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Big League Stew

Real bird relieves self on cap of Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter

David Brown
Big League Stew

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What we imagined the incident looked like. (BLS Illustration)

Orioles Magic takes many forms. An unbelievable winning streak in extra innings. A black and orange wrestling mask disguising the true identity of a pudgy superfan called Carne Cabeza. The return of Lew Ford. Batman getting banned from Camden Yards. A team with a payroll 60 percent as large as the New York Yankees still being neck-and-neck with them in the standings in late September.

And, in the Pacific Northwest during the early Wednesday morning hours, a Safeco Park seagull going No. 2 on the cap of Baltimore pitcher Tommy Hunter during the Orioles' 4-2 victory in 18 innings against the Mariners. Baltimore improved to 14-2 in extras and moved into a virtual first-place tie in the AL East.

As for the bird-on-bird defacing in Baltimore's bullpen (birdpen?), that's the straight poop. And good luck, as reporter Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun posts via Sulia:

"I was minding my own business, not doing anything. I thought it was (reliever Luis) Ayala throwing stuff at me. You know, he usually does. So I didn't know what it was," Hunter said. "I just thought someone threw a piece of gum and hit me. It wasn't a piece of gum, man. Everybody just started dying laughing. Then everybody said it was good luck. Then we won. ... I was getting ready to go warm up and it went (plop) and I looked at it and everyone started laughing. I had bird (droppings) on my head." He won the game while wearing the soiled hat.

If you stand around for 5 hours, 45 minutes in Seattle, a little bird poop is going to happen. But there's no question that Hunter has to wear that cap, without dry cleaning it, for the rest of the season. Unless Cooperstown asks for it first.

The question for ornithologists: Do birds knowingly poop on other birds? Would the seagull have dropped his load on, say, the Oriole Bird mascot? Things to ponder in the middle of the night, the next time the Orioles go to extra innings. They might just be Birds of Destiny.

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