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Zach Wilt: Seven years later, Markakis has finally found his niche

I certainly can’t predict what Dan Duquette will do to improve the Orioles today by the 4 p.m. trade deadline, but I’m confident enough to guarantee you that Nick Markakis will still be playing right field for Baltimore in tonight’s match-up against the Yankees. There haven’t been any legitimate trade rumors reported with Markakis’ name on them, but in the Twitterverse, message boards and sports

Domenic Vadala: Does lady luck smile on daring ones?

For the record, let me say unequivocally that I’m not in favor of the Orioles trading Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado. I firmly believe that part of the reason the Orioles have lost for so many years in a row is due to mismanagement of prospects in the minor leagues. I’m not sure that in the past the O’s wouldn’t have been willing to move

Matthew Taylor: A look (way) back at the O’s first deal at the deadline

The trade deadline is approaching. You know the names floating around the rumor mill in 2012, but do you know which players were involved in the first trade-deadline deal in Orioles history? The O’s dealt Vic Wertz, a right fielder and first baseman, to the Cleveland Indians on June 1, 1954, for Bob Chakales. The deal came two weeks before the June 15 trade deadline

James Baker: The emotional roller coaster of (near) contention

Put very simply, we are not used to this. Orioles fans are in no way emotionally prepared to be over .500 and in the playoff hunt this late in the season. The Orioles have spent 109 days over .500 this year. For the sake of context, last year the Orioles spent a grand total of 14 days over .500. This level of play has completely

Flashback: When The Bird went searching for paranormal activity

Music is an important part of any baseball game, from the playing of the national anthem before the first pitch to the array of songs that accompany the important moments at each game. Think about it - could you imagine a rally without the bugled “Charge” call, a pump-up-the-crowd moment without “YMCA” by The Village People or the individualized snippets that accompany each hitter to

Neal Shaffer: Hope for 2012, but the future’s still the thing

Let’s be clear: There’s still no reason to abandon hope for the Orioles to post a plus-.500 season in 2012. They have a knack for righting the ship when things look bad and every game that passes puts them that much closer to the endgame. Each day that ends with a cushion is a surplus banked against a bad streak. They’re getting there. Regardless, we

D. Bundy to be featured on Sports Illustrated show tonight

Dylan Bundy is receiving the kind of national press treatment previous phenoms, such as Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, know all about. Tonight, the Orioles’ 19-year-old top pitching prospect will be featured on the premiere episode of the NBC Sports Network’s “Sports Illustrated” show at 9 p.m. This afternoon, a Tom Verducci SI feature on Bundy and O’s pitching development coordinator Rick Peterson went live on

Zach Wilt: Comparing 2012 Orioles to their 2005 counterparts

What a difference a week makes. Just seven days ago, the Orioles appeared to be a team that had slid out of wild-card contention in the American League, their starting rotation was in shambles with Jason Hammel’s knee injury and the downward spiral had officially begun. Over the weekend, the Orioles picked up four games in the AL East race thanks to a nifty little

Domenic Vadala: Getting cozy with the new concept of contention

After 14 consecutive losing seasons, there’s bound to be angst on the part of any fan base. Bearing that in mind, I think there’s something that a lot of fans are struggling with right now: The Orioles are in contention. Back when the season started and things were going so well, my public stance on Birds Watcher was that it was early and we had

Aug. 12 Brian’s Baseball Bash canceled

Brian’s Baseball Bash, the Aug. 12 fundraiser hosted by Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts to benefit the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, has been canceled. According to an announcement on the event’s Web site, the fundraiser at Dave & Buster’s at Arundel Mills Mall, was canceled “due to uncertainty around Brian’s availability and condition after his recent injury.” Roberts, who returned to the Orioles earlier

Matthew Taylor: Deal with Tribe returned Murray to O’s nest

It’s off to Cleveland for the Orioles after a series split this week with the Twins. Whatever excitement this four-game series may bring, it will be tough to match what happened between the teams on July 21, 1996. Sixteen years ago, the O’s reacquired legendary first baseman Eddie Murray in a deal that sent pitcher Kent Mercker to Cleveland. For a nostalgic fan like myself,

James Baker: On the Orioles and optimism

Optimism is the belief that generally good things happen. It is the tendency to see the good in all things, the belief that good will triumph over evil and that this is the best of all possible worlds. If this is all true, then I ask “Why the Baltimore Orioles?” Over the last month, the Orioles have fallen apart in a way I didn’t think

Neal Shaffer: Don’t reset your expectations, resolve to abandon them entirely

There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. -- From “Hagakure” If

