With the year 2003 just now settling upon us, we as Americans love to take the time to reflect on how we can improve ourselves, and we resolve to find ways to go ahead and do it. Popular among the masses are dieting and workout resolutions, vows to quit smoking, and other things along that ilk. Some are followed through with only half-hearted efforts, while the more noble among us follow through with a sustained effort so that by summertime we will be bench pressing 250 again, or whatever else it was we resolved to do. Spring training is now bearing down upon us baseball fans and while so far the Orioles haven't done nearly enough to improve themselves, that doesn't mean I don't have a few ideas served with a generous helping of hope to help improve from within.
So, in 2003 may it be resolved that...
· Gary Matthews at least duplicates his 2002 season and serves as the every day centerfielder in 2003. Also lets it be resolved that there is enough punch in the lineup that he can lead off with that .355 OBP.
· Beanagan figure a way to add Ivan Rodriguez for the right price, and if that fails, figure a way to trade for someone else so that Deivi Cruz isn't the only addition to this club.
· Deivi Cruz does enough so fans aren't constantly reminded of just how steady Mike Bordick was.
· Beanagan are able to add better minor league coaches to the system to compliment guys like Julio Vinas, Bien Figueroa, Jack Voigt, and Dave Schuler.
· Jerry Hairston AND Brian Roberts can play every day. If that means one of them should move to shortstop, well, why not try it?
· Sean Douglass forgets about a forgettable 2002 and works his way into the starting rotation.
· Mike Hargrove plays his kids on a regular basis, and if they aren't good enough to play then Beanagan send them back to the minors to get better. That way there aren't any repeats of Douglass and Roberts circa 2002 seen only on the bench.
· David Segui can stay healthy and be productive.
· Jay Gibbons gets his average and OBP up next year to go with his burgeoning power numbers.
· The greatest of the Tomato Growers repeats his 2002 season, or even does better as the Orioles new ace.
· Jorge Julio notches 30 saves, minimum.
· Ottawa, Bowie, and Frederick have winning records to match Delmarva and Bluefield.
· Matt Riley has an explosive 2003 season now that he's had his first post-operation season.
· Riley and Steve Bechler become a formidable 1-2 punch at Ottawa.
· That Bechler becomes the father of a baby boy come May. Trust me, it'll be better that way.
· Erik Bedard, Chris Smith, and Beau Hale all come back from their injuries and don an Orioles uniform someday.
· The Cory Morris from Delmarva shows up in 2003.
· Brandon Fahey, Bryan Bass, Pete Shier, or anyone else gives hope that the next long-term Orioles shortstop is already in the system.
· Tim Raines, Matt Riley, Cory Morris, Ed Rogers, and Keith Reed have comeback seasons.
· That progress can be made throughout the organization so that the angst held for Peter Angelos can subside at least a little. I know I'm in the minority on that one.
· Those who broadcast Orioles games don't double as head cheerleaders.
· Luis Matos puts up or shuts up in 2003 for the Orioles, giving them a concrete idea of just what he's going to become.
· The number of visits to Dr. James Andrew's office in Birmingham is kept to a minimum.
· The Yankees do their best '91 Mets impression.
· The Cleveland Browns inch even closer to the Super Bowl. Hey, this is MY list.
· And be it resolved that everyone, no matter how good or bad 2002 was, have an even greater 2003!