Friday, October 30, 2009

Flashback Friday: Baltimore's 1979 World Series Parade

In New York or Philadelphia, they will soon hold a parade to celebrate the World Series champions.

To the victors go the spoils. Usually.

On Oct. 18, 1979, Baltimore had a parade for its beloved Orioles despite the fact that the team lost the World Series in excruciating fashion to the Pittsburgh Pirates, blowing a three-games-to-one lead, including the final two home contests.

Wrote Malcolm Moran in The New York Times: "The sun came up here, as hoped, at 7:19 on the morning after. The victory parade started, as planned, shortly after 11:30. Earl Weaver, the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, reminded everyone that his team had won more games than any other team in baseball this season. And for a little while, thousands of people chose not to remember that the Orioles had lost the last one."

At City Hall, Rick Dempsey sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

Wild Bill Hagy led the O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheers that turned him into a local legend.

And the crowd chanted for its cleanup hitter, who batted .154 in the Series: "Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die."

An estimated 80-million people - then the largest audience in the history of televised World Series games - watched the Orioles' lose Game 7.

A day later, 125,000 Baltimore fans showed up downtown despite the outcome.

"It's the greatest parade I've ever seen," said Mayor William Donald Schaefer. "Never seen anything like it."

Perhaps the words emblazoned on a billboard near Memorial Stadium said it best: "We love you, Birds."
Image source: Here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Series Ramblings

-Two southpaws took to the mound at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night for Game 1 of the World Series, which speaks to the value of quality left-handed pitching. That's one of many reasons I love having Brian Matusz on the O's. It'd be great to have Erik Bedard back in (orange and) black as well.

-Perhaps the networks should look to Jeremy Guthrie for some perspective on Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia's time as Indians teammates. Guthrie played with the pair in Cleveland from 2004 to 2006.

Given each player's development since, it's hard to believe that a team with Sabathia, Lee, and Guthrie never made the playoffs. The Indians finally broke through in 2007, a season after Cleveland designated Guthrie for assignment.

Here are some other O's who played with Lee and Sabathia on the Indians: 

Arthur Rhodes (2005), Danys Baez (2002 & 2003), Nerio Rodriguez (one game in 2002), Sal Fasano (2008), Jorge Julio (2008), Jason Johnson (2006), Joe Borowski (2007 & 2008; Borowski played six games with the O's in 1995), Chris Gomez (2007), and David Dellucci (2007-2008; Dellucci played 17 games for the O's in 1997).

-Did you notice the Severna Park hat that Mark Teixeira sported in his Little League baseball photo during the MLB players-as-kids commercials? He was probably thinking about Don Mattingly when the picture was taken.

-Speaking of high-priced free agents, the Yankees have had the highest payroll in baseball every year since 1998 when they were topped by .... you can guess where this is going ... the Baltimore Orioles.

Here's an excerpt from a Rick Bozich column in the Courier-Journal
According to the baseball salary database compiled by USA Today, the Baltimore Orioles had the highest payroll in baseball in 1998. The Orioles were on the hook for $70.4 million.That was the last time the Yankees let that happen. In fact, this season the gap between the Yankees' $201.4 million opening-day payroll and the payroll of the number two team (the Mets at $149.4 million) was greater than the total payroll of the Marlins, Padres and Pirates.

Using the USA Today numbers, since 2000 the Yankees have spent about $502 million more than the Red Sox, the club with second overall payroll.
-On a related note, the Wall Street Journal's Allen Barra penned an interesting column about the 1994 baseball strike and "competitive balance" (tip of the cap - @TWeb):
The issue over which the strike was forced, said Commissioner Bud Selig, was "competitive balance"—the idea that the "big market" teams were dominating the "small market" teams.

