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Orioles 2010: Pain Don’t Hurt

Awhile back we tossed around the notion of a theme for this year’s Orioles. There were some good suggestions, too, but nothing really stuck and the conversation fizzled. Which is probably as it should be. We were jumping the gun. A theme can only emerge when you know what you’ve got.

Now we do, and one has: Pain Don’t Hurt

As in:

This came about at the game Thursday night in conversation with semi-regular commenters ryan97ou and sci. We were talking about what an ugly game it was and how we had started to become numb to the team’s struggles. We talked about how that’s not the same as either enjoying the struggle or not caring, and about how we were moving to a point where we could accept it for what it is. Much like Dalton in Road House, we would reach a point where our participation in violence and struggle would be understood but never confused — internally or externally — with an endorsement of the same.

Do you enjoy watching the Orioles lose?
Watching the Orioles lose don’t hurt.

More broadly, the notion is this: we must reach that place where we focus not on outcomes (wins, losses) but instead on moments. Whatever is happening before us, that is the game. We must approach the Orioles with neither expectations nor judgment. Ideally, we arrive at a point where there is no “last night’s game” or “next season” — only what there is.

Keep all that in mind as the Red Sox barrel into town this weekend. This thread will serve as a catch-all for not only all three games, but Big Questions as well.

Enjoy yourselves. Be safe (but only as much as necessary).

46 comments to Orioles 2010: Pain Don’t Hurt

  • ryan97ou

    i never knew being an O’s fan could lead to such deep philosophical exploration.

    lets hope pain don’t hurt tonight, as i will be at my 5th game, and still have yet to see a victory…

  • dan the man

    It’s like, you’re kind of just watching to see what the next step is. Like.. ok, the O’s are terrible right now. More terrible than we could have expected. Now what? I find myself watching and listening, arms folded, kind of dumbfounded, but indeed without pain at this point. O’s fans are in a holding pattern. The plan has not worked as of yet and yet it’s hard to place blame on said plan. And so we watch and wait.

  • sci

    Beautiful. I love Road House so much.

    This is simply a sanity-preserver for this season. We must live in the moment and appreciate each thing for what it is, hoping that there is constant development and movement forward rather than backtracking. Worrying about the accumulating losses will make you lose your mind.

    There were about 20 looping, lazy fly ball outs by the Orioles last night. It was a sad, incredibly boring display, so our minds turned to deeper philosophical queries.

  • Greg

    I learned about this in sophomore year of college… psych 101. I think it’s relevant to Oriole fans: Learned Helplessness

  • Dan H

    @ Greg:
    Section 1.1 is SELIGMAN AND MAIER. How incredibly ironic when related to the Orioles woes.

  • neal s

    @ Greg: Pain Don’t Hurt is proposed as an antidote to this very affliction.

  • neal s

    That, my friends, was a hell of a win. For a moment there it felt like the first half of ’05 all over again.

    There’s plenty to take away but the thing that stands out for me is the performance of much-discussed Adam Jones. 3-5 with two runs scored, including the game-winner after a nice opposite field double in the tenth.

    I’m not going to make any large predictions based on one game but it was nice to see him get on track tonight. It’s got to start somewhere. All of it has to start somewhere.

    PS – Markakis is quietly hitting .284 and Tejada (who was the unquestioned Man tonight) is hitting .293. Signs of life.

    Back at it tomorrow with Bergesen vs Matsuzaka.

  • Greg

    @ neal s: Get with the times man; batting average is out and OBP is the new black.

    And you had better be hovering around .350 to be considered worth a damn.

  • Mike R

    That was a great win. To get ahead early, to come back in the eighth, with a big fly, to go on and win it. Nice game.

    Tomorrow will for sure be interesting. How will Dice K pitch after much time off, and has Bergy worked out the kinks? Dice K even when he is healthy has walked a ton of guys. Taking pitches is not our forte. But I think taking pitches, getting walks, and getting our hitters ahead in the count will be the key to the game. If Bergy gets us a quality start of course.

    Oh yeah, and Garrett Atkins should be benched indefinitely, or pinch hit for immediatly with RISP. Talk about a rally killer time after time.

