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Flashback: Imagine Brooks Robinson trying to go unnoticed in Baltimore

What can be said, written or thought about Brooks Robinson that hasn't already been said, written or thought? Simply put, he's Mr. Oriole, the enduring face of the franchise when the O's finally weaved themselves into the tapestry that is Baltimore, right beside steamed crabs, marble stoops and painted screen doors. If you don't have a Brooks Robinson autograph, that means you've probably never tried.

Matthew Taylor: Charm City fantasy has become a reality

Two years ago, with Buck Showalter new in town and leading a late-season Orioles resurgence that saw the team go 34-23 in its final 57 games, then-Baltimore Sun writer Kevin Van Valkenburg outlined what he termed "a Charm City fantasy" - two winning professional sports teams playing in Baltimore in September. "The Orioles' late-season stretch of stellar baseball has been such a welcome surprise that

Neal Shaffer: What if the Orioles miss the playoffs?

Today I come to raise a spectre. Not because I want to. Certainly not because anyone else wants me to (you surely don't). I do so, simply, because I must. To wit: What if the Orioles miss the playoffs? With seven games left the black and orange remain in a strong position. Despite two consecutive losses to the Blue Jays, they're still in this thing.

Zach Wilt: Qualifying the Orioles' 'luck'

Growing up, my dad always had old sayings that he would use to help teach me a life lesson. They were always simple, thought-provoking sentiments about whatever struggles I happened to be facing at the time, and many of them stick with me today. One such saying has particularly been of interest to me throughout the last five months. As I have watched the Baltimore

Domenic Vadala: On closing acts and changed fortunes

On Friday night, the Boston Red Sox come to town for the final home series of 2012's regular season. Friday is also the Sept. 28, which will mark the one-year anniversary of last season's spectacular finish to the regular season. I'll spare everyone the details yet again, however the act of Robert Andino hitting an RBI single to win it for the Fighting Showalters followed

Matthew Taylor: Historical proof that more is better

The Orioles extended their remarkable run of consecutive extra-inning victories to 15 this week with wins in 18 and 11 innings against Seattle. Overall, the O's are 15-2 in extra-inning games in 2012. Explanations for the team's success in extra frames are varied; however, the historical marker you'll hear referenced most often is that the current 15-game extra-inning streak is the longest such effort since

O's unveil clever contest to advance Brooks Robinson's Legends ceremony

Brooks Robinson was so revered in Baltimore that his first name is all that's necessary to reference him as an Orioles legend and Hall of Famer. Before honoring the man himself at the final Legends Park statue ceremony on Sept. 29 at Camden Yards, the Orioles are honoring his name with a clever sweepstakes. Former Associated Press sportswriter Gordon Beard once wrote, "Brooks never asked

James Baker: The magic number

The Orioles have off today so Baltimore gets to take part in its new favorite game: Scoreboard Watching! O's fans everywhere will be paying attention to the Rays, Yankees, Angels and Athletics games to see how the most direct competition fares. If all goes according to plan, the Orioles could awake tomorrow in a very advantageous position. The Orioles are in control of their own

O's slate series of "BUCKle Up!" rallies

You say you've caught pennant fever? You say you want to get together with like-minded, orange-crazy Orioles fans? You say you need to root loudly for your favorite team, even outside of Camden Yards? Well, the O's have you covered. Beginning Friday, Sept. 21 and continuing through Oct. 2, the Orioles will hold a series of "BUCKle Up!" rallies around town designed to generate maximum

Neal Shaffer: The 2012 Orioles season is a teaching moment

It's funny how time moves. Even funnier how "normal" moves with it. Think of the last daunting task you undertook. Depending on your age, it might be applying for college or graduating college. It might be looking for a job. It might be buying a house or having a kid. It might be sending that kid off to school. It might be taking the plunge

A look at how new postseason format could apply to O's

On one level, the Orioles have already put 14 years of misery to rest by clinching their first winning season since 1997. Now they're seeking another first since that same year - a playoff berth. While it isn't a certainty with their final 13 games coming against AL East foes, the O's chances look good with a little bit of padding in the wild card

Zach Wilt: The three best games I've ever attended

I received a text message from my good pal and former college roommate Reilly last week asking when we could get together. It had been far too long and different jobs in different locations have made it more difficult to get together than either of us probably ever would have imagined during our days in Tower B at Towson University. Reilly asked what my plans

Domenic Vadala: Time loves a hero

There are so many different angles at which we can look at these 2012 Orioles. However, needless to say 2012 will always represent a return to glory of a once-great franchise. Ironically - and who among us ever thought we'd hear this - I've seen some blabber on message boards to the effect that people are getting tired of hearing so much about the Orioles

Matthew Taylor: New Oriole Magic ends string of 14 losing seasons

Let's start with this: The Orioles' run of 14 losing seasons is over. The O's 14th-inning victory Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays was their 81st of the 2012 season, ensuring that they can do no worse than a .500 record. If you follow the team closely, you know the numbers and therefore understand how appropriate it was for the Orioles to secure a non-losing