Competitive balance, though, was just a diversion. By 1993, the Yankees hadn't won a World Series in 15 seasons, and the Mets had won just one (1986) in 24 seasons. The Dodgers, the biggest-market team in the National League, had taken only one World Series (1988) since 1965; the Angels, with whom they shared a colossal fan base, had never won a Series at all. In fact, the previous two World Series had been won by the Toronto Blue Jays, who, as former union executive director Marvin Miller shrewdly noted, "were labeled a small market team when they lost and a big market team when they won."
Ironically, the phony issue of competitive balance ended what was, by the standards of previous years, one of the most competitive seasons baseball had ever seen: Of 28 teams, just two had a won-lost percentage of over .600 and none were under .400. Baseball had been evolving towards equality for decades, and the advent of free agency in 1976 had accelerated that evolution along.
The sports press hailed the luxury tax as a victory for the owners, but ultimately what did it accomplish? For the 2009 season, the average player's salary was $3.26 million, or $2.06 million more than 15 years ago. And if the point of forcing the strike was to make smaller-market teams competitive against big-market teams, that, too has failed. The four teams that just finished playing for the league championships—the Yankees, the Angels, the Phillies and the Dodgers—represent baseball's three biggest markets.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beware the Winning Season Hangover

If the O's post a winning season, are you prepared for the disappointment that may follow?

Two teams that embody what the Orioles are hoping to do in the near future are the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays. Both teams suffered 10 or more consecutive losing seasons before reaching the World Series in the years they broke their respective streaks - the Tigers in 2006 and the Rays in 2008.

Dare to dream, O's fans. 

Each team's turnaround was remarkable; to have it happen twice in the span of three years provides reason for hope. But beware of the Winning Season Hangover - a team's "morning after" season can give headaches to fans with suddenly elevated expectations.

[More after the jump.]

After 12 losing seasons, the Tigers won 95 games and the American League pennant in 2006. The following year they won 88, a seven win drop-off  that left the defending ALCS Champions on the outside looking in come playoff time.

Detroit hasn't returned to the postseason since its World Series appearance. The team suffered an excruciating collapse this year and came up short in their 163rd game, a winner-take-the-playoff-berth contest with the Twins.

The Rays, meanwhile, are observing the postseason from home this year after ending a run of 10 straight losing seasons in 2008 by posting 97 wins and winning the American League pennant. The team's drop-off during their hangover season was nearly twice as steep as that of Detroit: Tampa Bay went from 97 wins to 84 wins.

Milwaukee produced a less-celebrated turnaround than either the Tigers or the Rays; however, their encore performance was much the same as those two teams. Though their fans were less drunk with victory, the Brewers still fell victim to the Winning Season Hangover.

In 2005, the Brew Crew ended a streak of 12 consecutive losing seasons with an 81-81 record (okay, it's technically not a winning season, but it still counts). A six-game drop-off in wins in 2006 left the team with a 75-87 record and their 13th losing season in 14 years.

Milwaukee has posted winning records in two of the past three seasons but has only one playoff appearance to show for its efforts, a 3-1 Division Series loss to the Phillies in 2008.

Together, the Brewers, Tigers, and Rays averaged 91 wins in their turnaround season and 82 wins the following year. In other words, all three teams regressed to the mean after ending double-digit streaks of consecutive losing seasons.

So heed this advice, Birds watchers, should the O's turn it around soon: Enjoy the trip, and be sure to pack some aspirin.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flashback Friday: Was Boog Powell "Slow Footed"?

Wikipedia never lies. Okay, maybe sometimes. More often, though, the truths in question are matters of interpretation.

Which brings us to the story of a town crier, an Orioles legend, and a disputed proclamation. Oh, and there's beer involved, too. 

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez. Harken, and take heed! It's Flashback Friday.

The story begins (and ends) on Oct. 8, 2009, at the "Opening Tap Celebration" for Baltimore Beer Week aboard the iconic USS Constellation.

Squire Frederick - the official town crier of Annapolis and Baltimore County, Md., and, I should note, my father - is in the midst of introducing one John Wesley "Boog" Powell to the not-yet-drunken masses via the colonial news medium known as crying.

Suddenly, a voice of protest arises from none another than the guest of honor himself.

At issue is the crier's Wikipedia-inspired description of the revered slugger as "a slow-footed third baseman and left fielder before switching to first base in 1965."

(Note: Other sources have adopted the same characterization of Powell. Wiki came first: the chicken or the egg?)

"I stole 21 or 23 bases," Powell doth counter. "Nine consecutive bases without being thrown out in 1968."