Zach Wilt: Three realistic targets for the Orioles at the trade deadline

It may be hard to believe if you watched them play last night, but the Orioles would still grab an extra wild card and play postseason baseball for the first time since 1997 (as of this morning, they’re a half-game out). It’s shocking for a team with a minus-55 run differential (second worst in Major League Baseball), but I guess that’s what a 27-14 start

Flashback: Immortalized in bronze, Palmer’s always been gold in Charm City

Here in Charm City, we’re so accustomed to Jim Palmer - his brilliant pitching over a 19-year career in Baltimore, the pancake breakfasts when he pitched, World Series victories in three decades, the high leg kick, the mischievous smile, the uncannily accurate memory, the sparring with Earl Weaver, the spot-on analysis - that it’s hard to believe that there are some people who don’t know

Domenic Vadala: Have faith and stay with what you know

Greetings, MASNsports.com readers! My name is Domenic Vadala, and I’ll be blogging on behalf of Birds Watcher for the remainder of the 2012 season. As we’re all aware, the Orioles have exceeded expectations thus far this year, although the first half was ultimately marred by three of the original five starting pitchers being optioned to Triple-A. How is it that the likes of Jake Arrieta,

Of all Orioles memories, magical 1987 sticks out in Sheets’ mind

It’s not difficult to pinpoint the most memorable of the six seasons Larry Sheets spent in an Orioles uniform. Just peruse his career stats and his stellar 1987 season - when he batted .316, hit 31 homers and drove in 94 runs - stick out as a high-water mark for a guy drafted 18 picks ahead of Cal Ripken Jr. by the O’s in 1978.

Matthew Taylor: As hitters, O’s pitchers weren’t too shabby

Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson, Dave McNally and Jim Palmer. They, of course, are the Orioles starters who each won 20 games in 1971, matching the 1920 Chicago White Sox as the only teams with four 20-game winners. But how good were those pitchers when it came to hitting home runs? That’s the question that occurred to me this week as I researched a Roar from

Neal Shaffer: Best guesses for the Orioles’ second half

Here, at the All-Star break, let’s take a moment. I think we need it. The Orioles have not been playing well for something like a month. Yet, as I wrote earlier this week over at The Loss Column, it’s important to keep in mind that they’re still not only above .500 but in playoff contention, as well. That this is the case despite the aforementioned

Tweaking the guest blogging rotation for season’s second half

The second half of the 2012 season is right around the corner - Friday the 13th baseball at Camden Yards, anyone? - and that’s a good time to talk about some changes to our rotation of guest bloggers. Since MASNsports.com introduced the guest blogger initiative at the start of the 2011 campaign, it’s been wildly successful. We’ve been able to highlight the thoughts and opinions

Olivia Witherite: Ready for Markakis’ return to right

OK, so I’ll admit, the first few times Chris Davis ran out to right field, I was super excited. Granted, he’s not the fastest, nor does he position himself well. It’s not that I’m confident in his skills, but it was definitely entertaining to see him make some diving plays in a position that most were unaware he could play. Maybe it’s the summer heat

Join Roberts for Brian’s Baseball Bash on Aug. 12 at Dave & Buster’s

The sixth annual Brian’s Baseball Bash, the signature fundraiser for the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital hosted by Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, will be held Sunday, Aug. 12 at Dave & Buster’s at Arundel Mills Mall. Admission is $200 for adults and $150 for children under 12. The ticket price includes complimentary parking, a Dave & Buster’s game card, dinner, dessert, beverages and the

Heath Bintliff: Back to the future with Chris Tillman

After a 328 day absence, it appears that Chris Tillman is returning to the Orioles rotation Thursday. While Tillman’s 2010 and 2011 seasons have been difficult and trying, in 2012 he has turned back the clock to 2009. In 2009, the 21-year old phenom dominated the International League for nearly four months (only Braves 22-year old hurler Tommy Hanson was better). That was the last

Olivia Witherite: A true designated hitter for the Orioles at Camden Yards

About midway through the Saturday afternoon game at Camden Yards, the comment at work was made that the mentions of the Orioles on Twitter were blowing up. Granted, it wasn’t for the Birds’ game in the least, as they eventually dug their own graves in an 11-5 loss to Cleveland. Instead, attached to every tweet was the name of Jim Thome. A veteran in the

Hammel’s All-Star aspirations now rest in fans’ hands

Anyone who’s watched the Orioles this season knows the impact that right-hander Jason Hammel has had on the team’s turnaround. Now, Hammel’s chances of joining three teammates - Adam Jones, Jim Johnson and Matt Wieters - in Kansas City for the July 10 All-Star Game are in the fans’ hands. Hammel is one of five finalists for the Final Vote, a fan-centric competition that will

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