    GO O’s! Lets win a series!

  • Andrew

    I was trying to figure out who would get cut to make room for Bergesen today, and I figured the most likely guy is Albers, since nobody needs an 8-man bullpen and Castillo’s been great. But for the life of me I can’t figure out what Garret Atkins brings to this team anymore. He’s not a defensive player, he’s not a bat off the bench, he’s really not a viable starting option. He’s fucking terrible, and with his history of declining, which so far he’s fitting right into, you’d have to be completely nuts to think he’s going to bounce back.

    Boy, if the Orioles DFA Atkins instead of Albers today, I’ll take back almost every bad thing I had to say about MacPhail’s winter.

  • Andrew

    @ Greg:
    I love you Greg. Serious kudos to you for fighting the good fight. Of course, Miggi and Markakis and Wieters are all quietly doing pretty well in the OBP department. Tejada’s right at his career mark of .341.

  • sci

    @ Andrew:
    I doubt they’ll DFA Atkins, but they really should. He should be let go just for that double play with the bases loaded and no outs. Given the situation, the count (1-0), the pitch he swung at, and the Orioles need for runs, that might have been the worst at-bat I’ve ever seen. He is a useless player on this team right now, and in the future he gets even more useless. If/when Roberts comes back, do you think Atkins is at 1B over the combo of Hughes and Wigginton? Not a chance. And he certainly doesn’t sniff 3B with Tejada playing like he is.

    Nice win last night, but the walks were brutal. Hernandez is walking a really thin line right now.

    So Atkins and Gonzalez have certainly been terrible pick-ups so far, but we have to give some credit for the Tejada pick-up. He’s been huge.

  • dan the man

    To back up Neal a little bit on the batting average thing, it’s still a meaningful stat when you’re hitting fucking .200. I don’t care if you’re getting on base at a .380 clip with walks, you have to hit to win. An empty .300 batting average is no good when that’s also your OBP – I definitely agree with that. But OBP is not the end-all, be-all if you can’t drive in a run or get extra bases ever.

    Anyway, good fucking win. This team needed a walk-off and there’s nothing like some classic Miggi heroics.

  • Andrew

    @ dan the man:
    I don’t think anybody doesn’t think BA isn’t important, but it’s been proven that OBP has a much higher correlation with Runs Scored than BA. Of course you are right in that neither stat is the be-all end-all, but wOBA hasn’t quite caught on yet.

  • dan the man

    @ neal s:
    Damn, good catch…

  • dan the man

    Anyone going to the game tonight? I’ll be there with a giant bachelor party crowd for my buddy. Should be some good heckling going on. And as Mike R said, it’s a really interesting game with there being a storyline for each starting pitcher. Dice-K is beatable, it’s up to the Cookie to return to form.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    think i’m going to a game this week!!!!!!!

    first time since like, b.j. surhoff was in left field.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    it actually might have been the game where me and poster ryan were able to smuggle a full 12 pack of natty boh in and drink it in the empty upperdeck.

  • Andrew

    I don’t know how Brad Bergesen saying “I don’t have confidence in my sinker because it doesn’t sink” makes it a “confidence problem”

  • Tomás

    of course the one time the O’s have a blow out game AGAINST THE SOX OF COURSE, friggin’ P2P player isn’t working.

    Oh well…GO O’S!

  • Wyatt in Jacksonville

    I think I hear that bachelor party backing up Joe Angel on my XM…

  • Tomás

    wow…so we’ve gone from having won 3 games before this Sawks/Yankees/Sawks run to now having won 6 games total and on the verge of SWEEPING the Sawks.

    Good grief.

  • Greg

    @ dan the man: Sorry dude, if you have a .200 BA and .400 OBP… you are kicking ass in the walk department (e.g. Nick Marakakis). Batting average doesnt mean shit anymore. Baseball is about getting on base, and BA is a worthless stat. Everything you need to know about a player can be told by his OBP and SLG%.

    Time to let batting average go.

