The bird is smiling at us Red Sox fans

Did you notice that the catchers helmet that Matt Wieters wears for the Orioles is the bad ass smiling bird? I’ve been BEGGING the Orioles to go back to that hat for literally years.
Well the team isn’t wearing the cap but Wieters knows that the smiling bird is better than the sideways bird.
And man the bird has reason to laugh at Boston tonight.
Besides a home run by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Red Sox had NO offense and frankly showed no life. I guess after a 16 inning marathon and a 25 run slugfest in back to back nights, the Sox are bound to have a dead from the neck up game.
But they were down by only one going into the 8th, which means they had a shot to win.
I’m a greedy man. I hate losing ESPECIALLY to Baltimore.
Which is why I am updating the tally.
DODGED BULLET GAMES – 31

April 8 – 9-6 win against the Yankees. (The Sox end their 6 game losing streak with a slugfest. John Lackey stinks but Phil Hughes stinks even more.)
April 10 – 4-0 win against the Yankees. (Beckett and Sabathia duel in a game that was 1-0 until the late innings.)
April 20 – 5-3 win in Oakland. (Red Sox survive a lead off homer and two bases loaded situations and facing the tying run at the plate to win their first road game.)
April 21 – 4-2 win in Anaheim. (The Red Sox stranded 15 men on base and Josh Beckett’s went 8 strong with no decision. But the Sox rallied in the 11th to win.)
April 22 – 4-3 win in Anaheim. (Peter Bourjos makes a 2 run errors and the Red Sox survive a bizarre passed ball by Jarrod Saltalamacchia that let a run scored from second.)
May 1 – 3-2 win against the Mariners. (Ichiro loses a ball in the sun that turns into a 9th inning triple for Lowrie. Crawford singles him home for the win.)
May 8 – 9-5 win against the Twins. (Dice-K lets up 3 runs in the first but settles down as the Red Sox clobber Carl Pavano.)

May 9 – 2-1 win against the Twins. (A bullpen breakdown cost Beckett the decision but Cark Crawford ended the game with an 11th inning walk off hit.)
May 13 – 5-4 win in the Bronx. (Youkilis homers off of Joba and Bard and Papelbon make it more interesting than it needed to be.)
May 15 – 7-5 win in the Bronx. (Sox fall behind 4-1 but come back as Youk, Papi and Salty all homer.)
May 16 – 8-7 win against the Orioles. (Down 6-0 after 6 innings, the Sox rally and win it with a 2 run walk off double by Adrian Gonzalez)
May 18 – 1-0 win against Detroit. (With 2 outs in the 8th, Salty doubles home Crawford from first for the only run. Papelbon gets himself in and out of 9th inning trouble.)
May 19 – 4-3 win against Detroit. (Bard blows Beckett’s lead but Carl Crawford wins it with a walk off hit.)
May 24 – 4-2 win in Cleveland. (Varitek throws two runners out and homers as the Red Sox win their first game against the Indians.)
May 29 – 4-3 win in Detroit. (The Red Sox blow an early 3-0 lead but David Ortiz wins the game with a pinch 9th inning homer.)
June 3 – 8-6 win against Oakland. (Buchholz lets up 4 runs in the first but the Sox come back thanks to Carl Crawford’s 2 run single.)
June 4 – 9-8 win against Oakland. (Red Sox blow a 4 run 9th inning lead and trail in the 11th before Ellsbury ties it and Drew wins it in 14.)
June 7 – 6-4 win in the Bronx. (Papelbon strikes out A-Rod to end the game with a runner on base.)
June 9 – 8-3 win in the Bronx. (Down 2-0 to Sabathia in the 7th, the Sox score 7 runs as Papi exacts revenge after getting plunked. A 3+ hour rain delay pushed the game past 1:30 AM)
June 15 – 3-0 win in Tampa Bay. (Youkilis homers in the 7th for the only runs in Beckett’s 1 hit masterpiece.)
June 16 – 4-2 win in Tampa Bay. (Papelbon wiggles out of a 2 on, nobody out jam in the 9th thanks to Youk’s diving catch.)
June 26 – 4-2 win in Pittsburgh. (The Pirates make 4 errors and the Red Sox score 2 in the 7th to avoid a sweep by the Bucs.
June 30 – 5-2 win in Philadelphia.(An injury to Cole Hamels leads to the Red Sox bats waking up.)
July 1 – 7-5 win in Houston. (The Sox score 6 in the 7th inning to come back and win.)
July 3 – 2-1 win in Houston. (The Red Sox score a run in the top of the 9th on a walk to break a tie.)
July 5 – 3-2 win against Toronto. (Lester gets hurt but Darnel McDonald throws out the tying run at the plate to end the game.)
July 6 – 6-4 win against Toronto. (The Sox score 4 in the 4th to take the lead and Wakefield and company hang on for dear life.)
July 10 – 8-6 win against Baltimore. (The Orioles score 6 runs off of rookie Kyle Weiland in the second, but the Red Sox hit three homers in the bottom of the second to tie the game and hold for dear life.)
July 16 – 9-5 win in Tampa. (Lackey puts the Sox in a 3-0 first inning hole, but 3 Sox homers bring them back for the win.)
July 17 – 1-0 win in Tampa. (Beckett throws a masterpiece and the bullpen throws 8 amazing innings. But the Sox bats go dead, leaving 17 men on base before Pedroia drove in a run with 2 outs in the 16th inning.)
July 18 – 15-10 win in Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 6-2 lead but score 8 runs in the 8th to take the game.)

