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Observation deck: Hard to see baseball greats falling behind A-Rod

A-Rod's milestone march a difficult one to stomach.

A-Rod milestone march getting old: No one can argue that Alex Rodriguez hasn't served his time and isn't entitled to continue his major league career. But his solid presence in the New York Yankees lineup would be a lot easier to swallow if we didn't have to hear daily reports of the beloved baseball heroes he's either joining or supplanting in the record books.

He has been on a multiple-milestone march all season and any chance that he would simply be unable to play well enough to stay in the Yankees lineup has been replaced by the reality that he's still a very good player as he approaches his 40th birthday next month.

Maybe that's a sign that Biogenesis was on to something, but it's a tough pill for baseball traditionalists, if you'll pardon the unfortunate choice of words.

Planets lining up for O's: There are times when circumstances — both good and bad — demonstrate that a team is gaining some traction. The Orioles have demonstrated that during their June surge, shaking off injuries and building some steam at the plate.

Losing Adam Jones to injury is never going to put a smile on the manager's face, but the Orioles lost their All-Star center fielder at a time when they could afford to. The four-game home-and-home interleague series against the struggling Philadelphia Phillies was a timely breather, even if the offense took the day off Thursday and missed an opportunity for a sweep.

The Orioles also have gotten clutch performances from a series of minor league call-ups, which is the kind of roster magic that helped propel them to the postseason in 2012 and '14.

The "weak" AL East represents: Three weeks ago, a lot of baseball experts were ready to write off the American League East as one of baseball's weaker divisions, and why not? The Boston Red Sox were a mess and there appeared to be something fundamentally wrong with each of the other four teams.

Don't know exactly what changed, but the Toronto Blue Jays and Yankees suddenly couldn't lose and the Orioles joined in the fun and — guess what — entering this weekend, the AL East was the only division in baseball with four teams above .500.

It probably helped that during the four-day interleague matchup against the National League East this past week, the AL East won eight of the last 10 games on Wednesday and Thursday and prevailed 12 of 20 times overall.

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