All of these questions and answers add up to a 23-19 record, 3.5 games back of the Yankees in the AL East. Is the sky falling? Absolutely not. But does the immediate future look bright? Not so much.
The unfortunate part for me as a fan is that all of this could have been avoided. No, lighting could not strike twice, but it didn’t have to. The Orioles could have did the unthinkable.
Like spend money…
Like add to the team…
Like conduct themselves as real contenders, actually trying to win baseball games and bring this city a trophy like their neighbors across the street just did…
Instead, everyone in the organization crossed their fingers and hoped everything would stay the same and lightning would strike twice and this same exact group would go on a magic carpet ride all the way to Game 5 of the ALDS just like they did a year ago.
When Buck Showalter was introduced to the Baltimore media for the first time in August of 2010, he made reference to the movie “Braveheart.”
“Have you seen the movie ‘Braveheart’?” Showalter said. “Remember when Mel Gibson’s up on the hill and he’s got all the spears back there and the guys don’t know, and they’re outnumbered like five to one and they’re charging up the hill, and he’s screaming at these guys: ‘Hold! Hold! Hold!’ They’re looking at him like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ Then at some point he goes, ‘Now!’”
Showalter continued: “Pretty good scene, a little bloody. But that’s how it is. I’d like for it to happen tomorrow, or yesterday. But I think when that time is now, I feel real confident that Mr. Angelos and the fans will be there for us. When that is, that’s going to be up to Andy, and at some point I may go, ‘Now.’ I hope that happens.”
He made that same reference after last season.
“It’s always now. It’s always, ‘This gets us a little better.’ You think about how many things in the offseason that we did that people kind of said, ‘OK, Darren O’Day, waiver claim. Luis Ayala, OK, he’s this and that.’ It’s not always the marquee perception of some guy. It’s baseball players. It’s about timing. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that if there’s something that helps us short-term and long-term and Dan thinks that it’s the right move, then … Peter’s the least of our … I think it’s an asset, and it’s a huge asset. It isn’t anything that’s going to be a negative. I can tell you that. He’s enthused, but he was enthused the day I got here. He was frustrated, but believe me, we’re kind of getting into that ‘Braveheart’ mode.”
So, if the Orioles are not yet in “Braveheart mode” after going 93-69 and taking the New York Yankees down to the wire in game 5 of the ALDS, then when exactly are they going to go for it?
The Yankees were going to be down. The Red Sox were going to be down. The Rays traded 40% of their starting rotation and lost B.J. Upton to free agency. The Blue Jays were the favorite in the AL East, even though their team was made of a collection of players that, for the large part, had never won anything in their lives.
Yet the Orioles still sat around and DID NOTHING to upgrade their core of talent. They did not go out and get the big bopper in the middle of the order. They did nothing to go out and get an ace caliber pitcher. They did nothing to add to the bullpen, and they made no effort to go out and trade any of their excess young pitching for some major league ready players that could help this team contend in 2013 and potentially beyond.
Basically, the Orioles lied to us. They told us throughout all the 14 years of losing that when the rebuild was finally over and when they were once again on the verge of becoming a force to be reckoned with in the baseball world, they would go out and spend money and do what was necessary to get the team over the hump.
Last year, the Orioles and Buck Showalter made a valiant climb up that mountain. But once they got there, they just couldn’t get over that hump with their current group of players.
Instead of releasing the spears and going for that mountain top, the Orioles did what we’ve become accustomed to them doing.
Their lack of moves led to a severe lack of depth which is slowly but surely pushing this team back down the mountain of contention.
Lighting is not going to strike twice with this team.
It’s too bad it had to come to that.