I wanted to believe it this year, I really did. I wanted to believe that overspending for short-inning middle relievers would help fix a glaring need. I wanted to believe that the emergence of a new heart of the starting rotation would raise the hopes and place in the standings. I wanted to believe that I’d actually pay attention and have any reason to care about the Orioles in August for the first time in a decade. I wanted to believe that the owner would actually step aside for the first time in a decade and allow the twin VP’s the chance to make a trade to help the team. I wanted to believe it might actually change on the field. I wanted to believe most of all that I wouldn’t have to write something along these lines at all this season.
Write it down in wet concrete: the baseball season is over in Baltimore for 2007. Over. Kaput. Finis.
After today’s bullpen meltdown, the record is 14-18. The bullpen is already toast. Three projected contributors to the starting rotation are most likely finished for the year (Benson – remember?). The lineup lacks a true thumper in the middle. There’s some speed, but no bench. There’s an abundance of truly mediocre first basemen/dh types. The starters can’t get to the sixth inning, let alone the seventh. And most galling of all, there are obvious lapses of common baseball sense and simple paying attention that cost them outs repeatedly.
So the question is, who should I direct my anger towards?
The owner? Not likely. He doesn’t even know I exist. As if he would care anyway.
The front office? Maybe. But limited resources and the previously mentioned individual conspire to halt any real forward progress regarding trades and high dollar free agent signings. And let’s not even bother investigating the decrepit mess the farm system has become over the past twenty-five years. Just hope that it gets somewhere close to respectable in the near future.
The manager? Getting warmer, just because he’s the day-to-day face of the franchise. Now I don’t know Sam Perlozzo, and he seems to be a very dedicated and straightforward kind of man. Plus he’s from Cumberland, Md. Some of my family’s closest friends were from there and I spent two years in Western Maryland, so I know the type of people there. Real people, fun and hard working. And certainly sports binds that community. There’s tremendous pride in Sam being manager of the Baltimore Orioles.
So here’s the thing, Sam, with all due respect: Show a little more fire! Bench these guys the next time they commit an inexcusable mental error! Get in an umpire’s face once every three weeks or so, just to show them you’re still here! Breathe in a little bit of the Spirit of Earl. Piss some guys off. Cuss them out in front of others. Kick dirt on an umpires’ pants. Call your players out publicly if they disobey your orders. Be the man!
The players? Now we’re here, at least as far as this season is concerned. This is really all I can offer after nine years of the same shit, so here goes: Give it your all, fellas, every day, each pitch, and try to keep caring if the record keeps going where it looks like it’s going (again). I realize it’s not anybody’s fault in there as far as injuries, ownership incompetence, p.r. indifference (how about that crowd today?) and fan apathy, but keep respecting the great game itself. The real fans out there are still watching; we’re just not coming to the games. That’s certainly not on you.
MLB? The game itself has been held hostage to the owners’ wishes with a puppet commissioner for the last twenty years; it’s too lengthy to document here. Let’s just leave it at this: when Peter Angelos phones the MLB offices, toes tap. Cuba, Comcast, MASN…..
It appears that the crossroads has arrived a little sooner than expected for this current team. Which way does the road lead? Or is it simply headlong into a tree again?
I wanted to believe.
I really did.
Tomorrow: What Will Make Me Believe Again