An O's fan searches for some positive-minded postseason intrigue
by Matthew Taylor
It's as if I've woken up in the pitch dark confines of someone else's home, and I'm struggling to find a light. This baseball postseason has left me scrambling for illumination.
You see, for the past 13 seasons I've had my old reliable antipathy toward the Yankees to guide me through the murkiness of Oriole-free Octobers. During that span the playoffs didn't truly begin until New York lost, which means that four World Series effectively never happened because no one ever flipped the switch.
With my baseball mood defined as much by the ones I hate as the one I love, I find myself entering October in something of a subdued state. I'm not altogether emotionally absent from the postseason; perhaps emotionally tardy is a better descriptor. Love lost is difficult to handle, but so too is detest deferred.
It's easy to substitute the Red Sox for the Yankees - and I do - but like the kid who's forced to share a cookie I can't help but think that I'm missing out on something. Can't post-season baseball be fun? I don't always want to be negative just because my favorite team's win-loss deferential happens to be. Besides, the Red Sox are a seasonal flu; the Yankees are a pandemic.
So I went looking for some Oriole-related factors associated with this post-season. Give me something to cheer for! Here's a list of what I found:
-There are at least five former Orioles on teams that are playing fall ball. Two are on the 60-day DL (Tom Gordon of the Phillies and Curt Schilling of the Red Sox), one is on the 40-man roster (Jason Johnson of the Dodgers), and two are an active part of the playoff action (Jamie Moyer of the Phillies and Chad Bradford of the Rays). This sure screams intrigue, huh?
-There are multiple "would've-been Orioles" on one team: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Count 'em: One-time flirtatious free agent Vladimir Guerrero (he of the third-highest batting average in baseball over the past five seasons) and two trade-baited players, Erik Aybar and Ervin Santana (sigh).
-Speaking of the Angels, K-Rod's history-making season has raised questions about his free-agent value and whether he could fizzle like others among the Top 10 save leaders before age 27 including ... Gregg Olson.
-And there's Evan Longoria, who's drawing comparisons to - gasp - Brooks Robinson. At least Jim Palmer's there to (sort of) straighten things out: "Of course, it's premature to put him in the category with Brooks Robinson. But he's on his way."
Interesting stuff? Perhaps. Exciting stuff? Not exactly.
I guess this year I need to find a passing bandwagon that won't make any stops at Camden Yards to gloat should things end well during the postseason. Go Cubs Go!