Some things never change

September 19, 2008 | Keith Melchior

I recall hearing and reading a lot of comments back in April.

“The Orioles are moving in the right direction”

“Our pitching is stronger this year. Those young arms will come around and improve”

“They will be competitive”

“We’re preparing for 2010”

Well here it is the final 10 games of the season and for an 11th straight season, the Orioles are below the .500 level AND guaranteed a last place finish for the first time in 20 years.

They are not moving in the right direction….unless last place is the direction they wanted to move toward.

The pitching sucked this year..a combined 5.15 staff ERA… ONE pitcher has 10 wins. The closer has had 5 or 6 saves since July and ended up on the DL.

Those young arms….Adam Loewen, Brian Burres, Radhames Liz, Daniel Cabrera, Garrett Olson.. Let’s see… Loewen is trying to play the outfield because he can’t pitch anymore. Burres, Liz and Olson combined to go 22-22 in 67 starts but all had ERA’s over 6. Daniel Cabrera led the league in hit batsmen, was consistently inconsistent, had an ERA over 5 and allowed 300 baserunners in 180 innings. Take away Jeremy Guthrie’s gutty performance all season and the Orioles lose 100 games easily. THREE pitchers had an ERA under 4, THREE… that’s improvement allright..

They were competitive this season, but they couldn’t overcome the lousy pitching efforts game after game. If not for Aubrey Huff having a career year, Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts  remaining rock steady and Melvin Mora’s hot streaks, the Orioles wouldn’t be among the league leaders in batting. When was the last time 3 players had 50 doubles in a season and the team had more than 25 triples?

How can you prepare for 2010 when you have no idea what 2009 is going to be like? Yeah, the pieces of the puzzle may be there, but they are 1 Tommy John surgery, or 1 ACL tear away from repeating last place finishes past 2010.

Alas, the standings don’t lie… 82 losses as of last night, an 11th straight sub 500 season, maybe 10,000 fans in the stands for the last 7 home games. I often hear the quote, “If they Orioles weren’t in the AL East…”  Well, they HAVE been in the AL East since the divisions were created in 1969. They HAVE been in the same division as Boston and New York, They have been in the playoffs a total of 4 times since 1971. That’s 37 years. They have not sniffed the playoffs in 11 years and have not won a championship in 25 years.

Call it futility if you want, but it’s time to take the stink off this team. They may be young and exciting and fun to watch, but they have to win baseball games, and soon. You can’t compete by moving along at a snail’s pace.  I just have a feeling 2010 is going to come and go and the Orioles will still be floundering in the bottom of the AL East and still dreaming to hit the .500 plateau and the team will be in the 14th year of a 4 year rebuilding plan.

I really do want them to win, I want to see OPACY full again (and not with Red Sox and Yankees fans), I want to watch a meaningful baseball game in September, I want to hear the Orioles included in post season predictions.

Is that too much to ask? Not at all. We have been asking for that since 1997 but those requests have fallen on deaf ears.