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Reversal of Fortunes

Written by: Peter Coolbaugh

Overpaid Gonzalez and Bobby V. get tossed.  Check.

Orioles win again over sinking chowdah team.  Check.

Orioles now more than 10 games over .500 while New England nitwits continue to flounder.  Check.

I call that a very successful season, even without making the playoffs.  Don't you?

Given all the injuries this year on the Orioles roster and the inconsistent pitching, you really have to commend Buck and Dan for doing this well with a patchwork team.  And, unlike past seasons, when even the team was mired in a lot of losses and they stuck with the same players over and over, Buck has no problem sending down a potential star player to fix what may be broken.

Orioles may not score a ton of runs, and they do give up a bunch and make a heck of a lot of errors, but they are still fun to watch.  They win, a lot of times ugly, but they win.  Which is why there are in the thick of playoff hunt while other big payroll teams (Boston and Philly come to mind) are waiting for their dismal seasons to end.

The core Orioles are in place.  Markakis, Machado, Jones, Hardy, Wieters.  A nice 2B, 3B, and another two outfielders will help finalize the puzzle.  And the bullpen as is should stay that way.  This is a franchise on the rise.  For once, people are scared.  The fans are not flocking back as I would have hoped yet, but in time they will come.  You have to win them back with consistency and time.

Flash back to 1997.  Last season the Orioles finished above .500 was also the last season that Boston did not.  As the Baltimore franchise crashed and burned with numerous managers, GMs, and players; Boston made the playoffs 9 times and "won" two titles with a bunch of juiced up cheaters.  They retooled their dump facility and sold it out for a decade straight.  Baltimore lost fans every season since Cal retired and saw a big drop by the time Washington stole some former Orioles supporters.

Now in 2012, as the situation seems to have come full circle, the Orioles are now getting the last laugh.  The Boston fans who used to come down here and down their chowdah chants in our faces have dissipated, and the increase in orange hats and jerseys has been drastic.  Baltimore has not accomplished anything yet, and probably won't this season.  Growing pains are still going to happen.  But the seeds for success have been planted and are sprouting faster than most people thought they might.

I am enjoying the ride for now.  My expectations thus far have been exceeded.  Of course I would love to see a postseason appearance.  Might not happen this year but the next great Orioles golden era could have started.  Just saying, you never know.

And even if we never get to the apex, I for one am enjoying the Boston fall with the greatest of pleasure.

August 16, 2012


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