Ten things about the Baltimore Orioles


The Tigers begin a three-game series at home against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. The Orioles are one of those teams that I've always liked, for no other reason than that I thought their 1986 Topps baseball cards looked cool, and that was a formative year for me in terms of beginning to collect cards and decide which teams and players I was into.

I thought about doing a series preview and littering my front lawn here with statistics and numerical tid-bits, but what do I look like here, some kind of fantasy baseball site? (Psst: stream Matt Boyd in the opener, the Orioles have been below-average against LHP this year.)

Instead, here are some things about the Orioles that came to mind just now while I was trying to remember things I know about the Orioles, which gave me an excuse to look back at my 1986 Topps collection:

#10

Cal Ripken was the shortstop everybody talked about in the 1980s, and I wish there had been such a thing as MLB Network or Internet streaming back then so I could have watched him play more games. He broke Lou Gehrig's "Iron Man" record of consecutive games played, and he was always, always, always in the All Star Game.



#9

Manny Machado is still on the team. I just looked it up to make sure, and yup, there he is. He is one of a handful of superstar players who will hit free agency after next season, and probably get a way-too-long, way-too-expensive contract from some team with money to burn. I really hope that team isn't the Tigers.

#8

Earl Weaver was a legend as a manager. He wrote a book on baseball strategy in which he stressed the value of on-base percentage and avoiding "small ball" tactics like bunting and hit-and-runs. He preferred to get runners on base and let the big bats drive them in -- his favorite thing in the world was the three-run dinger. He also shunned bullpen roles, and advocated "riding the hot hand" when choosing a reliever to finish the game. He also did this legendary radio outtake which has to be some kind of record for number of F-bombs used in under two minutes.



#7

Their Cy-Young-winning ace pitcher in the 70s and 80s was amazing, but almost more well-known for something other than his pitching:



#6

The Orioles used to live and die by the home run, but so far this year, it's not happening that way. They've only hit 48 home runs this season, which is only four above league average. Even the Oakland A's have hit more dingers, and I tend to think that maybe Earl Weaver wouldn't appreciate this one bit. For sure he'd be pissed that 60% of those c*cks*cking home runs have come with nobody on f*cking base, g*dd*mmit.

#5

The Orioles haven't won a World Series since 1983, so no matter how bad it is for Tigers fans suffering through the championship famine, the Orioles have it worse by exactly one year.

But remember when they swept us out of the ALDS in 2014? Just, like, bam-bam-bam see you next spring?

Yeah, screw those guys. I hope they never win again.

#4

Their ace closer Zach Britton posted an ERA of 0.54 last year. That's not a typo, that's not a tiny sample size of 12 innings or something silly, that's 67 innings of full-time closer duties under high pressure, and that's 0.54 runs averaged over nine innings -- that works out to something like one-sixteenth of a run per inning.

Oh, and he's injured right now, so the Tigers won't have to deal with him this series.

#3

Which doesn't mean they're off the hook, because Britton's sidekick and understudy is Brad Brach. Yes, he's run into a bit of early trouble this year and blown two saves, but he's still a high-strikeout pitcher who has a track record of being stingy with runs. It's just going to be much better all the way around if the Tigers can be the ones leading going into the later innings.

#2

Chris Davis hit 53 home runs and knocked in 138 RBI in the 2013 season, blocking Miguel Cabrera from taking a second consecutive Triple Crown award. Miggy was only one RBI and nine home runs behind Davis.

Chris Davis was suspended in 2014 for using amphetamines.

I don't know, I'm not saying anything, we're just talking here. Do you want some more coffee while I'm up?

#1

They had a relief pitcher in the 70s and 80s whose name was Tippy. No, really, that was his name:



I always wondered if they called him that because he was a drunk, or if maybe his pitches were really easy for opposing batters to predict, or what.

Anyway, enjoy the series.
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