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A Plea for Reason

captain obvious baltimore oriolesI’ve got a serious question for what appears to be a troubling majority of Orioles fans out there:

Don’t you folks get tired of being obvious?

This team isn’t hitting…Jay Gibbons sucks…the bullpen overhaul didn’t work! $40 million wasted!…Peter Angelos sure is a terrible owner!

In the context of a larger point these things can make for worthwhile support. Unfortunately, for too many folks these sorts of observations seem to be enough. And, disturbingly, they’re often made with something approaching pride.

The team isn’t hitting well? You don’t say! What? You mean you don’t like Peter Angelos? Here I was under the impression that his long record of achievement had endeared him to all but the most hardened baseball observers. Next thing I know someone’s going to step up and claim that gas prices are kinda high, and that maybe Oswald didn’t act alone.

The readers here, thankfully, are a cut above this (often several cuts). But I’m honestly curious: to what purpose are these same observations repeated, nearly verbatim, over and over again? What, in June of 2007, possesses someone to call a radio show and complain about Peter Angelos?

Yes, the Orioles are struggling. They’re hitting .261 as a team with 46 HR among them — numbers that place them far beneath contending status. And yet they remain only five games below .500 and have exhibited several signs of life (the starting pitching, in particular).

Now take a deep breath and ask: is that a whole lot different than what you expected?

The goal for this team all along has been to make a push at .500, maybe finish a few games above that if all goes well. In other words, to make progress. We will have one, maybe two opportunities to judge whether or not that has happened: at the end of the season, and if they go on some titanic streak (like, ten games) one way or the other.

Until then, for the sake of all that is good and holy, try to have a little perspective. This is not football, where one loss represents six percent of your season slipping away. You know what six percent of a 162 game season works out to? Ten games.

Relax. Pop open a cold Miller Lite and put your feet up tonight as Daniel Cabrera takes on Micah Bowie at the Yard. Maybe give this a try.

But whatever you do, recognize that things aren’t nearly as bad as they could be, nor as bad as they seem after every two-game losing streak. Just as there are plenty of things to be upset about, there’s still plenty to enjoy. That, folks, is baseball.

19 comments to A Plea for Reason

  • Mike L

    i’ll be at the yard tonight. look for me… i’ll be the one in the o’s hat.

    true true. we do seem to point out the obvious, and yes reachng .500 has been the goal for the year. however we have shown the potential to actually contend. i mean we have held our own in 4 out of 5 boston contests, only won 1 though. i mean if we played 7 inning games we could be in first, or atleast 1st in the wild card. but if the queen had a penis she’d be king. too many one run losses. and too many no decisions for pitchers going 7+innnings. were missing that clutch hit it seems like(enter mark texiera).

    we made it back to .500 then what…5 game skid. like climbing up a rock wall and when you get to the top someone steps on your fingers losing your grip and you slide back down again. i think if we can get back to the .500 mark and maintain that or be slightly above, plus make a move or two at the trade deadline then we still may have a wild card shot.

    oh yeah, the yankees are climbing up the standings again. fuckers

  • dan the man

    Here, here. Or is hear, hear? I was never quite clear on that.

    Anyway – Captain Perspective has rightly called out a majority of us O’s fans. We are all guilty of venting, complaining, repeating ourselves, and cursing Jay Gibbons, the offense, and the bullpen. Sometimes it just happens. I don’t really want to do all that because it is stupidly redundant, but sometimes when you care about a team so much it and you couple that with 10 years of losing (especially when many of those teams, like now, on paper should not be losing teams), well you’re going to have some fans who are all pissed off about the same exact things. It’s unfortunate.

    But what are you going to do. As fans we know we shouldn’t just vent. So we settle down after a couple of tough losses and try to talk baseball instead of losing. That’s why this site is so great. That’s why I go to the Dugout sometimes too, which pokes fun at baseball in general.(which I think, Neal, you should have on your list over there because it’s freakin hilarious).

