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Taking A Bath

Written by: Peter Coolbaugh

It has been an ugly week for Orioles fans. In their last seven spring training games, the Birds are 0-5 and have two rain outs. Two blown saves against St. Louis and the horrid Nationals (I usually refer to them as the Bugs) were especially disturbing.

With the announcement that Rich Hill will not be in the starting rotation in April, thanks in large part to an ongoing elbow issue, we still have three spots to fill for starters. Perhaps I am a little too jittery, but I had hoped to have more of the questions answered by now. But for the moment, it is as cloudy as a bowl of hot pea soup.

Why am I so upset over a sub .500 record in spring training? And with most national publications picking us to finish last again should I be this worked up? You are darn right I should. First and foremost, I am a fan. And a vocal fan at that.

For 11 seasons, we have been losers. After Davey Johnson got run out of town we have seen managers, GMs, and players come and go. Mussina left, Cal retired, steroids took over the headlines, attendance dwindled, and still we remained below .500. Frustration sets in, especially for those of us with historical knowledge who understand that the Orioles were once a jewel franchise, the kind that others got jealous over since our history from 1966-86 was one of winners and yearly contenders.

So yes, I am mad. Our pitching is very suspect (and I am being generous using that term) and our main offensive players are out in this nonsense WBC, when they should be practicing with their team. Everyone knows our division is brutal. And this year we have to play the NL East teams that include: Philadelphia, Atlanta, and the NY Mets. Long season my friends, so prepare yourself once again.

Personally, I think our core is solid. If the pitching/bullpen can hold their own and our injuries stay on the low end, we can make a run at .500 this season. I do think we are a better club than Toronto and neither the Yankees nor that Boston team strike fear into me. The Rays should win the division again but we have to make sure we are not the punching bag that has become our reputation in years past.

As the last 12 days of training games wind down, let us focus on the positives that the team offers and the areas where we need to improve.

And a reminder to all the Birds fans out there that Fan Fest is on April 4th. This is a good opportunity to get autographs, take pictures, and get excited for the season before it officially begins.

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