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O's pitcher John Means announces his wife, Caroline, is having a baby boy in awesome gender reveal

O's pitcher John Means announces his wife, Caroline, is having a baby boy in awesome gender reveal

This year's Father's Day is one Orioles pitcher John Means will never forget.

On Sunday, Means announced that he and his wife, Caroline Stanley, are having a boy!

The couple found out they were having a son through an awesome gender reveal, which Means posted a video of on Twitter.

It's been quite the year for the Orioles pitcher, who was named to his first All-Star game last July. Means finished the 2019 season with a 3.60 ERA and 121 strikeouts over 27 starts and 31 appearances.

Congrats to John, Caroline and the rest of the Means family!

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Mariners place Jeffrey Maier cutout in stands at game vs. A's

Mariners place Jeffrey Maier cutout in stands at game vs. A's

With Major League Baseball games being absent of fans for the 2020 season, teams have gotten rather creative when it comes to "filling" the stadiums for gameday.

Many used fake crowd noise as a way to bring the common atmosphere to the ballpark, and some have gone as far as putting cutouts of fans in the seats. The Seattle Mariners are one of them, but one particular face in the crowd may bring back some bad memories for Orioles fans.

During Sunday's game against the Oakland Athletics, a cutout of Jeffrey Maier, an infamous enemy of all Baltimore supporters was spotted near the fence. 

For those who may be unfamiliar, Maier made his mark During Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS between Baltimore and the New York Yankees when he was a 12-year old fan in the stands of Yankee Stadium. The Orioles held a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning when a young Derek Jeter sent a ball his way, and Maier reached out and grabbed the "home run."

Only, many believe it wouldn't have been a home run if it wasn't for Maier, as fans will still pull up evidence that Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco was in a position to potentially catch the ball because it was not going over the wall. Right or wrong, the call went in the Yankees favor and Maier went in the Orioles Hall-of-Shame.

RELATED: O'S OFF TO SURPRISINGLY STRONG START

So, while the cutout of Maier in Seattle may be a funny and clever move to many, it probably isn't being viewed like that in Baltimore. As the picture showed, Steve Bartman was also included in the hijinks, so at least Orioles and Cubs fans can share in the misery. Though, Chicago's may sting less as they've lifted their curse since then.

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The Orioles are off to a strong, surprising start to 2020 season

The Orioles are off to a strong, surprising start to 2020 season

If you predicted the Orioles would have a winning record — with a series win and sweep — through the team’s first eight games, come cash in your ticket.

The Orioles are 5-3 through the first three series of the season having beaten the Red Sox in the season-opening series and then, after two losses to the Yankees, rebounding to sweep the Rays in a three-game set from Friday-to-Sunday.

The hitting has been consistent, the starting pitching is improved from a year ago and the bullpen has rebounded in the last seven games to quietly piece together nice outings. The end result was a sweep of the Rays on Sunday at Camden Yards.

It was the Orioles’ first three-game sweep of an opponent since 2018 when they swept the Blue Jays in late August. 

RELATED: O'S CELEBRATE WALK-OFF SOCIAL DISTANCE STYLE

“We all play together,” Renato Nunez said. “Things are happening really good for us. Pitchers are throwing really good, starters and relievers, everybody is swinging the bat well, we’re bunting. I think we’re playing baseball.”

So far, the Orioles have had incredible contributions from some unlikely sources. Or, at least, unexpectedly good contributions. 

Jose Iglesias is 10-for-19 on the season with five doubles and four RBIs. Hanser Alberto is 15-for-33 with three doubles, two home runs and five RBIs. The starting pitching has been solid, despite no starter lasting into the seventh inning this season. The bullpen, while it’s had some rough spots, has been good enough to hang onto leads.

When the team lost to the Red Sox 13-2 to start the season, expectations — which were already incredibly low — fell even further. But now, the Orioles have gone 5-2 since that game (with both losses to the Yankees) and have put together a nice start to the season.

“We got 30 guys here, they’re playing for each other,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That was kind of my goal coming in last year, was to start to create a culture of guys playing for each other. I know what that feels like, I knew what I came from and how there’s not a better feeling to going out and having guys that truly care about playing the game hard, caring about your teammates. We have that.”

Hyde credited the starting pitching as a big pivot from last year’s dismal team. 

“That was something that was a question mark, we just didn’t know with the quick Summer Camp, two-and-a-half, three week Summer Camp, how our starters were going to do and how long we could go with them and how sharp they would be,” Hyde said. “And we’ve had some really really good starts.”

Sunday, the Orioles were led by Tommy Milone, who signed a minor league deal in February. He threw five innings, allowed six hits, just one run (a home run), walked none and struck out eight. 

Their best hitter, Alberto, has played for multiple organizations in his young career, but his start to the season has been mighty impressive. The pitcher that notched the save, Cole Sulser, made his major league debut at 29-years-old and tallied back-to-back saves against the team that DFA’d him a year ago. 

While the hot start has been fun, and unexpected, they’ve still yet to play 10 games and a losing streak could end it all in a hurry. The Orioles, after all, weren't predicted to do very much in the 2020 season.

But for now, the Orioles’ clubhouse is a fun place to be.

“We have some great stories,” Hyde said. “We have so many guys designated for assignment. You look around the field in the Yankees series, look at the Yankees and look at us. How many guys we had on the field that have been DFA’d, traded, released, and hanging right in there. I’m really proud of our guys for all that. It’s not easy to move organizations, be told that, ‘We don’t want you anymore,’ and continue to compete. And these guys are doing that."

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