Wikipedia may occasionally lie, but statistics never do. Okay, scratch that. Once again it seems the truths in question are matters of interpretation.

But the facts are these: Boog Powell stole 20 bases in 17 major league seasons; he was caught stealing 21 times. The 1968 season was in fact his best in the category - he stole seven bases (four consecutively without being thrown out) and was caught stealing just once.

Therefore, be it resolved that you should draw your own conclusions on this matter. Just be careful who's listening when you do.

See video of Squire Frederick, Boog Powell, and the matter of the disputed resolution at the Baltimore Beer Week website and/or the Baltimore Sun's Toy Department blog.

Charles Ramsey Must Hate Baseball

Former D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey probably thought he had seen it all in the nation's capital, from handling the Chandra Levy investigation to "defusing" World Bank/IMF protests. However, he had yet to experience the likes of Philadelphia baseball fans.

Ramsey, now the commissioner of the Philadelphia Police department, appears briefly at the end of this clip, which focuses primarily on fans shooting bottle rockets at a jubilant Phillies reveler who climbed a tree in the city following the team's clincher earlier this week.

Am I the only one who thinks the commish looks sharp in riot gear?

To be fair to Phillies fans, Ramsey didn't seem concerned about the collective victory dance in the downtown streets based on this Associated Press quote: "It's OK. It's all right. People are having fun."

Surely it was an improvement over D.C.'s Pershing Park.

Victory celebrations weren't a problem for Ramsey in Washington --- just vehicle break-ins in the Nationals' players parking lot.

Charles Ramsey must hate baseball.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Examining the Longtime Boog Powell Record That Chase Utley Just Tied

Chase Utley tied Boog Powell's record on Wednesday for most consecutive postseason games reaching base. Utley walked in the first inning of the Phillies' NLCS clinching 10-4 victory over the Dodgers to reach base for the 25th consecutive playoff game, equaling the record Powell held alone for 38 years.

Boog established the original mark before there was even a League Championship Series much less a Division Series.

The streak began on Oct. 5, 1966. Powell recorded hits in each of the four games of the World Series including a 2-for-3 effort with a run scored and an RBI in Game 2. The starter that day was Sandy Koufax, the first pitcher to record four no-hitters, one of which was a perfect game in 1965.

[More after the jump.]

Powell continued reaching base through three games of the 1969 American League Championship Series (the first-ever LCS after the American League split into East and West divisions), five games of the 1969 World Series, three games of the 1970 ALCS, five games of the 1970 World Series, three games of the 1971 ALCS, and two games of the 1971 World Series.

The streak ended on Oct. 12, 1971, when he went 0-for-5 with a strikeout in a 5-1 loss to the Pirates in Game 3 of the World Series. Pittsburgh starter Steve Blass held almost the entire Orioles lineup in check with a complete-game, three-hit effort during which he struck out eight, walked two, and allowed one earned run. Frank Robinson accounted for two of the O's three hits on the day, including a solo homer leading off the seventh inning.

Given Powell's accomplishment it's ironic that he compiled a career .324 postseason on-base percentage, well below his career .361 mark. Utley's postseason OBP currently stands at .398; his career mark is .371.

Image source: Here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

East Coast Baseball

Here's an interesting tidbit from Tom Verducci about how West Coast teams - and the Diamondbacks - have struggled in the playoffs against East Coast teams, including the Orioles. Verducci examined match-ups since 1995 and discovered that "West Coast teams are 10-36 in East Coast Baseball venues, a .217 winning percentage."
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino has a term for playing in the intense conditions of the Northeast: East Coast Baseball. He is on to something. In Philadelphia, Boston and New York, almost every home game carries an intensity (from fans and media) that is a close facsimile to playoff baseball. And when you do get to October, the frequently cold, wet, blustery weather provides something else to battle, too.

[More after the jump.]

I started thinking about East Coast Baseball as I watched the Dodgers and Angels go 0-4 in Philadelphia and New York in the LCS, all the while looking like they were not up to the challenges of the crowd and the weather. And then I thought, is there something to West Coast teams not measuring up to East Coast Baseball in October?

