I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a five-year old playing recreational baseball for the Lutherville Timonium program with aspirations to one day being a member of the Baltimore Orioles. Cal Ripken Jr. was my hero and baseball was the most important thing in my life. My summers consisted of family waffle ball games just to buy time until the following spring baseball season. I would do chores around the house to earn whatever money I could so that my dad could take me on my weekend trip to Robbie’s First Base so I could buy packs of baseball cards. If I got any Orioles player in my pack than it was a successful trip even if the card priced at $.10 in the Beckett price guide. I was ten years old and in the 5th grade when my name was called on the intercom system. I walked to the office worried about what I had done because at this time of my life the office was something you wanted no part of. When I looked into the office I saw my dad and little brother and I knew what had happened. My dad had scored his company box seats to opening day at Camden Yards and I got to see MY Baltimore Orioles led by Rick Sutcliff beat the Cleveland Indians. I can still remember playoff baseball when the Orioles were screwed by a twelve year old kid against the Yankees and despite the fact that I had not yet matured through sports fan adolescence it really was special to me. I would never have guessed that the end of Orioles playoff baseball had happened.
I stand here nowat the age of 26 and have suffered through over a decade of losing. The average sports fan thinks that being an Orioles fan today you should be optimistic because the team is loaded in young talent with Nolan Reimold, Chris Tillman, Jake Arietta, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis but I cannot bring myself to optimism because the last time I checked Peter Angelos is still signing the checks in Baltimore. Despite having a lot of talent in our minor league system and even in our big league roster I have a little faith that our front office will spent the money to be successful in the hardest division in all of professional sports. To Peter this is not America’s past time, to Peter this is business. As long as that old demon is cashing checks it doesn’t bother him that the Orioles are currently 20games under .500. Even if this team was close do we really believe Peter Angelos would spend the money it wiuld take to compete with the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees? I definitely do not have faith.
In fact I have lost all faith in this franchise. Three years ago I went to 21 games, two years ago I went to 14 games, last year I went to 7 games, and this year I have been to one game; that one game will be my only game. Friday Night July 31st I took my first trip to Camden Yards of the season and I thought I missed an exit and ended up in Boston. I cannot believe how many Red Sox fans had invaded our city and taking over; heck even the street vendors were wearing Boston hats. Baltimore is no longer a baseball city and we no longer matter. The days of Eddie Murray, Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., Frank Robinson, and Jim Palmer are long over and now the Orioles are among the worst franchises in professional sports. The playoffs are nowhere in site and those fans that think we are one or two players away you are either crazy or those two players are Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle reincarnated. This team is still the disaster or it could be in even worst shape than they were when Jay Gibbons was batting clean up for them. My question is where does it go from here? Can we already predict that no significant free agent will come to Baltimore in the off-season after Mark Teixeira used Baltimore to get the contract he sought from the Yankees? Will the Orioles sign two or three ageing players whose best days were five years ago? Or could this team end up being moved in a decade? My question is Why Not? No longer is this town a “baseball town” as the Ravens are light years away the favorite team in this town. If the losing is going to continue as it seems it will would anyone truely miss the Orioles?