If the Red Sox actually do jump out of the Teixeira sweepstakes, does it stop being news?
Regardless of how the Mark Teixeira derby plays out over the next few days or weeks, from my perspective at least, the entire process is a microcosm of why it simply sucks to be an Oriole fan, or a baseball fan in general for that matter.
This was supposed to be the off-season that we, as Orioles’ fans, were looking forward to. By 2008 we all thought, the MASN money would be rolling in, the O’s would be out from under a number of inflated contracts, and there would coincidentally be a couple of potential free agents with some natural Baltimore ties that the team might be able to entice into coming here.
Instead, this off-season is quickly becoming another in which O’s fans will be put to the test once again as only the most myopic among us could be even moderately hopeful about the future if the Red Sox were to sign Mark Teixeira. And let me also clarify by saying that I never really wanted Teixeira or AJ Burnett for that matter either, in the first place.
Given where the Orioles are in their rebuilding process right now, and also given the relative power of the rest of the division, I really don’t see the team as being one or two players away from competing for the division, even if that player is an all world, switch hitting first baseman with both Gold Glove and Silver Slugger credentials. In fact, if anything, spending money to add another bat to an already potent offensive lineup while ignoring glaring pitching needs seems awfully “Yankee-like” to me.
With all of that said however, the O’s have thrown their hats into the ring for the Teixeira bidding, and to see him sign elsewhere now would clearly be another in a long line of Orioles losses both on and off of the field. And because of the way that it’s playing out, I and many other Orioles fans, will likely walk away from this even more frustrated than if the O’s had simply abstained from the bidding in the first place. For my money, the way that this thing is going is simply another illustration of what’s wrong with baseball, and particularly with the Orioles.
Hometown or not, getting Mark Teixeira to accept a contract to come to Baltimore would involve somehow convincing him to ignore the 800 pound gorillas in the room. Signing a deal to play in Baltimore for the next 6-10 years would indicate one of two things about Mark Teixeira. Either he’s extremely optimistic about the O’s chances for turning things around in the AL East, despite the spending power of both the Yankees and Red Sox, in addition to the stockpile of talent that the Rays have at their current disposal. Or it means that Teixeira is simply doesn’t care much about winning.
If you listen to the media, the O’s are only in the bidding for the sake of saying that they made a run at it anyway. Outside of Baltimore it seems that the media has been all but dismissive about the O’s prospects of landing Teixeira. But that’s the way it goes in Bristol I suppose. If it’s not Yankees or Red Sox, it’s back page news, which I’d think has to play in the minds of players too on some level.
The last time I checked, there were at least 4 teams bidding for the services of Teixeira, yet if you watch the sports news, it’s the Red Sox have a deal that’s eminent, then the Red Sox are out of the bidding, and then maybe the Red Sox are back in the bidding. It would seem it’s only a matter of time before Teixeira’s agent is able to leverage someone against the Red Sox in order to get the deal that he wants, from the team that he probably wanted to play for all along.
Soxeira is a grudge match for me as an O’s fan now, and I have a feeling we’re going to come out on the losing end again. Maybe the O’s were never really in serious contention in the first place.
The O’s and serious contention probably don’t belong in the same sentence anyway. And based on the way that things seem to be playing out, neither do Teixeira and O’s fan. You can call him a hometown kid, you can say that he grew up following the O’s, but you can never call him an O’s fan again. Teixeira could get money and a chance to compete in any number of places; it would particularly hurt if he winds up in Boston.