It’s July 29th. The Baltimore Ravens are in training camp preparing to defend their 2011 AFC North Division title, and look to erase the heartbreak that ended their 2011 season in New England, in the AFC Championship Game.
But there is something else in the air. Something different. Something not see around these parts in quite a long time. And it’s something that has nothing to do with our beloved football team.
Our Baltimore Orioles, at the end of July, are in the thick of a playoff race in the American League.
Not since 1997 have the Birds been this far over .500 this late in the season. Not since 1997 have they had this kind of opportunity at the AL postseason. And not since 1997 have they bridged the gap for us long starving Baltimore sports fans, between opening day, and the beginning of training camp. Usually, by mid-June the Orioles have wandered into their usual spot near the bottom of the division, and left us with more then a month before we could engulf ourselves in training camp, and Baltimore Ravens’ football. A little perspective on this year’s Orioles, the last time the team was relevant, this late in the year was 1997. Personally, here are a few tidbits into how long it has been since we had real baseball in this town: In 1997…
— My son, who is 12 and loves the Birds, was still 3 years away from birth.
— I had yet to meet my wife, whom I have been married to for 13 years.
— I was in year 2 of a law enforcement career that in December will see me reach year 17
— I was 3 years removed from High School. My 20th reunion is in 2 years.
So the fact that our Birds have managed to stay relevant, with a realistic shot at a possible wild card berth this late in the season, is something we can all get excited for. What happens from here on in, is anyone’s guess. But it’s almost August, and the Orioles are still playing meaningful baseball. With the Purple Birds in camp, and the first preseason game just two weeks away, what more could we ask for?