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Not Why Not, But When

mike mussina is a sad manSomething about the way the Orioles dispatched the Janquis tonight feels better than normal. And different.

Maybe it’s the fact that they did it against noted turncoat Mike Mussina. Maybe it’s simply the fact that the Janqs and O’s look more and more like two ships passing in the night.

Then again, maybe it’s the continued maturation of Daniel Cabrera, the poise of Luke Scott, the signs of emergence in Adam Jones, and the general tenor of a team playing better than anyone thought they would.

Whatever it is, it’s starting to seem…real.

We’re lucky enough here in Baltimore to have seen this kind of thing before: the memorable 1989 “Why Not?” Orioles. The team that was widely expected to be one of the worst in the majors, but which shocked the world by finishing two games out of first place.

Since that time, the phrase “Why Not?” has taken on the status of lore. It’s a perfect — and perfectly Baltimore — turn of baseball phrase, an easy rallying cry and an endless well of hope. It is, then, not something to be trifled with.

So what I wonder is this: at what point do the ’08 Orioles earn “Why Not?” status? At what point do we feel safe dusting off the old slogan, knowing that we do so with the right mix of respect and faith?

Tonight’s win was inspiring, and the team is doing nearly everything right. But…it still feels too soon. I don’t think we’ve got a “Why Not?” situation yet, but we’re getting there.

My feeling is that if we’re still at or near .500 after this brutal 22-game stretch against division opponents, it’s time to break it out. Whaddya say?

(inspired, again, by Kona’s comment)

32 comments to Not Why Not, But When

  • Greg

    With all of the Oriole garb I’m planning to wear to the game tomorrow night, I am going to die.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Where are you sitting? I usually frequent the bleachers when I go, and I’m always decked out. It’s actually more fun than dangerous (people are generally nice on a one-on-one level) but standing up to cheer for Millar usually ends up in a “Why are you gay?” chant.

    Other than that, there’s probably going to be at least 5 or 6 other O’s fans you can see in your section at any point during the game.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    “Are you ready for some football”? – Hank Williams Jr.

  • neal s

    Come on, Ben — even you have to admit that there’s absolutely no reason to talk football right now. When the time comes I’m like BGE — on it.

  • KonaBoy

    BBM is just psyched about the Man U/Chelsea match in Moscow.

  • neal s

    After last night’s game, Joe Girardi said “I am hoping this is rock bottom.” I’m betting it’s not.

  • Joe the Guy

    My first BEEF is with the Worldwide Leader and the headline for last night’s slaughter, from their website:

    “A-Rod returns but Yanks lose Jeter, game”

    Can we get a “no respect” post, complete with a picture of Rodney Dangerfield in an O’s uniform?

    Anyways, concerning last night’s “Yankee” game, the coaches’ respective post-game sentiments reflect my opinions:

    “I’m hoping this is rock-bottom,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s an ugly loss and you’ve just got to put this one aside.”

    “He has a purpose to what he does. He doesn’t get really rattled. It’s called growing up,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.

  • Mike L

    “why not” could define this season, but im not ready to go there yet. Bahston and TB keep winning, and if TB kills us again then we could be looking at 6 or 7 GB after the weekend. Even with our good record, that in itself could be a deep hole to climb out of.

    Anything can happen though. The Rays may not be for real, and could crumble, but just like we believe in our O’s, theres no reason to belive that TB wont keep winning either. We lack the power that TB has with Longoria, and pena, and upton, but otherwise we’re built the same, with pitching, defense, and heart.

    Fuck the yankees. I love Luke scott, stickin it to em after being thrown at his head. where was alan mills and daryl strawberry last night when you wanted to see a sucker punch thrown

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Boy, Luuuke’s blast was one of the longest things I think I’ve seen in a long time. He destroyed that pitch.

    Let’s not get greedy. I think the Orioles can make a season out of this, but they need Boston to comply with that, and they need their luck to keep running (not to mention the pitching). If we’re not the worst team in baseball we’ve already destroyed expectations, and to see that out of Baltimore’s baseball team is waaay more than I feel like I should ask given the last few years.