    If we look at this year’s positives, we see that the O’s are not far from where we all thought they would be. The FO has made a genius pickup in Guthrie – who, by the way, is under our control for FIVE YEARS because he’s a rookie (HA!). There is a solid youth contingency in Markakis, Wieters, Rowell, etc. There is a new willingness to send some money and deal with Scott Boras. The starting pitching is good (yeah the offense stinks, but hey, the starting pitching is good!). When they win, they are a really fun team to watch and to root for. I agree that when they lose, it’s best to keep our redundant complaining to ourselves. Sometimes I have to change the station on the sports radio when I hear some of these idiot callers harping on the same old shit.

  • dan the man

    I would also venture to say that the majority of all fans of a certain sports team complain about the same exact stuff. Look at the Sox. Any Sox fan who has something to complain about (like they should even be complaining) is going to complain about the same things: Lugo, losing Johnny Damon, Manny being lazy, letting some good prospects go, or whathaveyou. Any team has its laundry list of things that their respective fans complain about. That’s sports. The majority of sports fans don’t know what the hell they are talking about. I mean, when I went to Camden the other day, there was this loud, fat, obnoxious woman next to me with the most grating Bal’moor accent I’ve ever heard yelling shit like, “DONT TAKE HIM OUT PERLOZZOOOW YOU DONT KNAOW HOW TO HANDLE A BOOLPEN”. Someone else, in the top of the 5TH INNING said, “There’s not even anyone up in the bullpen!” when it was Guthrie who, while he didn’t have his best stuff that night against Rodrigo, was still cruising at that point. There should only be someone up in the bullpen in the 5th inning if the starter has been giving up walks and runs. I mean, this is basic baseball knowledge. A large portion of sports fans are very poorly informed.

  • dan the man

    Hell, I’m watching the John Riggins show on MASN right now and Riggins doesn’t even know that the Angels are called the LA Angels of Anaheim. This is why I don’t call in to sports shows.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Instead of complaining, or pointing out the obvious, I’ll go for a new angle:

    I think that the Most Important Oriole (MIO) is definitely Melvin Mora. It seems like we’re getting plenty of singles but no clutch hitting, ergo no offense. I postulate that if and when Mora starts remembering how to hit, we’ll start getting hot as a team. Our pitching, as Dan has said, is so solid it makes me have to go to the bathroom. If Mora can start hitting again (and his at bat in the second here was just pitch perfect. Wait for your pitch, working the count, smash it), then his bat goes with Roberts, Markakis, Huff, Payton, and Tejada as “The Good Ones”, making up for the Gibbons, Pattersons, and Bynums of the team – and with any offense at all (think 4-5 runs/game) we’ll win regularly, and thus, compete.

  • neal s

    The worst thing about Cabrera right now is that every appearance weakens his trade value. If he were pitching well at all he would be a potent bargaining chip in the quest for a bat. As it stands now, I’m not sure.

  • neal s

    By the way, nothing I said in this post should be misconstrued as saying we shouldn’t ever vent or get upset that our beloved black-and-orange are struggling. I’m only calling out the people who essentially don’t know what they’re talking about and don’t have any real analysis to offer. That doesn’t apply to anyone who comments regularly here, so feel free to fire away. This one was, after all, damn ugly.

  • dan the man

    I am ready to trade D-Cab if there are any takers left. Despite his struggles, I still think some teams would be willing to take a chance with him. But you may be right – his value is decreasing as it is becoming more and more evident that he will most likely not develop into the dominant ace he was projected to be. His command is poor when his fastball is dominant. When his command is good, his fastball is straight and predictable. I’m ready to pass on this project.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Daniel would certainly look pretty good to the Rangers. Tonight notwithstanding, he gives up few home runs, even in home run parks (like Camden or Arlington) and his raw stuff is so damn good, it’s a huge shame he, like many other big power pitchers, can’t put it together yet (needs a third pitch and to know how to pitch out of the stretch)…and he is definitely maturing, little by little. I’d feel better about getting rid of him if we had Loewen around, but according to the paper he’s done for the year. But, let’s suppose we package away D-Cab and play out the rest of the season with Guthrie, Bedard, Trachsel, Burres, and ….? Rob Bell? Jaret Wright? Garrett Olson? There’s a rotation that doesn’t look too good after the top two and putting in someone like Olson isn’t a great idea (needs more seasoning and less time spent ticking away to free agency and arbitration)…though if it were in exchange for the ability to score runs…very interesting.

