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If a rivalry still exists between the Orioles and New York Yankees after all these years at opposite ends of the American League East standings, it is a very strange thing indeed.

Take today's game, for instance. Yankees reliever Edwar Ramirez came out of bullpen in the seventh inning and threw his first pitch over the head of Kevin Millar, prompting some nasty stares and a quick ejection. The pitch was believed to be in retaliation for the Daniel Cabrera pitch that plunked Alex Rodriguez the night, though it's possible the guy just didn't like Millar's new haircut.

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So, you would think there's no love lost between these two teams, which are historical rivals who seem to become hysterical on a fairly regular basis.

That notion might have been reinforced in Tuesday night's game, if you were paying close attention in the late innings when Jason Giambi stroked a single just out of the reach of Brian Roberts in medium right field. Giambi was caught by the MASN cameras (New motto: "All HD, some of the time!") flipping Roberts the bird as he rounded first base, and we're not talking about the cartoon Oriole bird or the ornithologically correct Oriole bird or any bird that is recognized by the Audubon Society. We're talking about the dirty digit.

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More bad blood?

Not exactly.

Giambi couldn't resist after Roberts robbed him of a hit earlier in the game with that exaggerated infield shift. The level of true animosity became apparent a little later when Roberts reached first base and the two of them spent the time between pitches yukking it up like Millar at a Red Sox playoff game.

Baseball is a funny sport that way. The tension can build to the boiling point at times, but the players are generally pretty chummy until somebody like Cabrera tries to see if he can make a fastball go in one ear and out the other.

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