    However! What I keep coming back to in my head is 2005. We were looking so good that first half, playing over our heads, and it never really stopped until Palmerio, Tejada, Sosa, and the rest of the team collapsed in on itself. What if the bad blood never surfaced after the All Star Game that year? How good could we have been? I remember telling my mom that I didn’t think there was a chance in hell that we stumble so badly we don’t finish over .500 in 2005 – so I won’t make that proclamation. But this certainly feels like a second chance to me.

  • df1570

    Have no fear….

    The nitwits in the front office will put the breaks to all of these good thoughts we’re having on May 31.

    That’s the day they’ll stick it up Baltimore’s ass by announcing there won’t be any uniform changes for ’09.


  • Andrew in Rochester

    Okay. Are you surprised? No. Am I? No. Is anyone? No.

    Should that one unsurprising nondecision that we’ve had to live with for years and years and years be the one thing that makes us all stand back and say “Fuck you, Orioles” and give up what is turning into a fun summer?

    No. I’m sure, Drew, you respectfully disagree – and so would lots of folks. But it won’t surprise when it doesn’t happen, so why should that let me down? I always thought my reaction to something is based on my expectations. The Matrix blew away my expectations. At this point, the O’s can meet my expectations, and we’ll all get mad and rant about it (and I will when it gets here) but really, they can’t go below my expectations, and so I’m having fun.

    Don’t be such a downer, Drew. We just shellacked the Yankees! Enjoy that for what it’s worth, and worry about the uniform on June 1.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    on a sidenote, i was in nyc all last week and saw jeter’s stupid mug plastered EVERYWHERE including one of those twenty story adds in times square. that dude is the goofiest looking sex symbol in the history of america.

    it’s like lance bass mated with some kind of nocturnal rodent.

  • Joe the Guy

    Neal -> It’s still a bit early, but only because of the historical context from which it is derived.

    (ex. The Big Three nickname works for the Celtics in context of this season but is a HORRIBLE moniker when considering the history of the team and the three players the nickname draws comparisons to)


    DT’s old school approach will drive us into the future. As “the only MLB coach that never played professionally” he sure as hell knows how the game is supposed to be played. It’s early yet, but right now he’s in my book, right under Torre, Leyland and Francona.

    Come on Drew, with the Groundhog Day uniform griping…I keep waking up to the same jive on this blog…it’s been years now.


    Oh yeah…BASEBALL!

    I love baseball!

    How about them O’s?

  • neal s

    Seriously, Drew, you’re getting dangerously close to Hillary Clinton territory with this uniform thing.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Well hold on.

    I want very badly to see the uniforms change and there is, in fact, no reason why the uniforms shouldn’t be changed last Thursday! I’m not going to fault Drew for prodding the subject frequently at all – because it’s ridiculous that it’s still not fixed!

    What I took offense to is that he brought it up while we’re celebrating a big win as if to rain on the Orioles because he doesn’t like certain things about how they’re run…which we weren’t talking about and which are irrelevant to the big win yesterday. But I would be very, very hesitant to get angry that he brings up the uniform thing everyday (even if he said he was going to not bring it up until June 1, but I digress) – because goddamnit, it should be fixed already.

  • df1570

    My bad Neal.

    I forgot…since you don’t criticize the team’s front office (for fear of harming any relationships you might have, I suppose), you bristle anytime anyone else does.

    I wish I had Hillary’s money.

  • df1570

    BTW, Andrew, I celebrated right along with you all morning on my show…called the Yankees quitters for throwing in the towel after the 2nd inning last night…cited Hawkins as “bush-league” for throwing at Scott…and, in general, reveled in N.Y’s misery.

    However, whereas some of you – like Joe, apparently, cling to every win like its the last one they’ll ever have, I try to keep in mind that the club isn’t anywhere remotely close to wriggling itself free from their obligation to the fans of the team in BALTIMORE who have kept the team alive for 54 years.

    One win in May won’t convince me that their misgivings should be overlooked, even for a day.

    Now, if that “jive” is Groundhog Day’ish, blame THAT on the charlatans who haven’t fixed things…not on me.

    6-1 O’s tonight. Bet the under.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    I have no big problems with how you operate Drew – I just think that you bring up the uniform or something else everyday and of course it’s not going to change tomorrow. It’s just becoming a tired thing really. Like I said, I’ll be right there yelling on June 1, but right now let’s just talk on the field baseball and maybe the draft. You’re a radio guy, you talk about what the people who talk to you want to talk about. I get the feeling here that we want to talk about baseball and not the many acknowledged problems of the Orioles.

