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Once again, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I was feeling merciful today and thought I'd sit down first thing in the morning and point out on this blog that the Orioles -- for all their deficiencies -- deserved a tiny bit of slack because they might be playing the toughest schedule in the major leagues.

They might, when you consider that they played the Cardinals, Reds and 52-win Braves in interleague play, and the supposedly easy interleague teams are a lot tougher than usual this year. That, combined with the perennially torturous AL East slate, certainly puts them right near the top of the sport in degree of schedule difficulty.

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I was going to do that just to be nice, but when I woke up this morning, I realized that the Pittsburgh Pirates were tied for first place in the National League Central. That pretty much did it for me.

The Pirates were one of the last remaining teams that Orioles fans could look at and say "Well, at least we're not them." Now, all we've got left are the Kansas City Royals. I know the Astros are the worst team in baseball this year, but they've had a winning record in 11 of their last 15 seasons, so they don't count.

This is enough to make me go out and drink a case of Iron City beer.

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