So I looked at all the West Coast teams -- the Dodgers, Angels, Athletics, Padres, Giants, Mariners and, because they fit the criteria except for a nearby beach, the Diamondbacks -- who have played East Coast Baseball in the postseason in the wild-card era, since 1995. In addition to New York and Philadelphia, other cities that fit the definition of East Coast Baseball at the time they hosted West Coast teams in the playoffs were Boston, Detroit and Baltimore.

It turns out there have been 22 playoff matchups when a West Coast team ventured into East Coast Baseball. The result: the West Coast teams are 10-36 in East Coast Baseball venues, a .217 winning percentage. In other words, get them out of their laid-back, warm environment and into the nasty conditions in the East, and they're not even the 1962 Mets.

And it is not getting any easier. Since 2003 the West Coast teams are 3-17 in East Coast Baseball playoff environments. That's the kind of history the Dodgers are up against tonight when they play NLCS Game 5 in Philadelphia. Bundle up, Dodgers.

Sometimes it's Just Nice to be in the Race Regardless of Whether You Win, Place, or Show

By now you've likely heard the story of Stephen Krupin, the unfortunate Nationals fan who saw the team go 0-19 in games he attended during the 2009 season. (Here's some of the D.C. coverage: Dan Steinberg's D.C. Sports Bog; WTOP).

Any baseball fan who attends more than a game or two a season is familiar with the tendency to track the team's success in his or her presence, though we're all looking for positive outcomes when we do it. How many times have you been to O's games and thought, "Sure they're bad, but they seem to play better when I'm here"?

I appreciate Phil Taylor's take on the Krupin dilemma as he offers a fresh angle on a widely circulated story and personalizes it for most fans. The truth is, as Taylor states, that our teams are most likely to lose when it's all said and done, because at the end of the day only one team wins it all. It's the cost of doing business as a dedicated fan of a particular team.

[More after the jump.]

Here's an excerpt of Taylor's column, "Unluckiest Fan in America."

Maybe you weren't as unfortunate a fan as he was this season, but you probably have more in common with Krupin than you realize. To root for a team is to experience varying degrees of misery, whether you're devoted to a club that hasn't won a World Series in generations or one that just missed the playoffs or, like last-place Washington, one that muddles along so deep in the cellar that first place seems to exist only in a galaxy far, far away.

Those giddy, exuberant baseball fans we see on our television screens this time of year, the ones waving their white towels and clapping ThunderStix as they cheer for their teams in the postseason, are the outliers, like the swimsuit models and the guys with six-pack abs on magazine covers. They are the fortunate few, hardly representative of the masses. It's much easier to relate to Krupin because for the overwhelming majority of fans championships are, at best, occasional. Losing is universal.


Only in sports would a consumer keep patronizing the same establishment despite never getting satisfaction. What Krupin did is like continuing to have dinner at the same restaurant even though it burns the entrée every time.
O's fans in particular can relate to this message, but let's face it: not all losing is created the same. There's a difference between losing the Wild Card down the stretch and never being in the race at all. You may not always win, but it's still nice to place or show every once in a while.

Giddy-up Orioles.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Eutaw Street Chronicles: Jim Thome - July 26, 1996

Mike Mussina surrendered one Eutaw Street home run during nine seasons pitching at Camden Yards. The lone batter to reach the famed walkway against him was a player with whom he would become very familiar: Jim Thome.

Only four pitchers faced Thome more often than the 59 times Mussina did so. One of the most memorable match-ups came during a July 26, 1996 game in Baltimore.

[More after the jump.]

With speedy Indians lead-off man Kenny Lofton on second base and one down in the first inning, Thome clubbed a Mussina offering 440 feet for the 10th Eutaw Street home run in Camden Yards history.

Thome finished the day 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. His Eutaw Street blast was the 20th of what would briefly be a career-high 38 home runs. (Thome stroked 40 home runs in 1997 and 52 in 2002.)

The young third baseman hit 25 home runs and 73 RBI the previous year; his stock continued to rise in 1996 as he barreled toward his only Silver Slugger award at the position. Thome moved to first base following Cleveland's acquisition of Matt Williams.

The Indians defeated the Orioles 14-9 to pin the Birds with a five-game losing streak and send the team below .500, at 50-51, for the first time in 1996. The O's fell 11 games behind the Yankees and struggled to stay afloat amid a rising tide of trade rumors.

