The Birds will be well represented in next Tuesday night’s All-Star game. Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Darren O’Day and Zach Britton will bring Baltimore to Cincinnati. Machado was a lock with a brilliant first half, Jones cooled off after a red-hot April, his numbers are down a bit but there’s no question he’s among the best of the AL outfielders and this will be his fifth All-Star appearance.

It’s the All-Star debut for the Birds in the bullpen, Zach Britton has become an elite closer he’s second in the league in saves and has converted 23 of 24 save opportunities. Darren O’Day’s All-Star selection wins the feel-good award.

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This is a story of beating the odds and grinding your way to excellence. O’Day was an unheralded walk-on in college at Florida; he didn’t get picked in the MLB draft and was later selected in the Rule 5 draft. He did it the hard way and now he’s become one of the best late inning relief pitchers in the game.

The Orioles have plenty of tradition in the All-Star game; 6 times an Oriole has been named the game’s MVP. That’s more than any other team in baseball:

• Brooks Robinson was the first in 1966.
• Frank Robby was MVP in a classic All-Star game in Detroit in 1971.
• Cal Ripken is a 2-time All-Star game MVP (’91 and ’01).
• Robbie Alomar was MVP in 1998.
• Miguel Tejada was the last Orioles MVP in 2005.

Baseball fans have their favorite All-Star memories like:

• Pete Rose crashing into Ray Fosse in the 1970 game in Cincinnati.

• An aging Babe Ruth hit the first All-Star game home run in 1933, Chicago was hosting a big (A Century of Progress International) Exposition that year and this exhibition game was thought to be a one-time thing.

• Reggie Jackson hit a moon shot in Detroit in the ’71 game it soared onto the Tiger Stadium roof smashing into a light transformer and was estimated at 540 feet, likely the longest shot in All-Star history.

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• Stan “The Man” Musial hit a walk-off home run to win the ’55 game in Milwaukee.

• Fred Lynn hit a grand-slam in ’83.

• Bo Jackson’s lead-off monster home run was broadcast by President Ronald Reagan in 1989.

Orioles fan favorites may include:

• In 1991, Orioles fans saw the Cal show in Toronto. He was on fire winning the Home Run Derby then come back the next day and hit a 3-run HR (in a 4-2 AL win) to take All-Star MVP honors. In ’93 the All-Stars came to Baltimore it was a great celebration of the game, the city and a beautiful ballpark that was just over a year old. You might remember a Randy Johnson high heater nearly ending John Kruk’s life and home-town pitcher Mike Mussina warming but never getting the call from AL Manager Cito Gaston.

• In 2001, Cal Ripken had announced it would be his final season, he was a .240 hitter, playing his final All-Star game on life-time achievement more than skill. In the first inning Alex Rodriguez demanded Cal switch places as A-Rod turned shortstop over to his idol.

• That was nice, but it got crazy better in third inning when Cal sent a Chan Ho Park pitch into the Seattle night for his good-bye home run. The stadium shook, fans, teammates and even the National League All-Stars cheered as Cal rounded the bases in one of top moments in All-Star history.

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The Pro-Bowl, NHL, NBA All-Star games do nothing for me but I enjoy baseball’s All-Star game. Interleague play has watered it down some, online voting that values clicks over performance is shady and the tie in to World Series home-field is idiotic, but the competition between the lines is real. Tuesday night the world’s best pitchers will be throwing to the world’s best hitters with Gold Glove defenders doing their thing, for me that’s worth watching.