Tag Archive | "playoffs"

Flacco - cameron

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One Down – One More to Go

Posted on 12 December 2012 by Tom Federline

First, let me get this out of my system………12-12-12. 10-10-10 (no, not the fertilizer – good stuff though), 11-11-11, pretty cool. Today is the last time we’ll be able to write the same number sequence for the month-day-year in our lifetime. The world hasn’t ended yet or is that like in 9 days? 12-12-12. 12-12-12. I dig it. 

“One down” – it’s about time. “Talk to ya Later” – (The Tubes) – Camera Cameron. See ya! Adios! Sayonara! Go repress another teams offense. You are done stifling the Ravens. Now, “one more to go” – if they would only get rid of Horribaugh. Whoa, asking for way to much at once for that one. Savor the moment and enjoy it. I did! If you have been following this blog and/or know me………..I am not a fan of Camera Cameron or John Horribaugh. For 3 years, I have expressed my concerns, hoping for a change. Well, we sure got one on Monday. Thank you Ravens front office (2 years to late though). 

Finally, let Flacco run the show. Jim Caldwell – all you should have to do is steer the boat. All Flacco has to do is go head to head, mano-y-mano against possibly one of the better field generals in football history this coming Sunday. Embrace it Joseph. It’s your time to shine. Your time to cash in. Your time to add a zero on a new long term contract. Nobody there to hold you down.

 Cameron is not the sole reason, the Ravens haven’t made it to the Promised Land these past few years. But he sure has assisted in delaying success. I never brought into the “We have a plan for Ray Rice.” Or “We have to be selective in our down field chances.” Or  – I’m calling this game in a matter so that I won’t lose my job. All I saw were missed opportunities. Hello Ravens front office, you may have waited to long and you may have squandered precious time with your veterans, i.e. Matt Birk, Ray-Ray, Ed Reed, etc. The Ravens had and have a loaded potential offense. Now let’s hope it’s recognized. 

 Will Mr. Blue Hen finally emerge from his feathers? Does he have “next level leadership qualities” in him? Guess we’re going to find out real quick. Sunday ought to be quite interesting. A win on Sunday – huge, a springboard to the playoffs. A loss on Sunday – realization the Ravens just aren’t that good. And they really aren’t – the defense can get lit up like a Christmas tree and the right guy is coming to town to do it. Can the Ravens offense go toe-to-toe with Peyton Manning? You’re darn right they can. Can the Ravens offense go toe-to-toe with Eli Manning? You’re darn right they can. MINUS Camera Cameron they have a legit shot.

Now with Horribaugh still on the sideline without his “partner in crime”, that’s a whole different story. Ten bucks says his lost puppy mug will look even more bewildered. Keep riding Ray-Rays coat tails Johnny, in fact let Ray-Ray coach and you just watch. Easy now……..I’m asking to much. I should just  be grateful that I have one less pillow to throw at the television on Sunday. No more flings at Cam Camerons’ mug or 1/2 mug behind a worthless play calling script. Come on Joe Cool – we got your back.

Baltimore, we have received an early Holiday present. One less thorn in the Ravens nest. Be thankful. You never know, we may receive another gift on Sunday –  Flacco shines, Caldwell shines, Horribaugh breaks down and requests advice from Ray Lewis on the sidelines, a win and clinch a playoff spot. Might as well ask for the whole ball of wax, when you have the chance. I really only need enough wax to make a small Ravens Christmas candle. Wait-a-minute, we already have received our second present – that Peyton Manning guy won’t be in a Baltimore Colts uniform! Good Luck Ravens, you’re gonna need it.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Ravens Loss is No Big Deal

Posted on 03 December 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

There’s plenty of blame to go around in the aftermath of the Ravens loss on Sunday at the hands of the Steelers, and I’m quite certain we’ll be assessing that blame and going over the shortcomings of the team for the majority of this week on the airwaves and blogosphere at WNST.net. In the grander scheme of things however, this should have been an easy outcome to predict. It can be simplified as easy as the following; the Ravens had little to play for on Sunday and the Steelers had everything to play for.

Knowing what we know about both of those teams, we should have known enough. Ravens and Steelers has been universally recognized as football’s best current rivalry and for some the best rivalry in sports period. That legacy didn’t begin with Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger; they just made it more interesting. For the last 12 years at least, through Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright and Jeff Blake and Troy Smith, through Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon and Byron Leftwich, the Ravens vs. the Steelers has been, more often than not, a slugfest decided by a minimal number of points in the latest stages of the game. There was no reason to guess that this one would be any different.