  • Mike R

    2009:

    Player X has OBP of .395, BA of .298
    Player Y had OBP of .389, BA of .320
    Player Z had OBP of .385, BA of .352

    Who do you want on your team…

    Player X is Chone Figgins, Player Y is Jason Bartlett, Player Z is Ichiro. Give me my pick, i’ll take Ichiro everyday of the week and twice on sunday. You cant say batting average doesnt matter. And the correlation of runs to OBP has to do with solely whos hitting behind him. There’s more situations when you need a clutch hit than a clutch walk. And Sabremetrics are dumb. Billy Beane, GM of the A’s is a sabremetrics guru, and look how many championships they’ve won lately building a team around ridiculous stats that nerds made up. You’ll never see a guy batting .125 and be like “But his wOBA, or BABIP, or VORP is off the charts.”

    Anyways, way to go O’s. Thats what I had in mind for the offense when the season started. Now lets get Millwood a much deserved W, and a SWEEP!!

  • Andrew

    @ Mike R:
    Wow. The amount of dumb in there is really confounding. I mean, wow. Is this even worth picking apart? I mean, this is like embracing the dark ages right here. It’s offensive. Seriously, it really is.

  • dan the man

    Clearly, BA is not completely useless. But it’s also definitely should not be the biggest measuring stick with which to evaluate a player. But I maintain that you can’t win with walks. It’s great to get on base, but getting on base via hits is part of OBP. And you can’t drive in very many runs batting .120, even you have a .400 OBP from walks. You can’t just separate the two stats completely.

    ANYWAY.

    What a game to have been at last night. I was legitimately depressed while it was 4-1 and feeling like a visitor in my own ballpark. I hate that. Oh, but then the glory that ensued.

    How crazy ridiculous absurdly hot is Ty Wigginton? 11 jacks? For real? He looks trimmer and he’s not jumping out of his shoes with every swing like he was last year. Baseball is a funny game.

  • Andrew

    @ dan the man:
    Yeah, I have no interest in this fight again around these parts. But come on people. Don’t criticize what you can’t understand. And while Mark’s point about the separation in value between hits and walks is an astute one, he a) doesn’t bring extra base hits into the equation, which are obviously super important, and b) says a whole bunch of absurdist nonsense about the fundamentals of advanced stats that show he clearly has no fucking clue what he’s talking about.

    To be clear: I agree with his initial point, even though it is completely incomplete. Everything after that is really just insulting to who I am as a baseball fan, and that’s what has me hot and bothered.

    Fuck. I’m heading to my parents house for some beer and crabs and sunshine and baseball. And I need to buy a broom, ironically enough. I’ll come back all calmed down and chill I’m sure.

  • dan the man

    Why did I say 11 jacks? It’s 8.

  • Tomás

    @ dan the man: Maybe it will be 11 after today. lol

    Tatum just made a sweet play to throw Pedroia out at 1st on a swinging bunt. It was so fluid and fast I thought it was Weiters. Dang it was beautiful.

  • dan the man

    I’m sort of mystified at how Kevin Millwood is so effective. He clearly likes to pitch up in the zone and yet hitters just never seem to get real good contact on him with exception of the couple of pitches he tends to groove each start. But he’s a horse, man. He’s been great.

  • dan the man

    What a throw by Nolan! I can’t believe Francona didn’t pinch run for Varitek..hhahaha

  • Miles

    dan the man wrote:

    What a throw by Nolan! I can’t believe Francona didn’t pinch run for Varitek..hhahaha

    What Dan said. That was a cannonball!

  • dan the man

    Jones is starting to go the other way. Finally. Keep it up, Jonesy.

  • dan the man

    Love the call for Ty to bunt. That’s fucking baseball. Where has this been all April?

  • dan the man

    Well shit, now that doesn’t look so good, does it? Damn.

  • Kevin

    SWEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dan the man

    All those expensive ass plane tickets and hotel rooms.

    http://www.sadtrombone.com

    Fenway South my ass, go on home now.

  • Andrew

    @ dan the man:
    my dad and I were pretty livid that Wiggy bunted there and then Wieters wasn’t called in to pinch hit for Luke. You can call it “fucking baseball” but I thought it wasn’t too bright. Let your best hitter hit with a runner in scoring position!