"Our pitchers are just not holding up their end," said Manager Davey Johnson.

Mussina took the loss - his eighth - after surrendering 11 hits and eight earned runs in 3.2 innings pitched. It was the first time in his career that he lost three straight decisions. He allowed a career-high 31 home runs on the season, seventh most in the American League behind teammate David Wells.

The fledgling ace won 19 games in 1995, but a repeat performance seemed unlikely as he had an 11-8 record following the loss to the Indians.

"I always felt, from the beginning, we had the players here to win, but we haven't put it together, and it's hard to understand why we haven't" said Rafael Palmeiro. "This is the low point in the season right now."

Things soon changed.

Mussina followed up his brief losing streak with an 8-1 record to finish fifth in the Cy Young voting. The Orioles went 38-23 down the stretch and earned the A.L. Wild Card. The discouraging four-game set in Baltimore had therefore served as an unlikely preview of the American League Division Series. Sort of.

Having lost three of four against the Indians in July, the Orioles turned the tables in October and won the ALDS in four games. Meanwhile, Thome faced Mussina three times: he walked, struck out, and grounded out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Forget the Babe, Blame the Orioles Instead

It's all gloom and doom in Boston again, "back to the bad old days" according to Dan Shaughnessy.

In keeping with what used to be an annual rite in New England, the Red Sox experienced a letdown when the games mattered most. However, the Babe is no longer a convenient scapegoat in this post-2004 Boston baseball era.

Apparently the Orioles must now share in the blame.

Again from Shaughnessy (emphasis added):
There was nothing fluky about this outcome, folks. It was a three-game sweep, a Boston beatdown in which all of the locals’ flaws were exposed. Just as we feared, the 2009 Red Sox were artificially enhanced by home-field dominance (56-25 at Fenway) and a lot of games against the Triple A Orioles. Ultimately, the Franconamen were a team with too many holes to win a World Series.
Triple A - Yes, the Orioles are now held in that low of regard by the Boston faithful.

The Red Sox mediocrity against teams outside of Baltimore was a point of local concern even before the postseason, as I noted in a previous post. Here's hoping the Orioles can help Red Sox fans develop more realistic expectations in the future.

With apologies to my friends who are loyal to the Red Sox, Boston's final meltdown couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Looks like there won't be any RiverDancing from Jonathan Papelbon this season.

Speaking of Papelbon, O's Minor League Pitching Coach Mike Griffin likes how Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez, and Jason Berken stack up against the likes of Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen and Clay Buchholz.

Here's an excerpt from Steve Melewski's article on

Griffin has a track record of developing Major League pitchers. While in the Boston organization he worked with the likes of Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen and Clay Buchholz.

He said the Orioles' foursome he worked with the last two seasons, compares quite well to that Boston group.

"This group right here is ahead of that (Boston) group. Because they are learning faster. They are getting the things they need to get done quicker. That's why they are in the Majors quicker."

So can the O's foursome turn out to be as good in the Majors as those Boston hurlers?

"Probably, I sure as heck hope so. Let's put it this way, they're in position to do it. Now it's up to them at this level to take the work ethic, apply it, get Kranny's help and use it up here."

Here's some other quality off-season O's reading:

-Heath at Dempsey's Army keeps you up to speed on the Arizona Fall League. The man is a dedicated baseball fan if ever there was one.

-Domenic Vandala at FanHouse wonders, on the heels of Barry Levinson's fantastic look back at the Baltimore Colts Marching Band, if the Orioles would ever leave town. Vandala credits Peter Angelos for his loyalty to Baltimore.

-Paul Francis Sullivan of Sully Baseball so believes there should be a Division Series Most Valuable Player that he has retroactively named the MVPs from 1995 to present. B.J. Surhoff and Mike Mussina take home the imagined hardware for the 1996 and 1997 ALDS, respectively.

Finally, a hearty congratulations to Camden Chat for winning a Baltimore Sun Mobbie as Maryland's Most Outstanding Orioles blog.