 

A loss would have dropped the Steelers to 6-6 and put a serious damper on their playoff hopes. It wasn’t exactly do or die for Pittsburgh, but it’s about as close as it gets in week 13 of the NFL season. For the Ravens however, a win didn’t mean much. A win over the Steelers, coupled with a Bengals loss at San Diego would have cemented the AFC North for the Ravens, but for all intents and purposes the Ravens are the AFC North champions. Whether it became official in week 13 or has to wait until week 16 or 17, it’s near impossible to imagine the Ravens not winning the division.

 

A win on Sunday would have had the Ravens playing the Broncos in Week 15 with the second seed in the AFC and a first round bye in the balance. A loss on Sunday has still left the Ravens looking ahead to a week 15 showdown with the Broncos with the second seed in the AFC and a first round bye in the balance. All Sunday’s loss vs. the Steelers did for the Ravens was to delay their inevitable clinching of their own division, and to serve internal notice that there’s still work to be done.

 

The Steelers played like a team that needed desperately to win on Sunday; that’s because they were a team desperate to win on Sunday. Pittsburgh, coming off of two consecutive losses (in their own division no less) is left with no choice but to embrace the remainder of the season with a playoff caliber of urgency. The Ravens on the other hand had nothing really to gain from a win on Sunday, and they also played just that way. Assuming that the Texans can’t be caught, as I think most do, the Ravens could afford to lose one of their final 5 games and still hold onto their second spot in the AFC as long as that loss didn’t come against Denver. Now they’ve lost it and restored a sense of urgency (hopefully) to the remainder of the season.

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Bring Out Your Dead

Posted on 24 October 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Inspired by the scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” where the body cart is being pushed through the city during the plague as the mortician cries “Bring Out Your Dead”. As one man ambitiously tries to deliver a not quite dead elderly man to the cart hilarity ensues. Here’s a look at who’s being (or has been) written off for dead in the sports world, and what the final prognosis might be.

“I’m Not Dead Yet” – Despite reports to the contrary these guys are not dead yet, but may have one foot in the proverbial grave and another on a banana peel.

 

Cam Newton – Superman has become the Super-Sulker but he’s not dead yet, not by a long shot. Still there are plenty of reasons to be concerned. Newton’s post-loss body language has been unbearable. We can all appreciate that the kid wants to win, but he’ll have to do some growing up before he can become a leader of men. Cam took everyone (including himself) to task in the wake of the Panthers most recent defeat, but mostly seemed to point fingers at his offensive coordinator. Newton is looking for a game plan that authors blowouts but will sooner or later have to learn that life in the NFL doesn’t work that way. In 3 of his 5 losses this season, Cam has had the ball in his hands with a chance to win the game in the final 5 minutes. If he intends to be the star he’s being cast as, he’ll need to get comfortable in those situations. It’d also help if Newton stopped shaking off teammates’ efforts to celebrate TDs with him while clearing out space to do his ridiculous Superman dance.

 

 

Cam Cameron – Sticking with Cams, reports of the demise of Cam Cameron might be a byproduct of Ravens fans wishes more than anything else. In the wake of the Ravens most recent disappointment against the Houston Texans however, another long and introspective look at this offense might be long overdue. Cameron was “under fire” by owner Steve Bisciotti last season and managed to survive. There’s no reason to believe the Ravens will make a change before seasons end, but in the event that it doesn’t end in the Super Bowl, this season could very likely be Cameron’s last.

 

Maurice Jones-Drew – Remember MJD calling out Jay Cutler a couple of seasons ago for surrendering during the playoffs due to an MCL injury that didn’t look that serious on TV and didn’t require surgery. Last week in a game the Jaguars lost in overtime to a less than spectacular Oakland Raiders squad, MJD watched from the sidelines while nursing a foot injury that didn’t look that serious on TV and that apparently won’t require surgery. This on the heels of his extended and controversial holdout from training camp while trying to earn a new contract or force a trade won’t buy Jones-Drew much empathy as he watches from the sidelines for the next couple of weeks at least.

