Someday a Real Rain’ll Come and Wash All the Scum Off the Diamond
I titled the last post “Drive the Point Home” because of the statistic with which I led it. Little did I know, Tampa would take the notion and run with it. They drove the point home to the tune of 17 runs.
My life is words. Whether or not you get a sense of it here — I’d like to think you do — I’m a pretty good writer. But I’m not sure a Frankenstein‘s monster with Hemingway‘s experience, Gammons‘ baseball knowledge, Joyce‘s gift for prose, and Hunter S. Thompson‘s appreciation of the absurd could manage to find sufficient words to explain what has happened with this team.
30-3, 9-7, 5-2, 7-4, 8-1, 11-3, 15-8, 5-4, 8-6, 8-9 (win!), 10-0, 3-2, 9-7, 4-8 (win!), 17-2.
I had it in the back of my mind that the 4-32 stretch with which we closed the ’02 season was as bad as it could ever get. Not by a long shot.
The 2007 Baltimore Orioles are the most hopeless, futile, snake-bitten, ragtag bunch of underachievers in the history of baseball. Take a look at this 2005 Sports Illustrated list of the worst teams in history. Records aside, I don’t see anything worse than what we’ve got.
Why? Because losing is one thing, and losing in epic, demoralizing fashion is quite another. You can appreciate a loser. You can even, under the right circumstances, get behind a loser. But you can neither appreciate nor get behind a group that consistently loses the way these guys do it.
There’s little to love. Their two most exciting and intriguing players — Erik Bedard and Nick Markakis — go about their business in stoic fashion. That’s kind of awesome in my book, but it doesn’t offer much to warm the heart. Their most colorful and vocal leader, Kevin Millar, doesn’t have enough baseball talent to do it all himself. Their most bankable stars, Miguel Tejada and Melvin Mora, have all but given up.
Only a torrid late-season run (and I’m talking wins at a .650 clip) could come close to redeeming this season. Failing that, we have but one solution: complete offseason overhaul.
I’m talking about trading Tejada and Mora (who, I’d imagine, will have no problem relinquishing his no-trade protection). I’m talking about taking offers on Roberts and, yes, Bedard. I’m talking about ridding this team of every last scrap of the past ten years of futility.
The future is Matt Wieters, Billy Rowell, Brandon Snyder, and the guys we get in those trades. It’s guys who aren’t part of the losing culture.
This approach might mean more losses next year. It might mean two or three last-place finishes.
But tell the truth: wouldn’t you take it at this point in exchange for a clean break?