Listening to this mornings sports shows, especially on satellite XM and what you will be hearing is how the Baltimore Orioles suddenly have the largest lead in any of baseball's 6 divisions. People are starting to take notice of this team that is 9 games over .500 within their division; wins one run games; wins in extra innings; has a very good bullpen; and is starting to mold a decent starting rotation. Toss in that they aren't getting fat by beating the bottom dwellers....they are beating baseball's top teams. And they are doing it with two major players in the heart of their lineup who have made only scant contributions over the past 8-10 WEEKS.
Does anyone outside of Baltimore know who Caleb Joseph is? Suddenly he has homered in 3 straight games. The O's don't have a leadoff hitter, some say. Yet Nick Markakis is doing a great job at the top of the lineup and has been a steady and dangerous hitter all season..
Their top hitter in BA, is someone who until very recently couldn't get into the lineup. Yet whenever called on to pinch hit....more often than not came thru.
Last night, they made quite a statement in Toronto, a house of horrors for the O's over the years. 9-3 they won. 3 more HR's and another solid pitching performance against the team that is chasing them. It hasn't been this much fun being an O's fan since last century . Well you all know what I mean.
Yes, we complain and micro-manage games....because thats what passionate fans do. We hate losing ANY game. And no, Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz are NOT 'back' because they finally made some contributions to the O's lineup...not yet anyway. But one can hope that yet again, ti could be the start.....and if it is, look out AL East. the snowball is rumbling down the mountain...
Some may point out that message boards like this are the busiest when the team loses. I would suggest that WINNING is always more fun. More fun to talk about. More fun to get excited about. We didn't have this sort of outlet the last time the O's were relevant for long stretches of time. This is new to almost all of us who love the Orioles and suffered thru 14 years of terrible baseball, terrible leadership, and falling attendance.
Let's hope this juggernaut continues. We will continue to be critical and upset when they lose. We will still call out players when they aren't doing their job. But we will also totally enjoy the bigger picture...the WINS.
We might be new news to media-types, but you can bet that word has gotten around already among the players that we are a team that will have to be reckoned with.
We have the third most wins in MLB.. tied with the Dodgers but better by two games than the vaunted Tigers. What so often goes unmentioned in the discussion of the eastern division is the strength of each club. 64 wins, largely over the competitive teams of the East, is different, imho, than 64 wins in any other division. There are teams like the Texicans and the Astros in the West and the ChiSox and Twins in the Central that are just not the same playing all the time as the teams of the East. Far more competitive, imo.
I love that we are where we are with the guys we have. There are really only about 5 names that are recognizable to anyone outside of Baltimore. Lots of unsung heroes.
I read an article yesterday on CBSSPortsline.com about the holes the contenders need to plug to compete. For the Orioles all they could say was that we were missing Matt Weiters and Caleb Joseph wasn't impressing anyone.
I didn't read the notes for the other teams after that as the writer clearly was mailing that one in without any knowledge of the game.
Most encouraging thing to me has been the number of base hits the last two games. I could care less about the HRs (well not totally) as we all know that every player in the lineup can go deep. Its the singles and walks that combine to make nice little runs. This is what it will take to go deep in the post season.
Sure is fun to be an O's fan these days. And yes I am as big a complainer when they don't play well as anybody. That's what passion does. And I am sure there will be lots more games down the stretch where I get pissed. But hopefully there will be lots more games than and games.
Now all I am looking for the next two games is a split so we leave Toronto having increased our lead!
Joseph is really coming around. Have to love his game right now. Coming at a good time too. they are only 3 behind the Angels...pretty soon we could be ahead of even them. I don't think this team is going away.