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A friend of mine posed a question that keeps replaying in my mind like one of those HBO movies you stumble upon every time you run through the channels.

"Can the Orioles go more than a week without being a national embarrassment?"

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I thought that was a little harsh. Then again, he said this before the 11-run inning, the no-hitter, and the SI.com report that Jay Gibbons received shipments of performance-enhancing drugs.

We could debate the "performance-enhancing" part all day, but let's stay on track here.

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I never thought I'd see another season like 2005 -- Sammy, Raffy, Maz, etc. Leave it to the Orioles to keep topping themselves in every place except the standings.

When I first heard about similar allegations involving St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel, my initial reaction went something like this: "So what?" The guy was taking hGH -- and don't ask me why the first "h" is lower-case -- before Major League Baseball banned it two years ago. But if what we're hearing about Gibbons is true, and the rumors and suspicions have been percolating since he arrived in the Rule 5 draft while Sid Thrift was running the show, this is much more serious.

The SI.com report says Gibbons received a shipment of hGH in July, 2005, six months after the ban went into effect. Now we must wait for Gibbons to issue a denial or a confession. And for the Orioles to respond in some fashion -- perhaps by trying to void the rest of his contract.

Not to be cynical here, but what are the chances that team officials are high-fiving each other right now? This could be their out. This could be a way to get out from under a bad contract.

The players association would immediately file a grievance on Gibbons' behalf, as it did for Sidney Ponson -- which means we should expect a hearing sometime around 2018.

(Another thought here: If Gibbons was still taking the stuff after the ban, why do so many people insist he looks smaller?)

A manager is fired, a player is accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs, runs are allowed in historic amounts, injuries strike the rotation with brute force…

I can't wait to see what next season brings.

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