    Tonight – the Janqs cannot hit lefties and have never seen Olson…I get the feeling that we might be in for a game because Rasner’s been real, real good. So I’d bet the under, too.

    Most important thing is to get Rasner out early and hammer that weak, tired bullpen some more. Ohlendorf and Ramirez are probably out tonight, and Hawkins, Farnsworth, Chamberlain, and Rivera are all 1 inning guys. Don’t forget tomorrow is Kennedy, and the bullpen will almost certainly factor into that game, too. Anyway, 2 of 3 looks pretty good so far.

  • neal s

    I forgot…since you don’t criticize the team’s front office (for fear of harming any relationships you might have, I suppose), you bristle anytime anyone else does..

    You’d have to be dumb to say something like that and mean it, and I know for a fact you’re not dumb. So, props for keeping a good sense of humor about things.

    Meanwhile, it looks like the Janqs regained their footing tonight. I kinda saw this one coming, but it does nothing to diminish the joy of last night’s win. The important thing is winning as many series’ as possible, so Thursday’s game (assuming no comeback tonight) looks pretty big. I think Burres will be up to the task.

  • df1570

    I don’t know…I think I am kind of dumb. I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my life. I missed a 3 foot putt once (it was downhill and a slice putt…those are hard for right handed putters) that cost me a trip to the U.S. Amateur in New Jersey…maybe that wasn’t DUMB – it was just a bad read – but I thought I was dumb for missing it, at the time. A long time ago, I bought two copies of The Doors – “Morrison Hotel” – because I forgot I had a copy in the first place. That was dumb. I had a chance to buy a really small share (maybe $3k worth) of UPS stock back in ’03 but I didn’t. Dumb. I KNEW the Giants were going to cover in the Super Bowl last February – I just fucking KNEW it – but I didn’t bet it. Dumb x 2.

    So, don’t rush to judgement on me. I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my life.

    I sorta, kinda, wasn’t joking though…about the whole “you don’t criticize the team” thing.

    You don’t, Neal.

    You make luke warm stabs at them, but the knives you use aren’t sharp enough to draw blood. I’ve never, ever seen you take a stand against them – a rightful one – that would get you in hot water with the powers-that-be at The Warehouse if they read it…and, believe me, I know from first hand experience that they read EVERYTHING and think they have a divine right to guide you on what you should say about the team, and shouldn’t.

    You don’t want to field those calls and e-mails, trust me. I have a file full of threatening and mean-spirited shit they’ve said and/or sent to me.

    The O’s have poop-shooted the people in Baltimore for the last decade or so but I’ve never, ever, REALLY seen you take them to task for it.

    You have to do what you have to do to keep your site going and keep people interested and, of course, engaged, so I fully understand you can’t possibly come across as an Oriole basher. I honestly DO get that.

    At the same time, though, when you beat up other people for rightfully demanding that they treat the fans right (for once), all you’re really doing is exposing yourself as a guy who would rather stay in the pleasure palace with the team than to speak out on what’s right and what’s wrong.

    But, it’s your site. And, you’ve worked awfully hard on it and, for the most part, it’s a helluva place for the faithful to gather.

    I don’t blame you for not wanting to fuck it up.

    Even if you have to go against the truth.

    Every team in America (regardless of the sport) has a site or blog page just like this one where the REAL die hard fans gather and revel in wins and cry over losses…I’ve said this a lot and I’ll say it again and again. All of you cats deserve medals the way you’ve provided blind love and faith for this team. God Bless each of you. Every team in America has fans just like you. They’re few and far between, but you’re all out there.

    I guess the O’s and the under wasn’t a good bet tonight, huh?

    See, I told you I’ve done a lot of dumb things.

  • df1570

    Well, I’m not THAT dumb.

    I had the “under” right. lol

  • neal s

    There are different ways of going about things, Drew, and I’m happy with mine. I’m not going to get into a tete-a-tete about it. I have no relationship with the team other than casual emails here and there. I say what I mean, the way I mean it. That’s it.

