If you’re in your 30s, or even younger, and you’re still a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, you qualify as a dedicated fan. A diehard even. Words like bandwagon and front runner do not apply. That’s because any Orioles fan born in 1974 or later has seen more losing than winning on the baseball diamond.
You have to go back to 1973 before the Orioles’ cumulative record through 2010 reaches .500. Since 1973, when Baltimore posted a 97-65 mark – the O’s have gone 3,013-3,005 overall.
Obviously, this cumulative misery has been weighed down greatly by the team’s current stretch of losing seasons. For example, the Orioles won 90 games the year I was born and didn’t experience a losing season until I was 11. During that span the Orioles won 90 or more games seven times and 100 games twice. Things looked so promising. But it’s just like a bird to go South. The Orioles’ cumulative record during my lifetime is 2,825-2,869 (.496).
Perhaps (hopefully) current teenagers will have the exact opposite luck that I’ve had as an Orioles fan. Bird backers born in 1998 – they either have turned or will turn 13 this year – have never seen a winning baseball season. The O’s are 921-1183 (.437) in that span.
So while dads can tell their sons about having to walk several miles in the snow to school – uphill no less – they can’t exaggerate their agony as baseball fans. Those tall tales belong to the young. But take heart, the Orioles are still a winning franchise overall: 4,617-4,405 (.511). And if you’re in your late 50’s, you can honestly say you’ve seen it all.
How have the Orioles done during your lifetime? Check the spreadsheet to find out.