 

Lance Armstrong – Maybe the Lance Armstrong fiasco will give us a long overdue chance to examine ourselves. He lorded over a sport that was rampant with doping and drug use, and while he adamantly proclaimed being above it throughout his once storied and undeniably dominant career. Now having given up the fight and having been stripped of all of his career accolades Armstrong also finds that those who rode his coattails to success and fortune aren’t set to stand by him in the hard times. It’s still impossible to ignore all of the good that Armstrong has done in his career, and it seems only a matter of time before he’ll inevitably bounce back in the court of public opinion…but it doesn’t look like it’ll be terribly easy, or any time soon for that matter.

 

Dirk Nowitzki – Just as the world was ready to close the book on the legacy of Dirk Nowitzki he surprised everyone and cemented that legacy by winning an NBA championship. He backed it up however by showing up for a lockout shortened NBA season the following year out of shape, and now looks ready to miss at least the first few weeks of this season as he recovers from ankle surgery. It may now be safe to close the book on Nowitzki’s NBA legacy. It appears he got that title just in the nick of time.

 

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Ray-Ray 10-13-12

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Season(s) Silenced

Posted on 16 October 2012 by Tom Federline

SO, you may ask yourself – How did I get here? Or you may ask yourself – what teams season is he talking about? Or you may find yourself – in a state of limbo? In the matter of one weekend – the Orioles season/playoff run was halted and the Ravens season/playoff run is looking dim. The Orioles bats were silenced and the Ravens “Defense” chant was silenced. Markakis was silenced with a season ending injury. Ray-Ray is silenced with a season ending injury. What the heck is going on Baltimore? Orioles Magic, Ravens Hopes – On such a high – then silenced. It has “Been Such a Longtime” – (Boston), since Baltimore has had TWO winning teams – we forgot what it felt like. At least I did – until the O’s beat Texas!

I’m not kidding you, that Friday evening when the O’s clinched, I felt a warm a summer breeze and I was inside. I got a warm feeling that I hadn’t felt since 1983. The Orioles won and they won with what I thought had been lost –  passion for the game. The O’s had it and the A’s had it. Unfortunately they are both out and the money teams win.  ’96 and ’97 was nice – but they bought it. In ’83 – they wanted it, like they did like this year. Some stars mixed in with some guys just stepping up. I could write a book about this season and more Os’ blogs will follow, SO – let’s stick with the present. 

Orioles bats silenced. Nate McClouth – bless you. 1 out of 15 bats is not going to advance you to the next round of the playoffs. I was and still am tired of hearing – “Oh, it was such a well pitched series.” Oh, it was so exciting.” “Oh, they were in every game.” “Oh, the Yankees were not hitting either.” WRONG – you are paid to put the bat on the ball. Not nine guys fanning the stands, not two games of cooled off bats, not FIVE games of no hitting, not in the playoffs. Did they run out of juice? Come on Brady – we know you have connections. The O’s bats were certainly not being used to hit the ball, they might as well have just used them as spears…………….wait-a-minute………….

Luckily, Joba “the hut” Chamberlain was not speared, but the Weiters flying bat head did accidently take him out of the game.

The Ravens defense needs help. With Webb out, Ray-Ray out and Ngatas knee on the brink – there needs to be some serious gut checking in that locker room. I was at the game Sunday – there were moments of raucous cheers – but for the most part – silence,, Fans were just in awe of watching the Ravens defense get torched. DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE…… where? Ray-Ray retiring? Ray Lewis not on the field for the Ravens (as a player)? You see – what did you just do? There was a silent pause there, wasn’t it?

This guy will be missed and not just by Baltimore.

Last week with the O’s was rough. Now this week, with the news of one the greatest football players in our lifetime possibly calling it a career, just got a little rougher. I can tell you one thing – Camden Yards that infamous Sunday evening after the 2 hour and 40 minute rain delay was by NO means – silent. Put aside the weather and outcome of the game – it was a pleasure to experience Baltimore baseball the way it used to be – at Memorial Stadium. Oriole baseball fans at their best. All we needed was hope. Thank you Buck-Buck. Thank you O’s. The countdown towards Spring training has begun.

Baltimore fans – are silenced – for the time being. Adjustments have to be made. Get used to not seeing one of the greatest linebackers and respected  motivational leaders of all-time on the field. The Ravens have an offense (minus a coordinator) and a mediocre defense. The Orioles are contenders. The O’s lost focus at the wrong time this year – they will be back. Clear out a drawer and a portion of the closet for Orange attire. And as for the winter – I would advise buying some Terp basketball gear – mens and womens. Me thinks Ms. Frese and that’s Turgeon with a capitol “T”, have it going on in College Park.

