If the O’s finish last, does it really matter?

September 04, 2007 | Drew Forrester

I know that question might sound a little like “if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it … does it still make a sound?”

Or something like that.

But as the O’s finish off the ’07 season and cap off this now-confirmed “decade of despair”, what’s going to happen if they choke away this lock on 4th place and wind up finishing dead last in the American League East?

Will anyone care if that happens?

Right now, after tonight’s 9-7 loss in Tampa — by the way, that Carlos Pena home run in the 7th inning just came down about 30 seconds ago — the O’s are 59-77 and the Rays are 57-81. Fresh off of winning two of three in the Bronx, Tampa Bay looks like finishing in 4th might really matter to them. Carl Crawford sure looked like he cared tonight when he went whack-job after a blown call at first base in the 3rd inning. Anyway, Tampa appears to care right now.  The O’s don’t.

So the question is, do YOU still care about the end of the season? What if the remaining month of September yields only, say, 9 wins (it COULD happen, by the way) and the Birds finish 68-94 and the surging D-Rays wind up at 70-92? What then?

I don’t know. I’m asking YOU. Does a last place ’07 matter to you?

Oh, nearly forgot to mention this: everyone in attendance at Tropicana Field got 2,500 frequent flyer miles added to their account based on how far Carlos Pena’s home run traveled off of Jim Hoey. Even Hoey gets 2,500 extra miles. What a country, huh?

And the $64,000 question is: Do the Orioles care if they finish in last?  4th place, 5th place … what’s it matter? I don’t know. I’m wondering aloud here — does it matter to them?  Should it matter? I mean, devil’s advocate here … what does it mean if you finish 4th vs. finishing 5th? They certainly don’t look like it matters right now. Then again, they’re trying to win games with guys like J.R. House, Jim Hoey, Radhammes Liz and Tike Redman. No offense to those cats — hell, for all we know, they might be on the 25-man roster next spring — but Harry Potter didn’t seem too worried about House and Redman on Saturday when he threw that no-hitter in Boston and Hoey and Liz haven’t looked like they’re in their element in their respective short stints in the majors.

So, in a weird kind of way, maybe the Orioles DON’T care if they finish last. They had to start Kurt Birkins tonight, for cryin’ out loud. But I really wonder if finishing in last is an issue for Andy MacPhail, Dave Trembley, etc. And I wonder if it matters to Millar, Tejada, Roberts, Patterson, etc.

I don’t think the fans care.

This just in: Carlos Pena’s home run ball had to make an emergency landing at Tampa Bay Int’l Airport tonight … all 130 passengers on board were uninjured.

If the players don’t care. And management doesn’t care. And the fans don’t care.

Then I guess finishing in last place isn’t that big of a deal after all.

Here’s one guy who’d rather see us finish in 4th place, actually.

Why?

Remember the phrase: “Nice guys finish last”?

You figure it out.

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