enter EVERY season thinking “this might be the one”. I’m not going to go that far, because I can’t see the Orioles in post-season play no matter how much I dream, but I do see the Birds as having a legitimate shot at fighting Tampa Bay for 3rd place in the East.
But it’s also important to note that I’m not basing any of my 2011 hopes on what I hear from Buck Showalter. I think the Orioles have better players heading into 2011 than they had this time last year. I think their young pitchers will be improved. And I think the players who caved in last year when the season started off so horribly won’t be given the same luxury by Showalter and his staff.
You could have had Casey Stengel in Baltimore and he wouldn’t get blood out of the stone that was the 2010 edition of the “wO’es” When you stuff your team with average players, lose a few of your better ones to injury, and stumble out of the gate like a horse with a loose shoe, you’re going to be wretched no matter who occupies the manager’s office.
This team, as it’s compiled right now, has an upgraded roster over last year’s white-towel-wavers. Better players equal more wins. It’s that simple.
So, yes, I’m expecting the Orioles to be better in 2011. Much better.
But, with no offense to Buck, I’m already worn out hearing him talk about what he’s going to do this season.
I just want it to get done.
I’ve heard Lee Mazzilli sniff and snort his way around a bunch of predictions about how he’ll pull off some “Yankee Magic” in Baltimore. I’ve heard Sam Perlozzo lament about his “dream job” in Baltimore and how he’ll do everything in his power to restore championship baseball to Charm City. And I’ve seen Dave Trembley white-smile his way through press conference after press conference while knowing in his heart of hearts he had no shot in hell of winning.
I’ve heard it all. And seen it all.
Well, I haven’t seen winning in a long time. Let me clarify that.
But I’ve heard all the talk, all the promises and all the excuses about the Yankees, Red Sox and “economic realities”.
It’s a little bit like this Ravens-Steelers “issue” we’re all dealing with in Baltimore. I don’t want to hear anything from John Harbaugh, Ray Lewis or Joe Flacco about how next year will be different. I just want them to beat the Steelers. Period. I don’t care how or by how many. Just beat them. And beat them when it counts, not in the 4th week of the season when the leaves haven’t even turned yet.
At this point, like most people in town who have paid attention to the Orioles over the last 13 years, I’m not going to buy-in-for-the-sake-of-buying-in anymore.
I’ve done that enough since 1998.
Andy MacPhail showed up here four years ago this June and spewed a bunch of rhetoric about fixing the team and since then, all we’ve heard from him have mainly been stories about “unbalanced payrolls”, “tough competition” and “organizational re-structuring” that has all been top-secret-code for: We’re not winning anytime soon.
I’ll give Buck Showalter FULL credit for something he said on Saturday – in front of MacPhail – that nearly made Andy pull his sweater vest over his head.
“I don’t want to hear about the Red Sox or the Yankees. I don’t care about them. We just have to go out and take care of OUR business.”
God bless ya, Buck.
I’m sure he’s as tired of hearing Andy complain about those two teams as we are with seeing their fans take over our stadium 18 times a season.
It has gotten plenty old.
But if Buck is going to make good (…continued)