Opening night aftermath: O’s fans already losing touch with reality

April 07, 2010 | Drew Forrester

It’s funny what 12 years of losing will do to people.

One of the worst by-products of losing is it eventually disables even the most rational fan’s ability to analyze wins and losses with the proper amount of perspective.

It sure didn’t take long for the orange faithful to dive off the deep end in 2010.

In fact, it only took one game.

Tuesday night in Tampa Bay, the O’s squandered a batch of scoring opportunities that would eventually come to back to haunt them in a 4-3 loss to the Rays.  Mike Gonzalez wore the goat’s horns at the end of the night, as he coughed up three straight hits in the 9th inning, including the game-winning belt from Carl Crawford.  There were certainly positive elements to the loss — and plenty of negatives, too.

Somehow, someway, after 12 years of losing, we’re still supposed to give the O’s a free pass when detailing the manner in which they once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

This guy’s not giving them a free pass, that’s for sure.

I like baseball for a variety of reasons, from a sports-talk standpoint.  The main issue, for me, is you have 162 games to discuss, breakdown and evaluate.  Football only gives you 16 such opportunities.  Baseball gives you 10 times that many.

That makes for fun, interesting and often times, engaging sports talk on the air and in cyberspace.

For some reason, though, the Orange Faithful Flock think ANYTIME you criticize the team, you’re just bashing for the sake of bashing.

Wrong.

At least in my case, anyway.

I analyze every game the same way.

What went right?  What went wrong?  What role did the manager play?  What about individual player performances?

Last time I checked, that’s what being a fan is all about.  We watch the games, we talk about the games.

For my money, Dave Trembley had a puzzling night on Tuesday.  It was a mistake to bring Kevin Millwood out for the 6th inning.  I said it then and I’ll say it again, now.  I’m not sure who called for the “go on contact” play in the top of the 9th with runners on first and third with no one out, but if Dave Trembley signaled for Garrett Atkins and that piano on his back to try and score from third, he deserves to be beat up for that call too.

That’s what we do.  We watch the moves the manager makes – or doesn’t, in some cases – and we evaluate them.

I’d have a better idea of what Trembley thinks in certain situations if I were allowed to speak with him, but I’m not.  The club has made it essentially impossible for me to cover the team.  So I just do what you do.  I watch the games on TV and see what Trembley does and then guess as to what he was thinking in whatever situation we’re evaluating.

If his moves work, we say “way to go”.

If they don’t, we say “Trembley could have done it a different way”.

That’s not “being negative”.

It’s not “piling on”.

It’s not “bashing the team”.

It’s called watching the game and then reacting to what we saw.

If you’re not man (or woman) enough to be handle the discussion after a loss, you might be better served to just brush your teeth, slip on your orange PJs, and hit the sack.

We’re going to talk about the games at WNST and WNST.net all spring, summer and fall.

I’d like to talk about more WINS than LOSSES, but I’m not holding out much hope for that.

During and after every game, we’ll be reacting and opining both on my show and here at WNST.net.

Mike Gonzalez deserved criticism last night.  His job – as the closer – is to “close out” the game when his team has the lead.

He was woefully inept last night.

That’s one night.

Tonight he might very well strike out the side in the 9th inning while protecting a 5-4 lead.  If he does, we’ll say “that was some good pitching” in our post-game evaluation.

But when someone botches a ground ball, or fails to advance the runner, or throws to the wrong base — or can’t get three guys out in the 9th inning as the closer — then we all have the right to offer our opinion on those misdeeds.

It doesn’t make us mean spirited.  Or bad people.  Or “bashers”.

Some of you people out there need to get a grip on reality.  The reality of sports is your team wins some, they lose some and we talk about ALL of them.

But the whining after last night’s game was laughable.

“WNST sucks” — “F.U. guys at WNST” — “All you do at WNST is spew negativity”

What a bunch of pissers and moaners.

When the team plays well and wins, we all celebrate in those triumphs.

When the team doesn’t play well and loses, we have the right to point out “why and how” it happened.

If you can’t handle that, you’re not really a fan.

You’re just a supporter of the team.

And that’s OK, too.  The team needs as many athletic supporters as it can get.

By the way, all told now, I’ve purchased 28 tickets to the home opener on Friday.

I’m essentially a stock holder in the Orioles now, with my money firmly invested in the organization.

I can say whatever the hell I want.

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