    A better idea, I think, is to see what else is brewing this year – then trade away Daniel as part of a package to get a power bat (we’re all thinking Teixeira – how does Penn, Cabrera, Gibbons, and Tejada sound? I don’t what we’d do at shortstop, but that sure sounds like it works for both sides to me) and come into next year with a stronger line up/defense, and a rotation of Bedard, Guthrie, Benson, Trachsel, and Loewen – subbing in Olson/Burres/Johnson/etc. if Benson or Trachsel is traded or not picked up or ineffective. That sounds good to me.

  • Mike L

    ok. i was at the game so i didnt get to hear thorne or palmers take on why on earth mora was bunting with one out, no one on in the seventh with gibbons behind him. and a poor attempt at bunting at that.

    and gibbons cut his hair, and pulled his pant legs down. i guess hes being real superstitious while trying to break this slump. on the edge of slipping below .200 now.

    i think as well as cabrera, gibbons trade value is falling fast too. not good if angelos will actually try to aquire texiera this year.

    another case of not putting it all together tonight. bullpen was exellent, and cabrera, not so much. the fact that we didnt get a single base hit between the 2nd and 9th inning didnt help either. but i did notice one thing in the hitting game (or lack there of) that might be the problem. i notice we take a lot, if not all first pitches, and 1st strikes. now some people believe in making the pitcher show you he can throw strikes. dont give in and he’ll walk you in 4 pitches if he cant throw strikes. for what. so we can ground into more double plays. well these are big leaguers and they can throw strikes. i think nearly every 1st pitch was a called strike, and most were fastballs. therefore we fall behind in counts, and what happens when a pitcher gets a 0-2 or 1-2 count. the junk pitches, breaking balls, splitters, sliders, sinkers come out, and we pound them right into the dirt. all the time. instead we got some hitters on this team, why dont we pick one of these 1st pitch fastballs and jump on em. i mean you wont see a better pitch if you go down 0-2 in the count. why take a bat to the plate if you arent gonna use it. we played most of tonight behind in counts, with the exception of a full count here and there. and a ton of ground ball outs, and double plays. you could make the arguement that you want to raise the opponents pitch count and tire him out, but that doesent seem to be putting runs on the board.

  • Mike L

    also i know tejada isnt putting up the power numbers we all hoped, but i think if we can get texiera without losing him it would be a good move. then we can bat tex 4th and miggy 5th or 6th. or 2nd even. he still hits over .300, and with b-rob miggy and cakes ahead of tex, that means ducks on the pond for him, and if miggy bats 5th then it means more pitches for tex to see. no one would pitch around him to get to tejada i dont think.

    what about cabrera, millar or gibbons, and penn, and maybe if we throw ray in the mix we could get gange too. upgrades all around.

  • dan the man

    Wow it just hit me that Cabrera lost to the Nats at home. Who we basically share the same record with, believe it or Nat.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    You know why we Oriole fans complain so much? I hear everyone complains about their teams, but for us, it has to be that we underachieve constantly. CONSTANTLY! Bases loaded, no outs, we’ll get one run, maybe two. We look good on paper, we’ll play sub .500 ball. We spend 42 million dollars on the bullpen, we’ll blow loads of winnable games and be rather misused (some waaaay overused, some waaaaay underused). Our fans want to see the city’s name on the road jersey’s, our ownership discusses it internally, finally ignores it and moves on. It goes on and on.

    Keeping Tejada would be nice – I’d like to see him in the 3 hole and The Stick in the five hole around Tex, myself – that would be a pretty damn good top of the lineup that would – hopefully – score runs if – and please let it – it happens. I just don’t see Texas thinking they can get the outfield help they want with just Gibbons or Millar. Gotta give up something more valuable. I wouldn’t trade Cabrera, Gibbons, Penn, and Miggy for just Tex though. We’d need something else. I’m not sold on Gange, though. Too expensive and too disabled.

