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Origins of a Curse

Major League Back to the Minors Baltimore Orioles CurseYou might remember awhile back when I teased a post breaking down the origins of a hex on the Baltimore Orioles. It was all laid out in my mind and ready to go when, suddenly, Sam Perlozzo got the ax and more important matters took center stage.

The theory at the time went something like this: 9-10 years of Orioles futility can be traced directly to Major League: Back to the Minors.

When the original (classic) Major League came out in 1989, the Indians were a joke. The movie didn’t immediately change their fortunes, but it’s fair to say that it kickstarted the rebuilding process and earned them some much-needed goodwill.

So far, so good.

Then, in 1994, Major League II hit the streets. Partially filmed in Baltimore’s own Oriole Park at Camden Yards, part II was inferior to its predecessor but not entirely unlikeable. The Indians used the occasion to finally become a winning team, and the Birds went 63-49.

The O’s then stumbled a bit in strike-shortened 1995 (71-73) before embarking on a glorious two-year playoff run.

Things were looking up. Corbin Bernsen was on his way to folk hero status. Until, in 1998, the Orioles and the Major League franchise went down in flames together.

Major League: Back to the Minors is an unmitigated disaster, a film wholly unworthy of its name. Likewise, Joe Carter, Doug Drabek, and Norm Charlton — “big” O’s pickups in the 97-98 offseason — had no business wearing the uniform.

The Major League franchise is forever tainted, and the O’s haven’t won since.

It’s a solid theory, but maybe it doesn’t tell the whole story.

The actual Curse, if there is one, might come down to this:

baltimore orioles lifelike bird hat logo

That’s the current version of the “lifelike” bird logo that has appeared on O’s caps since 1999. This version is a slight update of the lifelike concept, which first appeared in…1998.

To my mind, each theory works. So it’s clear that one of two things needs to happen: someone needs to make ML4: The Return of Rick Vaughn, or the Birds need to update their uniform.

Frankly, I’d like to see both.

7 comments to Origins of a Curse

  • dan the man

    Hahaha this is spot on. I keep meaning to mention in a comment about the filming of Major League 2 at Camden Yards. For one, because, as an Indians fan, wouldn’t you want the thing filmed at the Jake? Weird. I agree that the current logo is pretty weak. It has no pizzazz. It’s like something out of a bird-watching manual. Where’s the baseball-ness? These theories are completely legitimate. And, yes, who wouldn’t want to see Charlie Sheen revive his only good role?

    Regarding the game today: It was a lame way to lose, and you kind of have to blame JR House for the base-running blunder. Chad Bradford just seems to give up these weird infield doinks or ground-ball dribblers, but no blame should really be placed on him. The good news is that Guthrie made a return to his dominant form and went toe-to-toe with Roy Rogers. Fortunately, Halladay ends up with a no-decision as well. I didn’t think we’d escape this series with 2 wins and sure enough, we didn’t. We ran into their buzzsaws with no Erik Bedard to counter with. Bring on Texas. Speaking of which, I’ll be at the game tomorrow in the all-you-can-eat section.

    Andrew, how does losing this Toronto series affect your .500 analysis?

  • neal s

    Jacobs Field didn’t open until 1994, so you’ve got to figure that it just wasn’t ready while ML2 was filming.

    I don’t hate the lifelike bird logo. It’s actually kind of cool in a stern, noble kind of way. It’s true that I’d like to see a change, but I fear what they might come up with. We might want to be careful what we wish for.

    I’ve got plenty of ideas for a redesign, but that’s a post in itself.

  • dan the man

    Ah, you got me with the Jake date..

  • Mike L

    well heres a thought… I guess they dont wanna put baltimore on the road uni’s, no need to beat a dead horse, i think we all know where we stand with that. So why not come up with some kind of design including the letter B on the cap. maybe something like the cartoon bird, but on his cap sports the letter B. Like the miami dolphins, the dolphin has a M on its helmet. Maybe just do up a nice letter B and leave it at that. No bird, leave the bird on the sleeve of the shirt though. i know it would not be original to slap the letter of your city on your hat, since, umm, i think maybe only the A’s, white sox, astros dont do it. but its a step in the right direction.

    or if they dont wanna do anything encompassisng baltimore at all, atleast use the state of maryland. have the same bird but have him perched up on a MD flag or something. I mean the ravens crest has Ravens, B for baltimore, and the state flag all in one. come up with something creative like that.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    There was one year in the 60s where the road hat, or the home hat, or something was just an orange B…it was pretty weird and kinda lame. I like that the Orioles are one of only like 3 teams that don’t just have a letter on their hat. Makes us unique. If we’re gonna complain about the hat, then the easy thing to do is go back to the classic cartoon bird face.

    Losing two of three to Toronto isn’t good. We’ve got 6 more with them, and we’re ALWAYS gonna get either Halladay or Burnett or both. We got a little unlucky this weekend, and we almost pulled it out anyway. But, basically, it’s not the end of the .500 attempt, but it puts us in a hole. We’ve got to win next time we see them, and the time after that. And if we have a bad week (and we have a very easy week coming up, Johan Santana notwithstanding), that’ll be it.

  • with charlie sheen in his indians uni doing HDTV ads in full major league regalia, can another sequel be far away?

    think: clemens meets vaughn

  • You’ve been linked. Great post.