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Good morning, Baltimore, and many thanks to colleague Milton Kent, whose pithy observations kept this blog humming last week.

It was also good to see the Orioles reclaim Camden Yards over the weekend by taking two of three from the Red Sox. The numbers don't lie -- Baltimore is not getting back in the playoff hunt. But more importantly is that there is a palpable sense of pride in this team.

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Melvin Mora, whose goofs earlier in the year were sometimes offered as Exhibit A as evidence of a flawed and rudderless team, came up with three outstanding plays that had as much to do with yesterday's 6-3 win as the tying and winning home runs by Miguel Tejada and Kevin Millar respectively.

The weekend attendance at Camden Yards (146,786) set a three-game series record here and, of course, that was bolstered by Red Sox Nation. How that state of affairs has come to be is ancient history by now. But if the Orioles can muster a bit mote talent in the offseason and keep the can-do attitude they've shown since Dave Trembley took over as manager, a year from now those could be 146,000 Oriole diehards filling the ballpark for a crucial August series.

OK, I confess -- I just got back from vacation and those sunglasses I'm wearing may have a rose tint to them.

*  The Red Sox are certainly hearing footsteps. With a 5-3 win of their own over Cleveland, the Yankees swept the Indians over the weekend and are only four games behind Boston. But this little drama gets even more delicious from Baltimore's point of view because the Orioles now move up to Yankee Stadium for a series. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the O's can have a lot to say about how AL East division finishes. The Orioles have 16 games remaining against either the Yankees or the Red Sox. In nine games against those clubs since the All-Star break, the O's are 5-4 (not including the resumption of a suspended game with New York that the Yanks held on to win).

But getting back to the Yankees. When they were in their tailspin earlier in the season and fighting Tampa Bay to stay out of the division cellar, whether it was true or not, Joe Torre seemed to be hanging on by a thread. The Yanks' comeback is further indication that when you have good people in place, it pays to stick with them in bad times.

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