O’s score a moral victory and an actual victory to boot
By Matthew Taylor
Apparently some of the 16,000-plus fans at last night’s game were unhappy that the O’s decided to bench a few regulars in favor of younger players.
The arguments expressed in today’s edition of The Sun remind me of Peter Angelos’s rationalization back in the late ‘90s for not trading away aging, high-priced players in exchange for young talent. In short, the thinking goes, the fans paid to see the big names no matter how poorly they’re doing. I would argue instead that I want to see the guys with the most passion regardless of their pay grade.
One game doesn’t prove anything, even if it was a 3-0 shutout victory over a first place team and a potential Cy Young candidate. Nevertheless, it’s hard to argue with Dave Trembley’s decision to light a fire under his moribund team by revamping the lineup. The players practically tell you that themselves, whether they intend to or not.
Just compare the comments from Wednesday night’s 18-6 loss with those that came after Thursday’s 3-0 victory.
Jay Payton: “It’s pretty miserable, to be honest with you. It’s bottom of the barrel right now. I don’t think it can get a whole lot worse than it is right now. … I’ve been with six different teams and I’ve never been through anything like this.”
Melvin Mora: “This is the worst [stretch] ever in all the years I’ve been here and the worst ever in my life. The worst.”
The lead of this story says it all: “Wednesday’s game was a perfect example of what happens when a team going places meets one about to go on vacation.”
Brandon Fahey: “It was a blast. All the backup guys, we’re all out there and we all played hard. It was a blast, maybe the most fun game of my life.”
Jon Leicester: “I’m having a good time out there and trying to keep our team in the game. I was just trying to get them to swing the bat early, and the defense was amazing for me.”
After an error-filled contest the night before, you simply had to watch some of the O’s early defensive gems on Thursday, including Luis Hernandez’s diving snare of Vladimir Guerrero’s third inning grounder, to know that for one night at least, the names on the jersey didn’t matter.