Staying the Course and a Visit To Wrigleyville…

June 30, 2008 |

Despite the Orioles taking the Cubs series at Wrigley Field & almost doing the same this weekend in Washington, the Baltimore team to repeat again and again has been a pleasant surprise.

With the loss yesterday in Washington, they are currently 41-39, two games over .500 and are 7.5 games out of the AL East lead, but most fans would be fooling themselves if they thought Baltimore was a contending team.

I don’t want to sound crass, rude or raining on the parade — but the reality is that the Orioles are playing way above their heads.

Despite Huff, Roberts, and Markakis’ numbers, the fact remains this team has a lot of holes — (i.e., shortstop — Brandon Fahey possibly starting??), an inconsistent starting staff staffed by mostly youngsters, and a lineup stuff devoid of power.

If the Orioles are still contention by the All-Star break, Andy MacPhail should wheel and deal — for the future — not to contend for a pennant. As much I would love to see the team in the playoffs, the fact of the matter is, this still is probably not even halfway through their rebuilding job.

This notion might be unpopular, but if we have to deal one of our key guys (outside of Markakis and Roberts), it should be done if we can get quality in return. We need a shortstop, more pitching, a power bat, an offensive first baseman and more for the future.

Again, don’t be fooled by Baltimore’s record. We may be above water, and Oriole Magic may be back; it may be brief.

The organization still needs to be overhauled, and the goal of the Orioles should be winning for tommorrow, building a core, and creating a solid system from the majors to the minors — not for the 2008 stretch run.

Don’t be swayed by the record right now, Andy MacPhail must stay the course.

The winning is nice, but we have to be realistic.

***

Before I go, I took a road trip to catch the Orioles take on the Cubs in their first trip ever to Wrigley Field last week. It made the rtip so much sweeter to see the Birds take two out of three from the mighty Cubs, but my journey was made much more by people of Chicago.

I’ll say, I have nothing but respect for the Cubs fans and how the majority of them treated us from Birdland. They did a great job in making us welcome, by chatting with us, and conversing in baseball; however, they showed incredible passion for their team, and their ballpark — just beautiful, pristine, and full of life.

And of course, Wrigley — what a gem.

In a day where ballparks have emulated rock concerts or stuff you’d see in the NBA, it was nice to see a park use minimalist bells and whistles to get the crowd going.

Their ballpark is simple — you focus on eyes on the game, the crowd, and not the exploding fireworks, a large LCD screen, and things to do otherwise than watch the game.

Simply put, you know you’re there to watch baseball, unlike another park I was at this weekend.I appreciated that at Wrigley, and that’s why I put it in the upper echelon of ballparks I have ever visited.

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