The Orioles’ late season surge under Buck Showalter has helped the club avoid record-breaking futility in 2010, and with ten games remaining this season, The Birds will likely avoid 100 losses. Despite this development, the team is once again playing only for moral victories, rather than meaningful ones, as Brian Roberts admitted on the Orioles mouthpiece, I mean flagship, during his interview yesterday.
When asked the last time Roberts felt real energy at Camden Yards, the second baseman and known old guy talked about June 2005.
That’s over five years ago, for those of you keeping score at home. Yes, June 2005, when President Bush was just starting his second term, housing was a “great investment,” Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa were wearing orange, and Brian Roberts was the young guy.
Sure, it was no October 1997, but early 2005 was the closest to an October anything the team experienced during the 00s, and Roberts, their longest-tenured player, has only this brief, heady period to conjure when asked about meaningful baseball at Camden Yards. Eventually, Sammy and Raffy mysteriously lost their power, Roberts and upstanding guy Larry Bigbie went down with injuries, and the club took a complete nosedive, finishing the season . But early 2005, oh, early 2005 was something relatively special.
Brian Roberts can dare to dream about that brief heady period in 2005. I don’t blame him for doing so. As the club wrapped up their season series in Boston by taking two out of three at the surprisingly quiet Fenway Park, the Orioles look like a team poised for something better.
Of course, we’ve seen this movie before. While the team is playing commendably well under their new field general, they are still 61-91 and lucky to stave off a 100 loss season. They’ve got their work cut out for them. To truly become competitive, they several things must happen. The young players have to take another step forward in 2011. That means playing a whole season, not just six weeks, of solid baseball (*cough* Matt Wieters *cough cough*). The corner infield needs to be solidified. And of course, the O’s have to hope that the A.L. East Goliaths don’t decide to buy an entire roster of All-Stars for themselves.
The Orioles will end another season in the cellar. Judged as a whole, their 162 games will not look like an impressive body of work. But there is cause for cautious optimism. This winter, it’s ok for Brian Roberts to dream about early 2005.