Baltimore sports fans will not be silenced long. The O’s run was special – it was one heckuva late summer. The Ravens – let’s just say need a boast. The Terps BBall – I have to say it – Buckle Up. We are a good sports town – we deserve a winning atmosphere.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

 

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Join us on WNST Miller Lite Roadtrip to The Bronx (Game 4 Thursday)

Posted on 05 October 2012 by WNST Trips

Join the WNST crew as we we take our first-ever Baltimore baseball playoff roadtrip to New York to see the Birds battle the Pinstripers in The Bronx on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012.

THIS IS FOR GAME 4!!! If the game is NOT played, we will issue full refunds!!!

WNST has been in existence since 1998. We’ve taken more than 11,000 Baltimore sports fans on roadtrips over the years and we’ve NEVER taken a playoff October on-the-road-to-the-Series trip until now!

We’re very excited about the opportunity to see meaningful baseball at Yankee Stadium in the fall!

Our WNST orange charter bus will depart White Marsh Mall  seven (7) hours before game time to ensure that we arrive in time to savor the rare opportunity. We’ll provide transportation to and from The Bronx.

Our trip will return 45 minutes after the last out and we should be back in Baltimore three hours later.

WNST Miller Lite Orange Playoff Trip with “Crabs & Beer” To The Bronx includes:

Roundtrip motorcoach transportation provided by Gunther Motorcoach

One outfield seat to THURSDAY, OCT. 11th — GAME 4 if necessary

A limited supply of Miller Lite, soda and light snacks

Classic baseball videos to enjoy all of the October memories

Fun & games on the bus with prizes and trivia

A full two-hour pre-game tailgate with legendary, softball-sized Box Hill crab cakes, salads and all the trimmings.

PRICING:

COMPLETE TRIP (w/upper deck reserved game ticket): $215.70

BUS TRIP ONLY (ride, food, beer, NO GAME TICKET): $115.70

Game 3
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Join us on WNST Miller Lite Roadtrip to The Bronx (Game 5 Friday)

Posted on 05 October 2012 by WNST Trips

Join the WNST crew as we we take our first-ever Baltimore baseball playoff roadtrip to New York to see the Birds battle the Pinstripers in The Bronx on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.

THIS IS FOR GAME 5!!! If the game is NOT played, we will issue full refunds!!!

WNST has been in existence since 1998. We’ve taken more than 11,000 Baltimore sports fans on roadtrips over the years and we’ve NEVER taken a playoff October on-the-road-to-the-Series trip until now!

We’re very excited about the opportunity to see meaningful baseball at Yankee Stadium in the fall!

Our WNST orange charter bus will depart White Marsh Mall seven hours before game time to ensure that we arrive in time to savor the rare opportunity. We’ll provide transportation to and from The Bronx.

Our trip will return 45 minutes after the last out and we should be back in Baltimore three hours later.

WNST Miller Lite Orange Playoff Trip with “Crabs & Beer” To The Bronx includes:

Roundtrip motorcoach transportation provided by Gunther Motorcoach

One outfield seat to FRIDAY, OCT. 12th — GAME 5 if necessary

A limited supply of cold Miller Lite, soda and light snacks

Classic baseball videos to enjoy all of the October memories

Fun & games on the bus with prizes and trivia

A full two-hour pre-game tailgate with legendary, softball-sized Box Hill crab cakes, salads and all the trimmings.

PRICING:

COMPLETE TRIP (w/upper deck reserved game ticket): $240

BUS TRIP ONLY (ride, food, beer, NO GAME TICKET): $115.70

Game 3
Mobile contact #

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Flacco ready to Buckle Up in support of Baltimore Orioles

Posted on 04 October 2012 by WNSTV

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Orioles Magic and 666: The Number of The East

Posted on 27 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been six years and six days since we launched the “Free The Birds” campaign to speak out about the awfulness that the Baltimore Orioles had become under the stewardship of Peter G. Angelos. Coincidentally, today the Orioles “magic number” to clinch a playoff berth in the American League is 6.

It’s absolutely astonishing that we’re going to the Ravens’ fourth game of the season tonight and the Baltimore Orioles are playing meaningful baseball games every night. It’s almost awkward and overwhelming, the energy we’re all feeling for sports in our community.