TEETH GRINDER GAMES – 23

April 1 – 9-5 loss in Texas. (The Sox tie Opening Day in the 8th with an Ortiz homer only to have Bard implode and the Sox let up 4 in the bottom of the 8th.)

April 5 – 3-1 loss in Cleveland. (The Sox drop their 4th straight as the bats are dead in Cleveland.)
April 7 – 1-0 loss in Cleveland. (Sox blow a great Lester performance on a squeeze bunt and Darnell McDonald overrunning the bag to end the game.)
April 12 – 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay. (A solid Lester performance is wasted as Kyle Farnsworth of all people shuts down the Sox.)
April 15 – 7-6 loss to Toronto. (Bobby Jenks implodes with a 4 run seventh inning as the Red Sox waste Pedroia and Youkilis homers and a clutch RBI double by Scuatro.
April 19 – 5-0 loss in Oakland. (Pedroia gets picked off, the Sox bats go dead and waste a solid Lackey start.)
April 26 – 4-1 loss in Baltimore. (Buchholz pitches tentatively and the Sox let Kevin Gregg of all people to close out the 9th.)
April 27 – 5-4 loss in Baltimore. (The Sox tie the game with a 3 run 8th only to have Bard lose it in the bottom of the 8th.)
April 29 – 5-4 loss to Mariners. (Bobby Jenks blows a 7th inning lead, wasting 2 Mike Cameron homers.)
April 30 – 2-0 loss to Mariners. (The Sox strand 11 runners and let Milton Bradley double home the go ahead run.)
May 4 – 5-3 loss to Angels. (7 hours with rain delays and stranded runners. Marco Scutaro was thrown out at the plate in the 12th)
May 10 – 7-6 loss in Toronto. (8th and 9th inning heroics, including a homer by Adrian Gonzalez, are undone by a walk off sacrifice fly by David Cooper.)
May 21 – 9-3 loss to Cubs. (Up 3-1 in the 8th inning, the bullpen and defense implode. The Cubs score 8 runs while both teams wear their 1918 uniforms.)
May 23– 3-2 loss in Cleveland. (The Sox blow a 2-1 8th inning lead when the Indians rally with 2 outs. Crawford ends the game on a double play.)
May 29 – 3-0 loss in Detroit. (Verlander keeps the Sox off base and prevents the sweep.)
June 1 – 7-4 loss to White Sox. (Konerko drives in three, spoiling a game tying Ortiz homer.)
June 14 – 4-0 loss in Tampa Bay. (Wakefield’s solid outing is spoiled. Longoria scores on a passed ball.)
June 18 – 4-2 loss to Milwaukee. (The Brewers hit three homers early off of Lester and hang on.)
June 21 – 5-4 loss to San Diego. (Ortiz hits a double play in the 9th to stifle a potential winning rally.)
June 24 – 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh. (The Red Sox strand 7 runners in scoring position.)
June 25 – 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh. (The Red Sox fall out of first as Pedroia’s error leads to a Pirates run.)
June 29 – 2-1 loss in Philadelphia. (Vance Worley duels John Lackey and slumping Raul Ibanez drives in both runs.)
July 4 – 9-7 loss to Toronto. (John Lackey’s miserable start puts the Sox in too big a hole to climb out of.)
July 19 – 6-2 loss in Baltimore. (Scutaro gets thrown out stealing and the Orioles tack on 3 big runs late.)

Down to +7.

Dust yourselves off, Red Sox.

A game tomorrow afternoon and win the series.
And with the Yankee loss today, no harm in the standings.
And… THE MAGIC NUMBER IS 67.

Let’s wipe the smile off of that bird’s face!
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Baseball purists must have HATED last night in Pittsburgh

Seriously, it must have been an awful sight to see the travesty of Interleague Play going on in Pittsburgh.

You know how every year someone writes the obligatory “Interleague Play Has Run Its Course” article? Those writers must have been banging their keyboards with disgust at the events at PNC Park.

