Baltimore Orioles: What role should loyalty play in sports?
I would submit that there are few organizations in professional sports as loyal as the Baltimore Orioles. They take care of their own for the most part. You can look at how many former stars that retain jobs with the organization to see that. It is that good or bad?
The father of NBA star Anthony Davis recently stated that he wouldn’t want his son playing for the Boston Celtics because the organization has no loyalty. Mr. Davis was referring to how the Celtics had traded Isaiah Thonas Jr. after he led them to the eastern conference finals, and after he had to miss time to deal with the death of his sister. It does come off as incredibly cold.
However Boston’s simply wheeling and dealing – at least that’s what GM Danny Ainge would say. He’s trying to better the team. But the price of doing it in that manner appears to be loyalty. Speaking for myself, I much prefer the Orioles’ approach of taking care of their own.
Granted the O’s traded almost their entire team last year. However it wasn’t as coldly done as some franchises do it. There’s also a difference between busting up a losing team and continually wheeling and dealing while you’re a contender.
There’s also another reason why loyalty is a good thing in sports. It allows your community and your fans to form bonds with the players. Baltimore fans had a bond with the Orioles of the 1970’s and 80’s. They lived in the community, their kids went to school with the kids of their fans, etc. We also saw that level of bonding with the most recent crop of O’s; the Machado, Hardy, Jones, etc. group.
That makes things a lot easier in the sense that the community is imbedded with those players. If you simply import the best team money can buy every year, I’m not sure there’s the same draw to the players or the team. When you allow it to happen organically, it can make a difference.
Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Time will tell which way works better. But given any circumstance, I’ll take loyalty every time.