not writing about games, they write about other stuff and some of it might be interesting. Imagine that!

Around the blogO'sphere

Second-half storylines: Giants, Indians, Orioles are teams to watch - Stats & Info- ESPN
Yeah, that's right, the Orioles are one of the teams to watch in the second half! I mean, yeah, the starting rotation might be awful, but they're still OK somehow.

Relax, Trumbo stays in Baltimore this season - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Nothing screams "I have no idea what I'm talking about!" like people who continually float the idea that Mark Trumbo might get traded for pitching help. Here, Dan Connolly shoots down the concept.

Orioles selecting Donnie Hart's contract - School of Roch
There apparently must always be a LOOGY. The Orioles will be calling up Double-A All-Star Donnie Hart, a lefty reliever for Bowie, who's ground his way up from being a 27th round pick in 2013 to the big leagues. Lefties are batting .157 against Hart this season. That'll work.

Would The Orioles Ever Sell The Naming Rights To Camden Yards? " CBS Baltimore
Another one of those topics that periodically comes up. One more time, Angelos scion John Angelos says it's not happening.

Orioles' Hyun Soo Kim becomes 'one of the guys' off the field - Baltimore Sun
You guys, I think Hyun Soo Kim might actually be the best.

A batting stance tweak and increased playing time led to Hyun Soo Kim's emergence - Carroll County Times
Apparently, Trumbo was one of the guys who helped Kim tweak his swing just a bit and that made a huge difference. Thanks, Mark! You're welcome.

Are the Orioles considering adjusting the plan for Dylan Bundy? - Steve Melewski
The Dylan Bundy Question, asked for the 17th time. We are getting to about the point where, if they were going to make the switch, it might happen. I wouldn't be surprised if they slide Bundy into the rotation after the trade deadline, then give quotes like, "It's like we traded for a starter without having to give anything up."

Minor League Podcast: Keys manager Bodie talks about his prospects, including Stewart - BaltimoreBaseball.com
You may not yet be excited for last year's Orioles first rounder, D.J. Stewart, but the Keys manager, who's got Stewart on his team right now, is excited about him, for whatever that's worth.

Analyzing one O's player's theory behind MLB's Steroid Era-like home run surge (Washington Post)
Matt Wieters has an idea about what's caused the home run surge. You should read for yourself, but it sounds like a plausible one to me.

Birthdays and anniversaries

Former Orioles with a birthday today are: 2005 infielder Bernie Castro, 1999 short-timer Derrick May, 1984 September sensation Vic Rodriguez, 1977-79's Billy Smith, 1973-74 catcher Earl Williams, and 1979-81 starter Steve Stone, who remains the most recent O's Cy Young Award winner (1980). That's a lot of birthdays!

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Along with those former Orioles, your birthday buddies for today include: Carvel ice cream founder Tom Carvel (1906), animator William Hanna of Hanna-Barbera fame (1910), guitarist/antagonist of fascists Woody Guthrie (1912), President Gerald Ford (1913), Glee actress Jane Lynch (1960), Lost actor Matthew Fox (1966), notorious baseball fight-loser Robin Ventura (1967), and MMA fighter Conor McGregor (1988).

On this day in history...

In 756, Chinese emperor Xuanzong fled his capital, Chang'an, ahead of the forces of rebelling general An Lushan. It fell to the next emperor, Suzong, to recapture the capital the next year.

In 1789, citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille, in essence marking the beginning of the French Revolution. Lafeyette later presented the key to the Bastille to George Washington, where it remains on display to this day in Mount Vernon. No, not the Baltimore Mount Vernon.

In 1881, Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside of Fort Sumner in New Mexico.

In 1976, capital punishment was abolished in Canada.

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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 Thursday. Go Orioles!