So as 70,000 gather downtown and bring the purple love for the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens on national television, has all been forgiven and “fixed” according to the customers of the Baltimore Orioles?

If you’re counting the tens of thousands of empty seats this “Orioles Magic” show has played for over the last month you’ll see that the franchise and the 2012 Orioles still have a long way to go to undo the untold damage to the psyche of its own fan base. Even worse, there are many potential baseball fans who are unaware – or uninterested – in coming back to the ballpark and soaking in the love of Birdland, which right now is just about the happiest place on earth.

Fill in any reason you’d like: price, distance, inconvenience, HDTV, love of Jim Hunter, blah, blah, blah.

Bottom line: it ain’t a tough ticket.

I’ve never stopped going to Orioles games. I’ve been to eight games a year every year since 2003 when they proved to be awful business partners and 2006 when they took away my press pass (I’m the only person in history of Baltimore media to be “banned” from Orioles games). People give me free tickets and I use them.

I’ve flown to Sarasota twice to see them play in spring training. I’ve seen the Orioles play in New York three times a year every year for 8 years. I’ve seen them play in Boston, New York, Cleveland, Tampa, Philadelphia.

I’ve been going back to the ballpark this month and I’ve reached into my wallet to do it.

I purchased two tickets for the Cal Ripken Statue Thursday night extravaganza. I bought four tickets for this Monday’s DH for $4 each. I checked the credit card receipts. I spent $18.80. Because of the scarcity of the Ripken tickets, it cost us $47.80 for a pair of standing rooms that we turned into sitting rooms in the back row of Sec. 380.

My total investment in the Orioles so far in 2012? That’s right: $66.60.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter or @WNST on Twitter, you know that I’m at the ballpark because I’m sending up pictures, observations, analysis and some dark humor.

I turned down offers for free tickets the past two nights because I had other obligations for work.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and chased down a pair of tickets to every postseason game the Orioles could play this October. And then I realized that I’ll be in Kansas City for the Ravens’ game next weekend.

And I have to ask myself the same question many Baltimore sports fans are asking themselves – am I a bigger fan of the Orioles or the Ravens? And if I had to pick just one…???? Hmmm…

I’m asking Baltimore sports fans these questions all month here in our GREAT BALTIMORE MEDIA SURVEY. Take it for a chance to win a trip to Cleveland in November!

For me choosing between the Orioles and the Ravens is like picking between whether you love your

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NM swing 6-5-07

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Orioles Riding the Wave

Posted on 24 September 2012 by Tom Federline

Besides an Opening Day, when was the last time you were at Camden Yards and watched a full “wave” circle the bowl without a break in it? Been to the Yard lately? Get in on the wave! These Birds just don’t give up. It’s coming to the end of September –  AND THEY ARE STILL IN IT! I know you all are with me – how many times have you been shaking your head saying, “They did it again.” Defense, timely hitting, pitching and that bullpen – “The Orange Curtain.” The wave has gained momentum in Baltimore and it is picking up speed. It only has been 15 years……….When you look at your kids, 15 years seems like yesterday, when you think of Orioles in the playoffs, it seems as if it were in another millennium. Wait a minute, it was.

I was at the game when CC (I should be starring in a Biggest Loser episode) Sabathia, took out one of the main cogs in the wheel. When Markakis went down, I figured “and so do the Birds.” Well surprise, surprise, surprise – (Come on what TV show is that from?) I had made a remark, if Markakis, Jones or Weiters goes down, the season is more than likely over. Well one of them did and it ain’t over. They have pulled together and refuse to lose. Serious passion displayed in the dugout that night when Nick came back up with hand in temporary cast and met with Buck-Buck. Binos were around neck and ready. My first thought – “not good”, second thought – not that I have been know to curse or anything – CC Sabathia ears had to be on fire. It is tough experiencing this run without the best right fielder in baseball and this swing:

 

Can’t even imagine how tough it is on him.

Hold the phone – This is just seriously down and out cool – Birds just won the first game of the doubleheader at the Yards vs. the Blow Jays, 4-1. JJ mows down the opposition………….again. “Put another one in the WIN column” – thank you Joe Angel. There was an eruption from my television set – I thought maybe it was the announcement that Gary Thorne would not be doing the second game either – but actually the Yard had filled up on a late Monday afternoon and was cheering their surging team to victory. Get to the Yard, do not pass go, do not collect $200, take the get out of jail for free card (for safety reasons) and Get to the Yard.