Orioles throw down the "Go Orange" challenge

Think you've got all of your back-to-school clothes? Think again, Orioles fans. They say you shouldn't wear white after Labor Day. Fortunately, with Birdland in the midst of an historic season, you won't fret about missing out on that dapper, white outfit. From now on, it's orange all the way. The Orioles have issued a challenge to all elementary, middle and high schools in the

Throwback pricing extended to Toronto series from Sept. 24-26

You spoke - purchasing the discounted throwback tickets offered by the Orioles for this week's crucial series against the Rays - and the O's listened. The sight of packed left field boxes and the Eutaw Street bleachers was too good a deal to pass up, and you'll have the opportunity to do it all over again from Sept. 24-26, when the Orioles entertain the Blue

James Baker: No longer losers

The Orioles have won their 80th game. Let that sink in for a minute. What else is there to say? With a sweep today, the Orioles will finally end the 14-year losing streak that has plagued this team, its fans and the city of Baltimore. Confederate money, 30-3, Jeff Maier, Raffy -gate, Mazzilli, The Mother's Day Massacre, Armando Benitez, Omar Dhal, BJ Ryan, Kurt Ainsworth

Neal Shaffer: Shifting expectations and keeping them in check

The Orioles have played themselves into a string of curious and unexpected situations this season. Possibly none more so, however, than this: They may have raised expectations to the point where missing the playoffs would actually be a disappointment. Last night, as Jason Hammel exited the game with an injury, I had the strangest feeling I've ever had as an O's fan. What I should

Zach Wilt: What's wrong with Pedro Strop?

Three weeks ago, Pedro Strop was thought of as one of the top setup guys in baseball. If Strop came into the game, fans assumed three outs and a Jim Johnson save the next inning. Over his last six appearances, Strop has walked five, struck out four and recorded an 18.00 ERA (six earned runs in three innings). Opponents are hitting .500 with a .609

Angel, Hunter advance in 2013 Frick Award balloting

Longtime Orioles voices Joe Angel and Jim Hunter are among 41 veteran broadcasters chosen as candidates for the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award, which is presented annually by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., for excellence in baseball broadcasting. More than 12,000 votes were cast in the first round of fan voting on the Hall of Fame's Facebook page. Every

Domenic Vadala: Overcoming obstacles is the Oriole way

I think that most people my age in this area have very similar stories with regard to the Orioles. Our parents raised us as O's fans and we grew up idolizing Cal Ripken Jr. I'm no different, as Cal was my boyhood hero, however I liked him for a slightly different reason. The best memories of my life were spent at my grandparents' house in

Matthew Taylor: Enjoy the moment, Orioles fans

During a seemingly off-the-cuff speech as a part of Thursday's on-the-field-ceremonies, Cal Ripken Jr. pointed to the Orioles dugout and encouraged this year's team to "enjoy September." He was talking to the players, but he may as well have been talking to the fans, as well. If there's anything that 14 consecutive losing seasons should have taught the diehards who have been with this team

Flashback: How "The Streak" almost ended

It's hard to fathom that it's been 17 years since Sept. 6, 1995, when Camden Yards was at the center of the baseball universe on the night that Cal Ripken Jr. played in his 2,131st consecutive game. That night, Cal broke a record set by the Yankees' Lou Gehrig that was once believed unreachable. Seeing The Iron Man one-up The Iron Horse was nothing short

Neal Shaffer: For the Orioles, all bets are off

Owing to good luck and a fortuitous schedule, I have the honor of my regular turn in the MASN rotation falling today, as the Orioles wake up in a first-place tie with the New York Yankees - on Sept. 5. It was only several weeks ago that the Yanks had a 10-game division lead and it hardly mattered. That the Orioles were winning and in

O's invite fans to "BUCKle Up!" for September stretch run

The O's are within a game of first place in the American League East, and September is suddenly a lot more fun for baseball fans in Baltimore. So the Orioles are inviting fans to "BUCKle Up!" - in some creative wordplay featuring their manager's first name - while celebrating the team's push to the postseason and the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards. And what better

Zach Wilt: Reynolds finds new ways to contribute

I've never complained about Mark Reynolds' crazy high strikeout totals, but it's definitely the popular thing to do in Birdland. All the cool kids are doing it. Power hitters go down swinging a lot; it happens. They swing hard and miss often, but when they put the barrel on the ball, it typically travels hundreds of feet. After hitting two bombs in the Bronx on

Domenic Vadala: The future isn't written yet

Prior to writing for Birds Watcher, I covered the Orioles for another outlet in 2010-11. After what I still feel was the greatest closing act of all time last September against Boston, I wrote that I felt that game juxtaposed the fortunes of the two franchises together in some strange way for the future. (Shout out to my high school English teachers, as I was

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