Image source:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An O's Fan Observes the PostSeason

Here are a few baseball-related thoughts that occurred to me while watching bits and pieces of baseball's division series:

-First it was Jerry Hairston. Then came Felix Pie. Young, unproven Orioles players who were rebuked by opposing teams for their overly enthusiastic displays on the diamond.

Granted, baseball doesn't need to become the NFL where routine regular season plays produce choreographed histrionics, but isn't there some room for emotion in the national pastime?

Give me Yorvit Torrealba clapping frenziedly at second base following his clutch two-run double against the Phillies.

Give me Jayson Werth celebrating at first base a half-inning later following an equally clutch hit that served as the proverbial final nail in the Rockies' playoff coffin.

The best part is no one has to worry about getting a pitch in the ear for showing some genuine emotion.

I'm glad the etiquette of post-season baseball allows players to be excited.

-Speaking of emotion, baseball should establish a rule that any fan who sits behind the dugout during a playoff game, wears a suit, and fails to stand up during critical eighth and ninth-inning sequences is no longer welcome at the ballpark. Ever.

There were at least a handful of fans at Coors Field on Sunday night who qualified for ballpark banishment.

-Instant replay? No way.

I'm no inflexible traditionalist.

I know replay seems like the right thing to do following Joe Mauer's fair-called-foul ball against the Yankees in extra innings of Game 2 of the ALDS.

I still don't want to see replay ruin the flow of baseball games the way it's doing in pro football.

Sure, there are some cases of clear umpire error like the Mauer hit, but for every clearly blown call there are several times more instances where slow motion look-backs only serve to confuse the issue further.

How many times have you seen NFL announcers watch a replay from several angles, fail to come to a definitive conclusion about what happened, and ultimately fall back on the old line about "indisputable video evidence"?

Rarely are close calls indisputable no matter the speed at which you watch them. The ones that are produce great outrage and calls for unnecessary measures like, well, instant replay.

Umpires make tons of judgment calls throughout a game. Only rarely does one of those calls dramatically affect the outcome. When it does, fans, players, and the media alike all have to deal with it and move on. Either that or harbor a well-earned grudge for eternity as I'm doing with Jeffrey Maier.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Eutaw Street Year in Review

With the regular season behind us it's time for some baseball recaps. At Roar from 34 that means the Eutaw Street Year in Review.

Batters reached Eutaw Street four times in 2009. The baseballs traveled a combined 1,663 feet; had they all been hit straight upward they nearly could have summited Stone Mountain in Georgia.

The four Eutaw Street home runs in 2009 represent the fourth-highest total in Camden Yards history (tied with the 2003 and 2004 seasons). Eight balls reached Eutaw Street in 2008, seven did so in 1996, and five made it there in 1999.

Aubrey Huff (April 21), Adam Dunn (June 28), and Luke Scott (July 11 & Sept. 1) were this season's bronze bombers.

Huff became the second player to hit Eutaw Street with two different teams. His first Eutaw Street home run came on Aug. 21, 2003 with Tampa Bay. Lee Stevens reached Eutaw Street with the Angels (May 23, 1992) and Rangers (May 30, 1998).

Depending on his free-agent fortunes this off-season Huff could return to Camden Yards in 2010 with the opportunity to become the first player to hit a Eutaw Street home run for three different teams.

Scott, meanwhile, provided an encore to his 2008 effort when he reached Eutaw Street twice in the same season. The other players to do so are Jason Giambi in 2008 and Rafael Palmeiro in 1997. Palmeiro is the only player to hit two Eutaw Street home runs in the same game (April 11, 1997) -- consecutive at-bats, no less.

Having hit the final two Eutaw Street home runs of the 2009 season, Scott has initiated a consecutive-bronze-bombs streak for Orioles batters. It has happened three times before.

The Orioles put four straight balls on Eutaw Street without an opponent doing so in a period from Aug. 14, 1996 to April 11, 1997. The team did it three straight times between June 8, 1995 and April 27, 1996, and consecutively between July 24, 1998 and April 29, 1999.

Overall, Orioles batters clouted three of this season's four Eutaw Street home runs, the second-highest total for O's batters behind the four bronze bombs that the team tallied in 1996.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Will the Nationals Have a Winning Season Before the Orioles?

Will the Nationals have a winning season before the Orioles? Blogger Allyn Gibson guarantees it.

