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The Biggest Orioles Games In a Generation (Or More)

We Orioles fans can be a nostalgic bunch. This is to our credit.

We remember Memorial Stadium and we pay due homage to names like Palmer, Robinson, Ripken, Powell, and Weaver. And we don’t limit it to the best of the best — names like Bordick and Anderson get their due as well. One of the best things about baseball in Baltimore is that our history is never far away.

History, however, cuts both ways. The past 15 years have chipped away at what this team means both to the community and to baseball as a whole. Success has become a distant memory, so much so that an entire generation of young fans grew up completely disconnected from the idea that the Orioles could be great. They know the old names, but they have no idea what it feels like to watch winning baseball.

To take it one step further, even 1996-97 was something of a tease. I was a fan during those years but they kind of came and went. They were awesome, don’t get me wrong, but they don’t carry the weight they should when viewed in broad context.

Through that prism I think it’s safe to say that the next six games are the most important games the Orioles franchise has played in a generation. If not longer.

For this team to make the playoffs in 2012 would be a far more significant accomplishment than it was in ’96 or ’97. Those teams were supposed to be good. And, if anything, the franchise’s lack of follow-through on those seasons tarnishes the legacy. Were you paying attention in ’98 when they brought in Doug Drabek, Norm Charlton, and Joe Carter? If not, lucky you.

Everything about 2012 is different. This team is built the right way. We didn’t expect them to be this good but, now that they are, it’s easy to love them for it. It’s one of the most amazing sports stories we’ve ever seen, right?

In that sense — both what they’ve accomplished and how they’ve accomplished it — this season represents a chance for the Orioles to reverse very damaging, long-term trends.

Making the playoffs will not alone be enough. They’ll have to make sure that 2013 is not 1998. But it starts by getting in. Wild Card, division title, whatever. Just get there. Doing so would not only be the cherry on top of an already incredible season, it might just be the hard stop on negativity and the birth of a new and much-needed era for Baltimore baseball.

Six games.

(photo via Flickr user Keith Allison)

8 comments to The Biggest Orioles Games In a Generation (Or More)

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    agree with all of that.

    gonzalez…or tillman. final answer.

    i still can’t believe this is happening.

  • neal s

    Big Ben’s Motorcycle wrote:

    i still can’t believe this is happening.

    Man, tell me about it. It doesn’t feel real.

    As of today, I think if it comes down to one Wild Card game I view Tillman and Gonzalez as equals. Give me whichever one fits best in terms of regular rest and routine. Then, get the other guy into the bullpen and ready to go if needed.

    How crazy is it that we’re at the spot we’re at and those are the two guys we’re talking about? Seriously. Just think about it.

  • Miles

    The stadium shook when Flaherty hit his grand slam.

    Flaherty.

    The guy who struck out with the bases loaded on Sunday.

    Flaherty.

    The guy who lofted a lazy fly on the first pitch he saw with the bases loaded on Tuesday night.

    Ryan f**king Flaherty.

    I love this team.

  • g

    Was in Boston last night watching the Birds at a bar before a Corin Tucker Band show. Watched Posednick get the one hit (one!) and eventually score. Really didn’t think much of it because I knew Aaron Cook was (is) meat. And hot damn!!! The feast was on!!! There was a table a O’s fans not far from where I was watching and after Ryan hit that granny it was all I could not to run up and hug each and every one of them! High-fives sufficed.

    I said at the onset of this season: .500 ball is all I want.

    This is just all too much. From hitting the slide in 79 games 5-7 to supreme joy in 83 to acute disappointment in 96 to the Dark Years (can they be gone? please??)…to this? I used to constantly defend my team against all my Sox buddies saying, “but they were so good when I was a kid!!” Now, no excuses needed.

    Man, I think I need to go listen to Manager’s Corner about 7 times.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    THERE IT IS YANKEES LOSE

  • dan the man

    I don’t that I’ve ever seen a 3B make the plays that Machado can make. Mora on occasion, Brooks obviously, maybe Cal. But like that’s it. Kid is legit.

    Tied for 1st. 90+ wins. 4 games left. Can clinch postseason tomorrow if things fall right. WHAT IS GOING ON

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    i should be happy but EVERY FUCKING TEAM IS WINNING OR LOSING IN THE EXACT ORDER TO GIVE ME A HEART ATTACK THE NEXT THREE DAYS

  • dan the man

    And the O’s are in the playoffs. Amazing.