It’s unique to enter a baseball season so certain of a team’s ineptitude. If you’ve been a Baltimore Orioles fan for any amount of time, you know what it’s like to brace yourself for losing at Camden Yards and beyond. But even amidst the many dark days of Orioles seasons past, we fans held onto a sliver of hope.
In days past, we kept a belief in Orioles Magic in our hearts and the tune to Orioles Magic in our heads. In 2019 … there is no hope.
The team will celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Why Not?” in August. “Why Not?” was originally an incomplete sentence, as in “Why Not Us?” These days, it’s a death sentence.
There are many reasons why not, so many in fact that the oddsmakers are setting all-time low win totals for the O’s, which leads to fun headlines like this: “There are a few (crazy) people placing wagers on the Orioles to win the World Series in 2019.”
Well, for what it’s worth, Seal did warn us that we’re never going to survive unless we are a little crazy.
We’re entering the wilderness of the Orioles’ rebuild in the hopes of ultimately reaching baseball’s promised land. If you’re a part of that journey (and if you’re reading this, you surely must be), I ask, “What’s in your 2019 Baltimore Orioles survival kit?”
Here’s what’s in mine:
I enjoyed the opportunity to check-in this week with the fine gentlemen over at Birds Eye View for my annual March podcast interview. It has become a rite of spring.
The actual Rite of Spring is Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, the debut of which has been described as follows: “It began with a bassoon and ended in a brawl.”
I can’t promise anything as exciting as bassoons and brawls. Highbrow it is not. I still think it’s worth a listen.
Earlier this week I shared my appreciation for Adam Jones, who has joined the Arizona Diamondbacks for the 2019 baseball season.
I had the chance to talk more about Jones’ legacy in Baltimore and examine the question of whether the Orioles should retire his number during a guest spot on the Locked On Orioles podcast.
Give the podcast a listen. Maybe we can get some traction for the idea to name the Camden Yards Centerfield Bar after the Cap10.
Adam Jones (Photo Credit: Norm Schimmel)
I don’t own an Adam Jones jersey, autographed baseball, bobblehead, or glossy photo. There is no tangible evidence to be found in my home of my appreciation for the player who brought the charm back to Charm City baseball. Still, the Cap10 leaves Baltimore as my favorite player of the Buckle Up/We Won’t Stop era. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Adam Jones didn’t promote his embrace of the city where he played. He was the antidote to Bryce Harper telling Philly he wants bring a title back to D.C. There was never any confusing what mattered to Jones. His actions spoke. Loudly. Clearly.
AJ didn’t tell us he loved Baltimore; he simply set about making it a better place. Granted, when something needed to be said, he stood up and was counted. His postgame interviews were where cliches went to die. One game at a time? Not hardly, slapdick.
Jones produced waves in 2014 when he told fans at Social Media Night that his favorite place in Baltimore was the airport so he could fly home. One attendee said to WJZ, “I’m taking this thing pretty seriously. No pies for you until you apologize.” Less than a month later, Jones mashed pies into fans’ delirious faces in the most memorable Camden Yards scene since the Ironman took a victory lap.
Orioles fans were starving for a winner in the post-Ironman era. We were starving for a new hero. Adam Jones ensured that we didn’t stay hungry much longer.
He never called himself Mr. Baltimore. By the end, others did.
Bryce Harper won’t be playing in Baltimore this season. Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a 13-year, $330 million contract on Thursday.
Wait, you don’t think I was suggesting that Harper might have signed with the Orioles, do you? We all knew he was never going to contain that audacious hair flip under a cartoon bird cap.
The news here is that Harper’s annual visits to Baltimore are taking a pause. He won’t visit Camden Yards again until the Interleague schedule pits the O’s against the N.L. East. Until then, O’s fans will continue waiting for the big Bryce Harper moment.
Okay, to be entirely accurate, Harper could visit Camden Yards prior to Philadelphia’s next trip to Baltimore. For example, perhaps he’ll take a ballpark tour to see all of the Eutaw Street baseballs that don’t bear his name. Adam Dunn and Roger Bernadina are the only Washington Nationals players represented on the walkway.
My personal obsession with Eutaw Street home runs aside, why do all of those blasts not by Bryce Harper matter? Here’s why: The big Bryce Harper moment in Baltimore, like the team’s long presumed rivalry with the Nationals, never really arrived.
Orioles legend Frank Robinson has died. Many words will be shared about the Hall of Famer, whose stature in baseball history is undeniable. Here are some meaningful words, including Robinson’s own, with a local flavor courtesy of WBAL. You can also watch his Hall of Fame speech in the video above.
I never had the pleasure of watching Frank Robinson play baseball; he debuted as the sport’s first black manager just days after I was born. I couldn’t rightfully claim to be a Baltimore Orioles fan, however, without knowing something about him.
They don’t build statues in baseball stadiums of guys they want you to forget. (And three teams – the Orioles, Reds, and Indians – have done so for Robinson.)
The Baltimore Orioles‘ remaining paths of intrigue following a 115-loss 2018 season have been traveled.
O’s fans will “Walk With Elias” as the team’s executive vice President and general manager and sail with Brandon Hyde as the skipper. There’s nothing left to do now except, ahem, Buckle Up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
With Hot Stove intrigue in Baltimore ranking lower than the team’s likely attendance figures for 2019, let’s revisit a time when our beloved contenders were chasing baseball’s “top free agent.”
Hop in the Wayback Machine with me and set the dial for 2015 to see what people were saying about the Orioles’ pursuit of Chris Davis.