    One thing though: you’re way too close here to impugning my integrity. If that’s your intention then state it outright. If that’s not your intention, be a little more careful next time. I’m cool either way.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    …in happier news, let’s examine the Frederick Keys game tonight.

    Arrieta throws eight innings of 3 hit ball with 2 walks and 5 Ks and a pickoff?

    Wieters gets his 30th RBI with a single and catches a guy stealing?

    Rowell gets a 2 run homer?

    Synder doubles?

    The Keys are just playing excellent baseball, huh? AND Tim Bascom just came back, making the rotation that much stronger. Very cool stuff indeed.

  • neal s

    I think we’re going to look back on last year’s draft in a few years and wonder how in the hell we managed to snag both Arrieta and Wieters. I realize it’s way too early to project them both as MLB stars, but they’re as close to “sure things” as they can get at this stage.

    Boras, of course, is the X-factor, but even if we can’t keep them I’m sure we can flip one or both for top-level prospects and work things like the A’s do. The health of the team at the time will decide which road we take, but it seems right now like we’ll probably be looking at a win-win.

  • dan the man

    Whether or not Neal “takes the Orioles to task” is really his decision, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s he’s wrong in not doing so. It just means it’s not priority number 1 around here. We’re all aware of the Orioles and their “poop shooting”, and you’re role, Drew, is to make poeple aware of that.

    You have succeeded. Greatly. And honestly, it’s a good thing to have a guy like you out there to do all that. And you have revelled in the P’s

    But bashing the Orioles marketing/organizational decisions is not, and should not be, a prerequisite for being an Orioles fan, or a Baltimore sports enthusiast, or a blogger. Especially when it’s all been said before and when the team (and the organization, I firmly believe) is on the up and up.

  • dan the man

    And regarding “Why Not”… it’s way too early. I agree that we have to see if there are any Oriole survivors after this monster AL East battle. And where the rest of the AL East teams stand, as well.

    It’s intriguing that Drew thinks the Rays aren’t for real. Don’t they have to be more for real than the O’s with all that young talent, the good starting pitching (we’re talking Kaz, Shields, Sonnanstine, Jackson) and bullpen? I guess we’ll see, but they sure are scary at the moment.

    We should beat the Yankees tonight unless Burres shits the bed randomly. I felt that bad Olson start coming a mile away – at least he gets to try again against the Yanks in Baltimore.

  • Joe the Guy

    The Sherrill article on the espn website made me think about the “inevitable july firesale” everyone seems to the think O’s are still going through with.

    Which would you rather see moved:

    1) Talented guys – trading these guys could net some real deal returns, at the expense of the 08 team

    Roberts, Sherill

    2) DW guys – these guys are overpaid, ineffective, or blocking a prospect, moving them would probably help the 08 team but would likely yield little return

    Payton, Millar, Huff, Trachsel

    -> Not exactly which INDIVIDUALS you’d like to see moved, but which STRATEGY should we approach the deadline with

    of course the third option is:

    -This team is playing way above expectations, don’t trade anyone instead 1) let it play out 2) analyze 3) diagnosis 4) continue to repair in the offseason

    maybe it’s not as B&W as door #1, #2 or #3 but what do you guys think?

  • Andrew in Rochester

    If you can get a good deal (and that’s super important) anyone except Markakis, Jones, Guthrie, Johnson, and Olson should be moved. Literally everyone else is expendable for the right deal.

    If we can get rid of Huff at the price of moving Roberts and netting some above average prospects (but not a ruly outstanding package, mind you)…well, I don’t know. At worst, we’ll have Huff next year and be rid of him. As it is, Millar and Payton most likely will be long gone by April ’09 anyway, and those two represent some of the worst hitting on the team thus far (albeit they add a certain amount of clutch or funness to the team…but that stuff’s overvalued anyway).

    I don’t expect a firesale, because I don’t think there’s going to be a team (maybe the Cards, ‘Stros, Trolleydodgers, White Sox…maybe those four) that’s gonna give up goods for Roberts this year. I think the value of prospects has gone up considerably in the past 2 years or so and teams won’t be as willing to deal for – really – accessories to a winning team.

  • dan the man

    Moving Sherrill would be a stupid, stupid thing to do. And no one apparently knows this except the Orioles. There’s no way he’s dealt.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    …except for the right package. Right, Dan?

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