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Dismal is Our Middle Name

Written by: Peter Coolbaugh


Well, now that the NFL will actually have a season, the hum-drum Orioles will be relegated to the ash heap of 2011 as the city focuses its attention on football. It actually is nice to have a competitive team in this town., the likes of which the black & orange faithful have not seen since 1997.

I did a little digging and found that in 18 seasons (which includes 2011 to date) - hereafter known as the "Angelos Era" - we have had exactly 3 seasons over .500. Mr. Angelos bought the team out of bankruptcy in 1993 and it was approved by MLB that fall. So, 1994 was his first season as the majority owner. Of course, that was not a full season (damn that STRIKE) but the Orioles did finish over .500. In 1995, they dipped under .500 before making the playoffs in 1996 and 1997.

So for the first four seasons of the Angelos Era, we have only 1 season below .500 and 2 playoff appearances. Quite nice. But then reality sets in... after Davey Johnson leaves after the 1997 Wire-to-wire regular season, we get the endless parade of managers, coaches, GMs, and front office flunkies. And 14 (if we finish below the average this season, and we will) consecutive losing seasons. 14! Who are we? The Phillies?

The embarrassment of this franchise is going lower all the time. Losing, bad management, overpaid players, poor promotions, sub par drafting and player cultivation, and general bad luck have soured people's interest. You always here about the "Oriole Way" and the "best damn team" from mid 60's to mid 80's. But those days are gone. Long gone. Some of us are too young to even remember them. All we have is the losses and the futility that make us look to other teams and sports for some relief from the pain.

Case in point of my argument. There will be a statue of Brooks Robinson unveiled in a few months. Rather than it being placed near the warehouse (Gate A or C), or near a 3B Gate, it will be on a little island across from Pickles' Pub, not even on the Stadium Authority Grounds. This is just rumor, but I heard Mr. Angelos fought tooth and nail and opposed it being adjacent to OPACY even though the Maryland Stadium Authority owns all that land. It is a smack in the face to one of the best players in Orioles and MLB history. So rather than being near a gate (like Johnny U is at M&T), Brooks can get spit on by drunks and beggars over near a saloon.

I wonder where they will put Cal, Eddie, & Jim next?

My point is, that even when this franchise has the opportunity to fix things and enhance its very eroded image, it mucks that up too. Just pitiful in my opinion.

From 2008-2010 as part of a cooperative MASN promotion, Ravens items were given out to fans at OPACY and both the Bird and POE made appearances along with the Ravens cheerleaders. In 2008 it was a t-shirt, and in 2009 and 2010 they have purple O's hats. It was nice; scratch my back and all that. Now that the Ravens are not part of the regular MASN programming due to the ending of the contract in 2010, the Orioles seem to wish to have nothing to do with them. Wouldn't it be smart to foster some community spirit? Maybe the owners of each team don't get along, but as the only two professional sports teams in this town, I for one would like to see a little more working together. Come on, you only sit across a parking lot from each other!

It is obvious that I am a very frustrated Orioles fan. We have nothing to show for our 10+ years of rebuilding and the future is equally grim. Arms that apparently have not matured, overpaid veterans, and fan favorites who either spend too much time on the DL or who have past their prime seems to be our forte. People ask for consistency and the Orioles deliver. Bargain basement performances every time. I wonder if Buck has had a stress test lately...

Since I have no idea what our team may look like after the 7/31 deadline... it is impossible to speculate if we can actually improve for the last 8 weeks. So it remains to be seen if we can get any closer to .500 than we are right now.

Funny thing is, as of today, attendance is slightly up from last year. Though we still rank 25 out of 30 MLB teams. Where is the Pepto when you need it.

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