    We gotta win tonight. How about another six game winning streak? Let’s go O’s!

  • sci

    Point taken Neal. I totally agree that perspective is needed, but there are some undeniable reasons why fans thoughtlessly reiterate complaints like they do.

    The first, and most obvious, is that we are now going on 10 years of losing baseball. As much as I would like to say I can totally transcend the frustration that comes from that, I can’t, and I think it’s probably unfair to ask the average O’s fan to transcend it. (Not that you are saying there should be no frustration, Neal.) The thought that we could easily be sellers again at the deadline, trying to rethink and retool for the 10th straight year, doesn’t exactly inspire hope. This is naturally blamed on the ownership, as Angelos has been the only constant throughout this time.

    Second, the method of losing, especially this year, has been excruciating. These one-run losses with the other team coming from behind late kill the spirit, no question.

    Third, and again, especially this year, is the feeling that almost everyone on this team (with a few notable exceptions) is underachieving, as Andrew points out above. It’s hard to watch players performing well under their talent level. This is a much more talented team than we’ve had in years, so the expectations are higher, and the disappointment stronger.

    So yes, we’re only six games under .500, about what we expected, but we’re in last place, and we’ve only won two more games than the Nationals, who were supposed to be historically bad. Don’t the Nationals just seem to be a better managed and happier team? No pressure, just having fun. Our team seems lifeless half the time, honestly.

    That said, I LOVE the Orioles. I’ve lived and died by them for at least half my life. I’ll never stop rooting for them and supporting them, but maintaining a consistently high interest and hope level when they flounder year after year is a tall order. I still have hope, of course, and I’ll look for it wherever I can, but I’ll definitely vent from time to time. Hopefully I’ll avoid the obvious though.

    Just some thoughts…

  • you find watching this team relaxing?

    i find it futile and sad … not relaxing.

  • dan the man

    Texas wants outfield help? Let’s trade Corey Patterson. Granted, he’s not helping his trade value either right now but he’s still young and as well all know, is a crazy-good defender. He’s not going to get much in his free agency year. If he’s not going to get it in his head that he needs to bunt precisely half of his at-bats to be worth having in the lineup, then it’s a shame because he’s such a standup guy and is a great asset when he’s on base. That said, let’s give up on some of these projects if we can land a bat. Would Texas take Patterson, Cabrera, and some top pitching prospects for Texiera? Who knows, but it’s going to take a few major leaguers with some upside (like D-Cab and Patterson) and some real good pitching prospects to get it done, that much is certain. Payton could play center, throw Gibbons/Bynum/Huff/Millar in left (hahaha) and make sure you can lock up Tex. Then you go and try to sign a real center fielder. BLAM! It’s fun being GM.

    Cuz honestly, we don’t need Cabrera. Loewen will be back next year and you know he’s going to be focused as shit with Leo to cut down on the walks. Guthrie basically takes D-Cab’s place. With Bedard, that’s your big three. Trachsel’s got an option if he’s still effective by the end of the year. Benson probably won’t be back, but you never know. Call on some young gun for the 5th spot or sign a veteran. Or convert Burres to a starter for real. I support the tall Daniel-sahn, but I support making some fun moves way more.

    Wayward O – I really enjoyed your recent post. Sometimes it’s nice to go over there and really wallow in my own woe. It kind of makes me laugh.

  • dan the man

    11th inning. Ray going for inning number 2.

    The thing about the O’s that I’ve noticed is that they seem to have a problem getting a big lead. Then like tonight, they inevitably lose that lead. Duh. But here’s the thing: if they do come back to take a lead, it’s always just enough. Like a one-run lead. Or like tonight, they score in the bottom of the 9th, but they can’t score TWO runs, they score ONE to tie the game, just enough to keep it going and make it harder for themselves in the bottom of some other inning. GAH. And you just know it’s extending the inevitable, and really, it makes it hard on the fans. Geez, guys…

  • dan the man

    I rest my case.

  • dan the man

    And Sam and the boys will now stand around the pitching mound and chew bubble gum.

    Cursed, I say. This team is cursed.