Are any of you really surprised? Really? Come on. This team won 64 games last season and now everyone is up in arms because Mike Gonzalez blows 2 saves? I’ll admit that I do like seeing the passion, but this isn’t the NFL. The Orioles don’t play once a week, they play damn near every night for the next 6 months. Chill out and enjoy the sunshine.
I get it. This team was supposed to be better. This is year 3 of “The Plan” and we want to see results. I’m just as frustrated with 13 years of losing as the next guy, but let’s be honest about what’s gone wrong thus far in 2010.
The Orioles left their bats behind in Sarasota. You just can’t average 3 runs a game in the AL East and expect to be anywhere other than the basement. I went to Opening Day on Friday and when I saw that ragamuffin lineup Toronto rolled out there I thought the O’s would sweep the series, but a blown save and 3 bombs from super scrub Alex Gonzalez took care of that prediction.
Brian Roberts is the O’s spark-plug and he’s out of the lineup for at least 2 weeks. I’m certainly not blaming all of the offensive struggles on Roberts absence, but it sure as hell hasn’t helped things. The silver lining is that Roberts can take the next 2 weeks to heal his abdominal strain as well as his back and return to the lineup ready to produce on 4/24. Of course the team could be 1-17 by that time.
Mike Gonzalez has been atrocious. Gonzalez is a good Major League pitcher. He saved 21 straight games at one point in his career. He has a career ERA pf 2.67 and has averaged nearly 11 Ks per 9 innings. He’ll be fine. The booing that Gonzalez received as he entered the game at Camden Yards on Friday was an embarrassment. I thought I was in Philly for a minute there. Most of the booing was alcohol induced, but it’s never ok to boo one of your own unless he’s not hustling or he’s a dick. Gonzalez has been trying, perhaps too hard, and he seems like a good guy. He deserved better in his “home” debut just as the fans deserved better in the home opener.
All in all I had a great day on Opening Day. My 3 year old son attended his first opener at Camden Yards and he had a great time. The crowd was large and vocal, and like all Opening Day crowds it was over-lubricated. It was nice to see the ballpark full of orange and black clad fans who knew when to cheer, but not when to boo. Also, I had the pleasure of shaking hands with Terps’ Coach Gary Williams on the concourse. Gary is taller than I expected, but he was very gracious as I extended my hand to him. Later we went to the Rusty Scupper and sat at the table next to Dave Trembley and his wife. I resisted the urge to complain about the lineup or Mike Gonzalez and let the man enjoy his meal.