In hitting the second walk-off home run of his career, Brian Roberts sent notice to baseball, his teamates, and most importantly the fans that this wasn’t over yet. Not by a long shot. Thus far in 2010, the O’s have almost been accessories to the accomplishments of other teams. We’ve seen 11th hour walk-off homers against the O’s, clutch hitting, celebrations (many of which I would say were bush league), and many other things. I suppose it even got to the point to where teams knew that something fluky would happen in their favor that would propel them to victory, whether it was a ball hitting the bag and being fair, an infield error, or even a bad call that would go against the Orioles. One way or the other, their every desire always seemed to be granted when they’d play the O’s.
In last night’s series finale against the Chicago White Sox, that same potion seemed to be brewing when Paul Konerko hit a solo home run off of Alfredo Simon in the 9th inning knotting the ballgame at two. Common sense dictated that the Orioles would probably find some way to blow the game, whether that meant that Simon would give up another run that inning, or Chicago would win it in extras. Sure enough, the White Sox had runners at the corners in the top of the 10th, only to have Matt Albers induce a Carlos Quentin grounder to third to end the inning. (I might add that MLB Network could at least try to cover up the fact that they felt Quentin beat the throw to first base, even though replays were pretty conclusive to the contrary.) So in the last of the 10th, Brian Roberts stepped to the plate…
…and promptly sent a 1-0 pitch towering towards Charles Street! While the ball didn’t make it quite that far, it went over the scoreboard in right field, which made it a home run. A walk-off home run at that! As he rounded the bases, Brian Roberts reminded us of the concept of Orioles Magic, which was introduced in 1979 on the heels of Doug Decinces’ homer against Detroit at Memorial Stadium. Nothing, and I mean nothing, has gone right for this team in 2010. Granted the O’s have caused a lot of their own problems, however the aspects that they cannot control have all gone against them as well (injuries, bad calls, etc). Now many people appear content to say that they can’t even lose properly because they want the Orioles to get the #1 pick in the draft. I have no yearn to see that, as I want the Orioles to win as many games as they can.
That aside, I think there’s a big difference between the Orioles of 2010, and the Buck Showalter-led Orioles of 2010. Showalter is now 6-1 on the season with the Orioles; much of that is due to a shot in the arm that he perhaps brought into town with him, however he seems to have the team paying closer attention to detail as well. There are many people that might read this and skeptically think that this is all a fluke, and that eventually the Orioles will revert to their old ways. I’m no prophet; for all I know that might happen. However in the past the Orioles have had second half swoons that have hurt them in the standings. Perhaps a second half surge in 2010 might help them to start quickly in 2011. I always knew that the O’s had the talent to win games, it was just a matter of getting everyone healthy at once, and putting everything together. By invoking Orioles Magic last night, Brian Roberts melded the Orioles’ past, present, and future with one swing of the bat. Who knows what the future holds, however the fact remains that winning is a heck of a lot more fun than losing.