This has been a season to forget for the Baltimore Orioles, although odds are it’s not going to be forgotten quickly. Let me be frank; I’m a stay the course guy in all things. So when people were tweeting at me and commenting on this column after the Orioles blew a lead and had to go to extra innings to win on Opening Day, I shoo’d that commentary away. You can imagine what the reaction was then after they lost 7-1 in game two.
With the exception of the eventual Opening Day win, all of that was a harbinger for the rest of the season. I do believe in the it’s early defense when it comes to sports. Just as I wouldn’t be harshly judging the 1-1 Baltimore Ravens right now, I don’t think you can garner too much from one month’s worth of league play. I’ve never believed that; mainly because I believe in staying the course. But…am I wrong?
In this case, I suppose I was. The chicken little’s of the world who were sounding the alarm back in April were right. Now I would also remind folks that this season was literally the perfect storm. I’m not sure that even the worst chicken little of the bunch would have seen this coming at that time.
Again, the difference between someone like me and a chicken little is that I really believed that this team would progress back to the mean. I believed that after last September when they fell off the map. It stood to reason that they would progress back to the mean numbers of most of their careers going into this year. However that never happened. In fact, it got worse.
People told me back in April and May that the Orioles needed to do something drastic – and quick. I don’t believe in that sort of thing, again because I’m a stay the course guy. But also because most of the time when people say things like that, they do so with very little thought as to what that drastic measure would be. They just say something needs to be done.
And eventually it was, with all of the deals the team made in mid-summer. However even now with the franchise in rebuilding mode, some still question the track. That includes catcher Caleb Joseph, who earlier this week said that the mentality needs to be more focused on winning. Circa 2009 I recall the mentality being that the young players on the team were learning to lose together, which boded well for the future. Because eventually they would learn how to win together. And eventually they did.
What Joseph’s saying contradicts that idea. He’s saying that if you learn to lose that’s all you’re really going to know. And complacency sets in, allowing people to “just be happy to be here,” and you never get over the hump. The chicken little’s of the world would probably agree with that, because you always have to be hungry.
And for the record, you do always have to be hungry, and that’s especially true now. The Orioles are going to be a young team moving forward, so we really don’t know what to expect. While the stay the course crowd such as myself were incorrect at the end of the day, it wasn’t a bad bet to assume that proven veterans would progress back to their career means. It just didn’t happen. Given the same circumstances again, I’d take the same stance.
The Orioles head to the Bronx this evening for a three-game set with New York. Yefry Ramirez gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s CC Sabathia. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.