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Observation deck: Frank Robinson too left out, Pete Rose too prominent in Cincinnati

Who's to blame for the Orioles' offensive woes?

Orioles' hitting woes are self-inflicted: No one should be terribly perplexed by the Orioles' recent inability to hit with runners in scoring position. They continue to show that — in too many situations — they are not going to the plate with any idea of the true nature of the situation they are trying to exploit.

Friday night provided a perfect example. The Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning of a two-run game and Detroit Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez was begging them to put him out of his misery. He had already thrown 67 pitches (to get nine outs) and had just handed out a bases-filling walk. So what happens next?

Two pitches later, there were two outs. Jonathan Schoop popped up the first pitch he saw and Chris Parmelee hit a bouncer to second that would have been an inning-ending double play if he had made better contact.

They just aren't playing the game in their heads.

All-Star complaint: Though there is no question that Johnny Bench was one of the greatest catchers of all time, I'm still trying to figure out how he ended up being introduced before the All-Star Game as one of baseball's four greatest living players.

No one can argue with Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax, and we all know that Major League Baseball wanted to have a former Cincinnati Red out there and couldn't trot out Pete Rose. Bench met that requirement and was a truly elite player, but there was a better choice to be made.

Frank Robinson was arguably one of the top five players living or not and he spent a big chunk of his Hall of Fame career in a Reds uniform.

A tarnished Rose by any other name: Not sure what the people at Fox were thinking when they put Pete Rose on the All-Star postgame show at Great American Ball Park. The segment in which he bantered with Hall of Famer Frank Thomas was awkward and — frankly — inappropriate.

Rose still is permanently banned from baseball and that probably isn't going to change after the most recent revelations about his alleged gambling on baseball while he was a player, but he got more face time during the All-Star broadcast than just about anybody other than MVP Mike Trout.

And he got all that attention without anyone with access to a microphone putting his presence in any kind of real context.

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