Fire aboard Orioles’ plane results in emergency landing

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A scary story after another big win for the Orioles. The team charter experienced a small fire on the flight to St. Pete tonight and was forced to make an emergency landing in Jacksonville. MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that the team is currently at the Jacksonville airport while the plane is being inspected.

No word yet on how the fire originated, what with Kevin Gregg having been released, but one assumes Jim Johnson put it out.

The Orioles are traveling to St. Petersburg to face the Rays in a three-game series beginning Monday. At 92-67, Baltimore is tied with the Yankees atop the AL East.

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Update: Incredibly enough, the Orioles’ official Twitter account posted this during the game earlier this afternoon (hat tip to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan).

Update 2: The Orioles were able to get back into air after being grounded for about an hour. They learned during the second leg of their flight that they’d be going to the postseason, courtesy of the Rangers’ win over the Angels.

The Yankees stopped playing Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America”

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The Yankees have played “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch since 9/11. The version they play is the most famous version, recorded in 1939 by Kate Smith. As of today they will no longer be playing the Kate Smith version, however.

Why? The New York Daily News reports that it’s because “the Yankees were made aware of Smith’s history of potential racism.” Which is a rather interesting way of putting it, because there’s not much “potential” to this:

Smith was a famous singer before and during WWII who recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among other treats. She shot a video for that song that takes place in an orphanage for black children, and much of the imagery is startlingly racist. She also recorded, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which included the lyrics, “Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

I’m guessing this information was available in some Kate Smith biography or is in the memory of some of her big fans who may still be alive, but it was news to the Yankees until recently and once they learned it they decided that going with a version of the song NOT sung by Kate Smith was better. Good call!

I’m sure someone will complain about this, but I feel like there are better hills to die on than “the Yankees should continue to play the racist lady’s version of the show tune that, despite what we think of it now, was never meant as an actual patriotic anthem.”

If you feel like dying on that hill, be my guest. But please, show your work.