Meaningful baseball, in April

April 12, 2011 | John West

I have been saying for years that the first thing I want out of an Oriole baseball season is a meaningful game in August. I’ve looked at the numbers and came to a pretty obvious conclusion. If I want meaningful baseball in August, we need to win some pretty big games early in the year to keep that option alive.

I submit to you that going on the road into NY and then onto Cleveland to play an upstart Indians team, that this 6 game road trip is meaningful baseball, and I am very excited about it.

We all remember the disaster that was the start of last year. This year feels almost like the opposite of that. AND, we are getting killed in the injury department. Let’s run that down…. Jeremy Guthrie has been hospitalized and missed a start. Brian Roberts has been hospitalized, stomach not back, and would have missed a game if that was rained out. Brian Matusz is out until mid-May. J.J Hardy, who has looked good defensively and great in the nine spot, is out 2-3 weeks (hopefully) with something pulled in his mid-section. Free Agent starting pitcher James Duchscherer is hurt and expected to pitch in late April, maybe. Brad Bergeson has a perpetual hurt ego. Koji had arm fatigue, in Spring Training. Vlad has played well but watching him run is as painful as it was to watch Barbaro run his final race. Overall, we are hurt and it is remarkable that we are heading into a critical 3 game series in NY with a 1 game lead over the Yankees.

To continue looking on the bright side of things, the wheels have fallen off the Rays and the Red Sox. The Red Sox have the financial ability to whether this storm and make some changes to probably get back in it, but it is a pretty big hole they are digging themselves into. The Rays are already being rumored to be thinking about some early trades of some of their best talent. This is exactly the kind of start an Oriole fan could have hoped for.

It seems as though the entire Oriole experience has turned around, since Buck has arrived. It is remarkable and it is noticed. This turn around has meant something immediate for Oriole fans, and that’s meaningful baseball in April. I know it isn’t August or September, but if we don’t play well now and win some games we will never get to the games that mean something at the end of the year.

We have 25 games in the next 26 days. 6 against NY and 3 against Boston. The 2011 Orioles have to continue to play good baseball through this next stretch of games. I know I’ll be watching and going to a couple of games. It is very exciting to have Oriole baseball back.