You see the Orioles came to town… an American League team. And like the Pirates, the Orioles are currently under .500 (just like both teams have been every year for more than a decade.)

But the teams were honoring the 1971 World Series. And both teams were dressed in the uniforms of that series.

The Pirates were decked out in their yellow hats and pull over uniforms.

The belt was part of the pants and basically they were pajamas… pajamas worn by champions.

The Orioles broke out the smiling bird cap. And when Mark Reynolds made a nice stop at third base, it brought back some memories of Brooks Robinson.

And there was a reunion of the players involved in the series, including a big hand for Bill Mazeroski and Manny Sanguillen.

And with it being the 40th anniversary of the Series, the city of Pittsburgh could celebrate that title with some added nostalgia with the Orioles in town.

Or as purists of the game would call it “A travesty!”

The 1971 Pirates were a significant team as Bruce Markusen wrote in his wonderful The Team That Changed Baseball. They were the first team to field a starting lineup that didn’t have a single white player and broke the barrier for bringing in minority players at all levels. It was one thing to sign a super star black player or Latin player. But that Pirate team fielded a roster that included role players and relievers of color, something that was not common before.

You wouldn’t want to celebrate a team like that.

Or if you do, make sure you do it when the Rockies are in town, or the Padres or the Nationals.

Just not the ORIOLES! Because even though the Orioles are directly linked to the 1971 Pirates, they are an American League team… and having an American League team and a National League play each other is just bad for the sport.

I feel for those purists. They must have seen that celebration and said “Baseball is ruined.”

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Beware of Birds… Orioles to be specific




What a difference a half season makes.

In June, I was telling Orioles fans to save their ticket stub for a 2010 game as proof of their loyalty to the birds. They were on pace for 117 losses and being one of the worst teams in the history of the 162 game schedule era.

Now a casual glance at the Orioles would see little to get excited about. They finished the season with the fourth worst record in baseball and 30 games out of first place (and 29 games out of a playoff spot.)

But keep in mind they were a .500 team in the second half. They played winning ball under Buck Showalter. And yes Peter Angelos is still the owner of the team and winning with that doofus calling the shots is all but impossible.

But remember it was impossible to win under Steinbrenner from 1982 until the strike of 1994. It was impossible to win with Ted Turner making so many dumb decisions with the Braves in the 1980s.

Then Steinbrenner got suspended and allowed Stick Michael and Buck to put a winner together. And Ted Turner allowed John Schuerholz to actually put a team together with Bobby Cox.

Then you couldn’t LOSE in New York and Atlanta!

Could this be happening in Baltimore? Andy McPhail, like Schuerholz, has already put a winner together.

And by the looks of things, they are slapping together a young talented team.

Jeremy Guthrie isn’t on anyone’s short list of Cy Young candidates, but then again was Zack Greinke going into 2009? Or Cliff Lee going into 2008?

Along with Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergsen, Zach Britton, Chris Tillman, Rick Vanden Hurk and Troy Patton, the Orioles are stockpiling arms and look like they are embracing the post steroid era of baseball: Gobble up as much pitching as possible and hope to push 3 or 4 runs across the plate.

It worked for one team wearing orange and black this October. And trust me, as recently as 2007, the Giants looked like rudderless organization.

Plus with Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis there is the possibility of a nice middle of the line up. (And even Mr “Tons of potential” Felix Pie showed some improvement in the second half of the season.)

They need a veteran bat in their lineup (Paul Konerko anyone?)

Also they could use an innings eater for the rotation. I was going to suggest Jon Garland, but it looks like he is heading to the Dodgers.

So why not aim for the big fish?
Greinke wants out of Kansas City but doesn’t want to play for a big market.

Why not the Orioles? Put together a package of young players but don’t touch the nucleus… have Greinke anchor the rotation and Konerko give the lineup a boost.

And have Showalter in charge all year.

Something good could happen… kind of like 1989. The year before, the 1988 Orioles began the season 0-21 and were the worst team in baseball. The next year they contended until the last weekend of the season.

Think that is silly?

Sillier than the Rays winning the 2008 pennant?

The Rays are dismantling, the Yankees could be shooting themselves in the foot with this odd off season, the Blue Jays have a nice team but hardly a juggernaut and the Red Sox, while they have good pitching, have a lineup in disarray.

A good Orioles team could sneak in. Maybe not to win a playoff spot, but trips to Baltimore are no longer an easy 2 out of 3 wins.

Then guess what? The potential of the biggest sleeping giant in baseball could be awakened.
The Orioles were once a dominating team with a crazed fanbase.

They were a more consistent contender and destination for star players than Boston ever was.

Could they be again?

We’ll see.

But do us ALL a favor:
GO BACK TO THE SMILING BIRD HATS!

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