The 16 in-a-row extra inning win streak, is second to the 1949 Cleveland Indians (17), who holds the record. That is quite a remarkable accomplishment. It is a major part of what defines the team. Adam Jones, the entire bullpen and Taylor Teagarden. Teagarden has 7 hits in 50 at-bats and it seems every one of them has been a game changer and/or knocked in a run. Taylor Teagarden – what a name – stay with me here –  Who now claims the second most colorful name in Orioles History?

Music to my ears. Friday night – Peter Gabriel. Sunday afternoon – an exuberant “O” during the national anthem at ……FedEx Field Skins game (I was a guest). And the topper late Saturday afternoon, 12th inning, O’s 9 Red Sux 6 and the 500+ Oriole faithful drowning out the Red Sux fans with “Let’s Go O’s” at Fenway Park! I put the game on through the stereo and cranked it up. I really don’t know what was better – the chant or the Red Sux fans reaction?

Get on your boogie, surf, wake board or body surf. Just whatever you do, catch this O’s Wave and hang on. The wave may die out, but trust me it is better to catch the wave, than watching a good one go by. Buckle up –  It’s going to be quite a week. “Don’t Give Up” O’s – (Peter Gabriel). You have fans! Yes, they are coming out of the woodwork, but who cares, they are coming. Orange is a Fall color. It’s just been awhile since we have really appreciated it.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Lucky Buck and the Madd Scientist

Posted on 12 September 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Despite all of the advances made in the last couple of decades related to baseball statistics and their implementation into game philosophy, despite our ability to explain, predict and define the successes and failures that we see on a night by night basis in Major League Baseball the two most important aspects of baseball success remain impossible to predict or to quantify. Above and beyond all else, success in baseball is and always will be the result of luck and timing.

As Crash Davis taught us all in “Bull Durham” so many years ago, the difference between a .250 and .300 hitter in baseball is just one hit per week; “A Gork, you get a ground ball, you get a ground ball with eyes. You get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week and you’re in Yankee Stadium”. With one hit per week being the difference between good and great, the timing of that hit and the circumstances surrounding it become increasingly important.

 

Of course Seneca, a Roman philosopher who never saw a game of baseball taught is that “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity”. By stacking a lineup full of players with quantifiable and predictable skills you can compel luck and over the course of 162 Major League games you can expect that by stacking the deck in your favor with talent you can also expect that luck to take hold at enough of the right times to be successful.

 

Still, every once in a while a team like the 2012 Orioles comes along and just throws a wrench into everything that we thought we “knew” about baseball. To call the Orioles lucky might be an understatement. Sure, there’s a heart and an intensity to the team that seems to make them successful, but whether that’s the precursor to their success or a byproduct of it is at the least debatable.

 

The Pythagorean crowd has already written off this team’s success as lucky and therefore impossible to continue. Maybe they’re right. Actually they’re probably right, but you could pick any other team in baseball that you want and deem them unlikely to win the World Series (or even to get there) and you’d probably be right.

 

Even the fans that have grown tired of hearing about the luck of the 2012 Orioles are at a true loss to explain their success. While suggesting that the Orioles success this year has simply been lucky is a disservice to those who have performed so well in making it so, explaining it as the byproduct of a manager “hitting all the right switches” is equally insulting. So why have Orioles fans grown so disdainful of anyone looking to explain away their success as lucky, yet so accepting of the notion that it’s Buck Showalter’s uncanny ability to manage the game as the driving force behind the Orioles success?

 

Of all of the major sports in America, baseball may be the one in which the impact of the manager is most minimal. And the brand of baseball typically played in the AL East only serves to further diminish the impact of the manager. Writing the lineup cards and choosing the pitchers is substantially more impactful than simply shuffling a deck of cards or rolling dice, but once those cards are stacked or those dice cast the manager’s impact is over and it’s up to the turns and bounces of the principals to determine the outcomes.

 

As the Orioles battle the Rays in an AL East showdown pitting a once improbable and now perennial contender against an unlikely contender of historical proportions it is and will be sold as a chess match of baseball’s grand masters. Buck Showalter and Joe Maddon seem to get the lion’s shares of the credit for their teams’ successes because otherwise we simply struggle to explain those successes. But do they deserve the credit they get? And at what point does that credit to the manager begin to wear on those actually doing the winning?

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