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Someday a Real Rain’ll Come and Wash All the Scum Off the Diamond

Baltimore Orioles Tampa Bay Devil Rays 17-2I 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?

9 comments to Someday a Real Rain’ll Come and Wash All the Scum Off the Diamond

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    I would agree to all of that and let me be the first to say:

    Can we get a freakin’ NFL thread soon?

    I’m so completely tired of this team – blow it up.

  • dan the man

    If it somehow made a difference to the FO if we finished in last place instead of 4th, and it guarenteed some major house-cleaning, then absolutely yes I would take 5th place.

    For the first time in my life I actually want to watch a Ravens game and I’m not a football fan at all.

    Any way you slice it, the O’s are going to have the weakest lineup in the AL East next year, but it will hopefully be young and overmatched instead of old and tired. Easier to root for them that way. Our starting pitching will be our saving grace, but not if our bullpen looks anything like it does right now.

    Though it’s really not worth talking about, I think it’s evident that the whole rush to bring up Olson and push Burres to the ‘pen did a lot to ruin any success Burres was having. Yeah, the ‘pen was bad then too and they thought they needed Burres as a long man. But I think we were all a bit to high on Olson, thinking he could come in and match, if not do better than, Burres in a starting role. Obviously they need Olson now because everyone is injured, though.

    Our lack of minor league depth is really starting to show now.

    Should be a hell of an exciting offseason to follow, though.

  • Mike L

    i agree that its time to clean some house around here. miggy, and mora, see ya. we should be able to get a power bat for those guys. but bedard and roberts, i wouldnt want to kick them out the door yet. 2nd basemen that can hit are hard to come by. and since we like to play alot of one and two run ball games, speed and defense is what we need to keep us in those games.(and a bullpen, but we know that). and along with speed and defense go cory patterson. he oughta be a gold glover. with his speed he takes the double play option away most times

    we should just face it. this team next year is not going to have a star slugger, cause i just to see the FO pulling the trigger to get Dunn, and so we need speed and defense, and some young kids who wanna play, i.e. the colorado rockies. yeah the NL west sucks, but theyre playing above .500 and 4 games out of a wild card. so hawpe and holliday have 20+ homers, but that doesnt constitute being a power hitter anoymore. 20 years ago in 1987 it did. didnt cal lead the leauge in homers with like 26 one year?

    anyway, we just need the right group of guys to pull it together, night in and night out. dont change management again, and dont get anymore, jay paytons, or aubrey huffs or paul shueys. veterans on other teams, for some reason or another, faulter when they reach charm city. young kids and fresh faces is what we need, but the cornerstones, bedard, roberts, patterson and cakes, we should keep them around. markakis is bound to have a 35+ HR 120+ rbi season.

  • sci

    It would have to be a real, Florida Marlins type of clean break/fire sale though. It absolutely cannot be mid-level veterans filling out the roster. Keep Markakis, obviously. I think we have to listen to offers on Bedard and Roberts at least, if only b/c they both probably want out of here and will request a trade. We must trade Mora and Tejada. Mora will get us nothing, but we could probably package him. We MUST get rid of Gibbons, Payton, and Huff, even if it means outright releases. Ramon would probably fetch a decent prospect or two. Get rid of him as well. Patterson can stay if he wants to.

    I can’t believe the disaster this team has become, but in a way it’s a good thing. We can all see the reality very clearly. These are deep problems that the FO cannot cover up in their usual patchwork manner. There needs to be a total shift in team philosophy.

  • neal s

    Markakis is the only player who remains a “must-keep”. I’d put Bedard in there if I thought he wanted to stay, but I’m thinking right now that he doesn’t.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    If we could get rid of Gibbons, Payton, Huff, Mora, and Tejada and field an exciting young team of go-getters I don’t think that Roberts and Bedard would be so eager to leave. Right now I feel like we’ve come to an agreement that the number one on-the-field issue is the team’s losing culture, which is embodied in those five players. If we could move all five (we can’t) and get some solid young players (Tejada for Howie Kendrick, please?) then I absolutely believe that the “losing culture” won’t be around anymore and it will become a much more interesting place to play and Roberts and Bedard would be much more willing to stick around (for the right price). And frankly, you can’t get rid of Gibbons because he’s expensive, constantly injured, and he’s terrible at all aspects of the game. Outright release would be nice, but it’s never going to happen.

    Point is, there’s a really weak free agent class out there. There’s nobody worth having, in my opinion, unless Adam Dunn becomes available and a bidding war doesn’t start for him. MacPhail’s job should be moving Jay Payton, Miguel Tejada, Melvin Mora, and Aubrey Huff for some good young infielders, maybe a CF, and some goddamn pitchers. Then we’ll bite the bullet and stick Gibby out in left until he breaks his leg or something, but the team will be considerably better.

  • Joe the Guy

    The Column has spoken:

    Roberts, Bedard, Markakis -> We Love You and if you want to leave we’ll understand but still won’t forgive you

    Tejada, Mora, Payton, Huff, Gibbons -> It’s not You, It’s Me. Either way, it’s over.

  • df1570

    I’m trying to do some research tonight – and I’ve got about 10 oars in the water right now – to see if this MIGHT very well be the worst stretch of baseball over a 20-game span in the history of the game.

    I said this today on the air: I think something really weird is going to happen this weekend at Oriole Park at Yawkey Way. Someone in an O’s uniform is going to snap. Big time. I don’t know who it will be – or in what form – but I think a MAJOR story plays out of this weekend’s half-home series against the Red Sox.

    Remember how BRob flipped out last time and said the whole thing was embarrassing, tiresome, etc.?

    Think that…x 20…something is going to happen.

    It’s inevitable.

    By the way, I think the Birds beat Wakefield tonight.

    Honestly.

    Stop laughing.

    I really do.

    8-5 O’s.

    Come on, stop laughing.

    I’m TOTALLY serious.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    At least there’s a little room for happiness: the O’s are letting our young corps take their lumps and make adjustments without worrying about where they’re going if they fail (which they are doing rapidly, but I digress). You like to see Garrett Olson keep getting out there to get used to it instead of activating Jaret Wright. Good move, that one.