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Your Monday Reality Check: If not now, when?

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Your Monday Reality Check: If not now, when?

Posted on 30 July 2012 by Glenn Clark

The good news is that no matter what happens before 4pm Tuesday, I won’t have to wear a Hooters outfit anywhere.

That’s good news for all of us.

If the Baltimore Orioles had made a trade “of significance” before our WNST Baltimore Sports Media Superstar finals last week at Hooters, I had pledged to don the whole garb. I was going to show up to the event in the white tank top (with padding), orange booty shorts and tights. (I had a listener ask if I had also agreed to wax, and I said I had. Looking back, I have no idea why I said that.)

Thankfully, the acquisition of INF Omar Quintanilla (even after getting three quarters of the way to hitting for the cycle Sunday) could not be argued as “significant” by much of anyone.

Don’t get the wrong idea. This wasn’t some sort of fetish. I had ZERO interest in donning tights…unless I was given an offer to replace Christian Bale in the next Batman installment. But truth be told I would have happily squeezed into the shorts if it meant Josh Johnson had been pitching against the Oakland Athletics this weekend instead of the San Diego Padres.

Following Sunday’s win over the A’s, the Birds have gone 8-9 since the All-Star Break. They’ve lost 22 of the last 36 games they’ve played overall, but they’re still 53-49 overall and just two games back in the AL Wild Card race.

Quick, back to the negative. The O’s have a -58 run differential for the season and despite being tied for second place in the AL East, ESPN calculates that they have a 6.2% chance of making the postseason. Despite the statistic being meaningless, I figured I’d pass along that the two teams behind the Orioles in the division (the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox) are given an 18% and 21.9% “POFF” respectively by the Worldwide Leader.

Here we are.

I’ve maintained that there’s little way to explain the success of the 2012 Baltimore Orioles as anything other than “an accident”. It hasn’t happened because GM Dan Duquette put together an overwhelming level of talent on the field before the season. It hasn’t happened because the pitching staff matured to a point where the “cavalry” evoked visions of Palmer, Cuellar, McNally and Dobson in Charm City. It hasn’t happened because the lineup has figured out a way to get the one big hit necessary when given the opportunity. It definitely hasn’t happened because the team has stolen runs with good base running and taken away runs with stellar defense.

The only tangible ways to explain the success of the Baltimore Orioles to this point are a stellar bullpen, sound leadership from Buck Showalter and a surprising amount of power lead by CF Adam Jones.

Despite the fact that pitchers like Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Anibal Sanchez, Francisco Liriano and Wandy Rodriguez and capable position players like Ichiro, Hanley Ramirez and Chris Johnson aren’t available anymore, there are plenty of capable players that are.

I do not believe anyone is making smoke and mirrors available however.

(I’ve thought that it would be REALLY funny however if the Birds were to acquire recently demoted Seattle Mariners 1B Justin Smoak and Milwaukee Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez. Get it? “Smoak and Ramirez?” I’m hilarious.)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Season of “Moneyball” begins for Angelos, Duquette, Buck & Orioles of 2012

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Season of “Moneyball” begins for Angelos, Duquette, Buck & Orioles of 2012

Posted on 13 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

The second half of the Baltimore Orioles’ re-awakening 2012 season is about to begin and the local baseball fans are a bit befuddled by it all.

As a Baltimore sports fan, I’m never allergic to exciting wins and a 12-game over .500 start to any baseball season. We’ve seen a manager who not only channels Earl Weaver in his size, stature and mannerisms but also with shrewd use of role players and borderline big leaguers. It’s been three months of watching guys who are trying hard no matter who is called up from Norfolk or who hits the disabled list. We’ve witnessed the blossoming of a true superstar in Adam Jones, who signed a record contract in mid-May against all previous precedent given by the Angelos family.

And, for the first time since 1997, this version of the Baltimore Orioles has stirred fans’ awareness – if not necessarily their emotions or beliefs – that this could be a dog-days-of-summer presentation that will bare watching as the fellows in the purple sweaters practice in Owings Mills in two weeks.

But here’s the problem: the 2012 Baltimore Orioles roster — as currently assembled on July 13th — is either in parts of tatters, simply unproven or just flat-out stinks.

I’ve been watching baseball for 40 years and I can’t think of any situation that compares to this.

The 2012 Baltimore Orioles are 45-40, now just five games over .500. However, if the season ended today they’d be in the playoffs. It’s officially the second half of the season – I watched the All-Star Game on Tuesday night even if none of the rest of you did – and the Orioles have a legitimate chance to play at least one postseason baseball game in October.

In the new Bud Selig fantasy world of more October baseball and profit, the Orioles are truly contenders in a way we couldn’t have imagined in March and haven’t seen since the Clinton administration. And no one else in the American League East looks to be galvanized to go on a tear, either.

Meanwhile the young guns of Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter are all in Norfolk after repeated self-inflicted shots into the bleachers after a series of “Ball Ones” and long, hot innings of ineffectiveness and blown leads.

The now-rested bullpen will attempt to continue to atone for the sins of the many failed starts over the past eight weeks.

The offense is in tatters. Despite the trade for a post-40 Jim Thome – yet another acquisition a player who is in the December of his career ala Sammy Sosa and Vladimir Guerrero — the Orioles are at least making some attempt to get to October after such an encouraging start.

Will Brian Roberts be a factor in the second half? Is Nick Markakis fully healed from his hamate bone injury? Can J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters provide more offense in the second half? Is Xavier Avery a star or just another so-so-outfielder from the Orioles’ depth chart?

There are far more questions than answers heading into the second season of baseball.

The Orioles have been irrelevant for 15 years. This year it appears we’ll have the first-ever Ravens’ training camp opening where the orange team will be the ones making summer headlines.

Will they trade? Who will they trade? What will they get?

One thing we know: trades for legitimate pitchers and hitters who can help the Orioles will not only cost some prospects but will involve large sums of money to pay these proven

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