  • Miles

    I’m flying to Manchester, NH in about an hour. Any suggestions on how to properly celebrate?

  • dan the man

    @ Andrew:
    I completely get that, and it was a tough call. I thought that move might have been better used earlier in the month when the O’s couldn’t buy a run and they had some opportunities to bunt guys over and didn’t. This time, DT finally did, but you’re probably right – Wiggy is red hot. Still, in a 2-2 ball game in the later innings, you’d like to make sure you get that run. Didn’t work out, but kudos to Dave for letting Ty hit in the 10th.

    My point is basically.. it seems like Dave is doing all the things we wanted him to do, but a little late. Markakis in the 2-hole, not making the match-up pitching change with Ohman today (I thought that was cool when he went out and turned right back around), bunting guys over, etc. Credit, I guess, to Dave leaving Jones in the leadoff spot. He’s looked a little better and a little more patient. While that obviously still doesn’t make him the best candidate to leadoff, you have to wonder if Dave showing confidence in Jones in that spot may have been a good idea.

    Anyway – who cares about all that. We beat the Red Sox. Straight up outplayed them. Winning cures a lot and it sure seems like the O’s believe they can win now instead of expecting to lose.

  • Greg

    Ohman has been pretty effective; he still hasn’t given up an earned run yet. I’m curious to know why they use him so sparingly though.

  • Andrew

    @ dan the man:
    Truer words, my friend. Truer words.

  • Mike R

    @ Andrew:

    We’re all O’s fans, I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers. Especially on a day when we swept the sox right out of town. Which was “wicked retahded”. And your right, I dont understand most sabermetrics. (BABIP: Batting average on balls in play? Is that a batting average where your not penalized for reaching on error, or fielders choice?) Most players BABIP cant be that much higher than their BA, right? But BA is so very important. The triple crown is HR’s, RBI’s, and BA. I dont need to look at any number of sabremetric stats to know how much player A sucks, or how gret player B is. But thats just me. I watch the games, I read the box scores, and I see through that whos been hot, and whos been cold. But thats just me, and I don’t mean to knock how you follow the game. The way you follow it is fine. But it’s a little much for me. If I’m a manager, and in need of a hit, I want the guy at the plate with the .300 average and the .350 OBP. Not the .250 avg and the .350 OBP.

    Like I said , we’re all O’s fans here, and if I met a fellow O’s fan in person i’d embrace them. Last thing I wanna do is create hostility amongst fellow O’s fans.

  • Andrew

    @ Mike R:
    Fair enough. I’m something of a hothead when it comes to it, probably because sabermetrics is absolutely the prism I view the game through, and anyone (and there are a lot of them) who criticizes that prism is therefore criticizing me. So I apologize, and you’re right: no reason to get upset on a good day like this.

    BABiP, by the way, is in indeed Batting average on balls in play, taking away strikeouts and home runs. It’s more useful for pitchers, where they have little control and BABiPs stabilize at .300. A high BABiP or a low BABiP can indicate a pitcher who is simply pitching unluckily or luckily as opposed to bad or good.

  • Greg

    @ Mike R: The Triple Crown was created decades before anyone even thought about OBP, so that’s not a very good argument, and niether is “I don’t understand sabermetrics so they must not be legitimate”.

    Additionally, to say that Billy Beane– using his OBP method of scouting– was an utter failure because he didn’t win any championships is also ridiculous. The entire concept of OBP and how Beane used it, as written about in Moneyball, wasn’t about championship winning; it was about taking a payroll of $30M and using a little known and undervalued statistic to identify and develop cheap talent without raising costs. As a result, since taking over in 1998 he’s been to the playoffs five times and set a huge precedent in sabermetric player evaluations as we know them today.

    Batting average can only take you so far: it’s the percentage of times a player gets a hit per at bat. OBP takes it further; that will tell us batting average plus walks taken. Add in slugging and then we can find out if he’s hitting homeruns or slapping singles. Each stat tells a story. But I really think you’ll find that OBP is best measurement of a players ability because it’s the measure of outs that a player is not making. Earl Weaver would shit himself if he had OBP in his corner back then.