Third, this morning’s Baltimore Sun had an article on what the off-season might bring to the beleaguered bottom-dwellers of the American League East. The general impression of the article? Don’t expect much in the way of free agent signings, and trades are unlikely as that would give away the pieces still developing. The funniest part of the article? Mentioning Prince Fielder as a trade possibility. Sorry, I don’t see Prince Fielder coming to Camden Yards, though there is a Dunkin’ Donuts about six blocks from the stadium for all his donut needs.

And that brings me to my personal prognostications.

I’m going to say it.

The Washington Nationals will post a winning season before the Baltimore Orioles do.


Maybe not next year. But certainly by 2012. The Nationals will post a winning season before the O’s.

I agree with Gibson's assessment that the O's won't bring Prince Fielder to town. Otherwise, I don't think the Baltimore resident pays close attention to the Orioles.

Granted, the Nats have an easier path to .500 playing in the N.L. East. However, Gibson's assuming at least three more losing seasons for the Orioles, which frankly isn't going to happen. They'll be a .500 club within three years. Guaranteed.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Cal in Pinstripes? He Thought About It.

Orioles fans have lived through plenty of nightmares in recent history - 12 straight losing seasons, Camden Yards being overrun by Red Sox bandwagon jumpers, 30-3, Jeffrey Maier - but nothing as bad as this: Cal Ripken Jr. in pinstripes.

Ripken told Dan Patrick that the Bronx - where I heard No. 8 booed late in his career - was a consideration for him following the disastrous 1988 season:
-- Dan asked Ripken the poll question about franchise players joining another team at the end of his career. Ripken said he actually did consider Toronto, Atlanta and the Yankees at one point, but couldn't leave Baltimore, his hometown.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Four-Game Win Streak? That's Music to O's Fans' Ear

There's plenty of time to break down the Orioles' late-season slump, the team's disappointing overall record, and the things that need to happen in the off-season to continue the process of turning the Birds into a contender.

For now, let's enjoy the fact that the O's swept the Blue Jays and cobbled together a four-game win streak to end the season. As The Sun states, things ended on a high note.

In the spirit of feeling good and loving the home team warts and all, let the most pressing question you ask yourself today be this ...
Which song played at Camden Yards do you prefer - "How I Love My Maryland" by Damion Wolfe or "A World of Orioles Baseball" by Jason Siemer?

Vote in the Roar from 34 poll and then defend you answer in the comments section.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

An Open Letter to the Ghost of the A.L. East Past

To: The Ghost of the A.L. East Past

From: Roar from 34

Re: The Curse of the Early '80s (aka Sorry for creating the Rockies, Marlins, and Rays)

Dear Ghost,

You're not one for subtlety, are you? Consider your point well taken.

Clearly you hated the idea of expansion in the '90s, and realignment wasn't really your thing either. Major League Baseball broke up your division, and you've been taking out your frustration on some former A.L. East teams ever since.

I'm an Orioles fan. As you know, you've put me and my fellow loyalists through quite a bit of suffering lately. I'm waiting for the team to sign Job as a utility infielder. Guess we'll leave that to the baseball gods. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It all started when you humbled the 1982 A.L. East champion Milwaukee Brewers with a dozen consecutive losing seasons starting in 1993. That was the year baseball expanded in Colorado and Florida.

Next you came after the 1984 A.L. East champion Detroit Tigers who, like the Brewers, suffered a dozen consecutive losing seasons. Their run started in 1994, the same year that baseball introduced the Central divisions via realignment.

And you currently have the 1983 A.L. East champions, my beloved Orioles, in your grip. As with the Brewers and Tigers, your message has come in the form of a dozen consecutive losing seasons. The madness started in 1998, another expansion year.

Bah-humbug to those who suggested you were but a bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese... more of gravy than of grave. Clearly the Ghost of the A.L. East Past is real.

Now that we've witnessed your steroid-free power, I implore you to leave us O's fans alone. Besides, there were other teams in the old A.L. East who could use some humbling.

Perhaps you've seen that they have a different stadium in New York these days; looks like the 1981 A.L. East Champions could use some new ghosts. I hear their owner is a real Scrooge.