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Blatimore Orioles : The Bird

 orioles logo

The Bird is the official mascot of the Blatimore Orioles, a Major League Baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland. They are in the Eastern Division of the American League. The modern Orioles can trace their franchise link back to the Milwaukee Brewers of the Western League, who in 1902 became the St. Louis Browns of the fledgling American League. Half a decade of subpar baseball and the existence of two major league teams in St. Louis - the AL Browns and the NL Cardinals eventually forced Browns majority owner Bill Veeck to consider moving his franchise. Just before World War II, the Brown nearly moved to Los Angeles, nearly two decades before baseball arrived in California.

Following the 1953 season, Veeck sold his controlling interest to Clarence Miles, and the American League owners approved the relocation of the team to Baltimore. The team immediately took on the nickname "Orioles". The new AL Orioles took about six years to become competitive. By the early 1960's, stars such as Brooks Robinson, John "Boog" Powell, and Dave McNally were being developed by a strong farm system. In 1966, the Orioles traded with the Cincinnati Reds and acquired slugging outfielder Frank Robinson.

 

The Bird

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Robinson went on to become the first player to Most Valuable Player in each league while hitting for the Triple Crown (baseball) Triple Crown (leading the American league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.) The Orioles won their first ever American League championship, and in a major upset, swept the World Series by outdueling the Los Angeles Dodgers aces Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. The home ballpark of the Baltimore Orioles is the Oriole Park at Camden Yards located in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1989, construction began on an all-new, baseball-only ballpark for the Baltimore Orioles.

Construction lasted 33 months on the ballpark, which finally opened on April 6, 1992. Following a considerable debate on whether to name the new ballpark Oriole Park or Camden Yards, a compromise was reached to use both names. The retro-style ballpark began a trend among other cities to construct more traditional, fan-friendly ballparks, including Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ameriquest Field in Arlington in Arlington, Texas and Comerica Park in Detroit. In 1993, Camden Yards played host to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

On September 6, 1995, Camden Yards witnessed Cal Ripken, Jr.'s record-setting 2,131st consecutive game. Baltimore's official mascot since 1979, this black- and orange-feathered oriole has been riding his scooter through Camden Yards and exciting fans for years. Risking it all to entertain, Bromley Lowe, who spent 10 years performing as the Oriole and was also the co-creator of the Baltimore Ravens' mascots, severed part of a finger when it was caught in a spring-loaded door.

 

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The trait of a good mascot is one who can make the fans forget that a real person inhabits a costume, which may have been the case in 1999 when a Philadelphia fan pushed the Oriole Bird off an outfield wall. Plummeting to the ground and breaking his ankle, the mascot sued and managed to collect $59,000 from the fan.

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