Each Monday, in this spot, I’ll try to give you fan’s look at what transpired with our Birds the past week and what lies ahead for the club. My only promise is that the piece will be totally biased and from a real fan, so here it goes.
Hey, a split with the Red Sox and three of four from the Rays? Look our team is still 41.5 games out of first place, but let me just have this week!
1. Putting the “O’s” in Offense
If you are reading the BSR you are most likely an Orioles fan. As such, you probably never dreamed the club would struggle with scoring runs the way they have this year. Pitching being subpar? Sure, you would have expected that, but be ranked 27th in MLB with a sickly 3.84 runs per game? No way. Even the most pessimistic fan couldn’t have seen this happen. Yet for one weekend we saw it. For one weekend that offense put up a whopping 37 runs in three games belting seven homers and for one weekend we could remember what might have been…
2. This Town WANTS to cheer for the Orioles
As stated, the Orioles are 41 ½ games out in the AL East, they’re 30 ½ games out of the Wild Card, heck they’re 42 games under .500. Despite this historically bad season fans are still turning out – sort of. Yesterday marked the 55th home game of the season and the club drew a little over 22,000 at 22,554. That puts the season attendance total just a shade under 1.1 million or an average of 20,670 fans per game. I will say that the Orioles have done an outstanding job with promotions this year – “Halfway to Christmas” and the “Buck Snowalter” snow globe, the ever popular hawaiian shirt, fireworks nights are always popular, but nothing brings in crowds like winning and that’s something the Orioles haven’t done much. To me this attendance proves that this city is still in love with this team.
3. Carrying the torch, indeed
When Manny departing he imparted on his buddy Jonathan Schoop to “carry the torch”…he’s done so and so much more. Schoop carries a 12 game hitting streak into this week and he’s hitting .345 during this 12-game span. Schoop has homered nine times this month with seven coming in the last 10 games. If you’re reading this Dan Duquette or Buck Showalter or Lou Angelos – THIS is the guy you want to build around. #LetSchoopCarryTheTorch
4. The need for a veteran to lead the way
Typically with a rebuild a veteran centerfield whose perhaps lost a step and would better serve the team at a corner outfield spot would not be a guy you would be looking to re-sign, but Adam Jones is a different case. I could make a very strong argument that Adam Jones is the most influential athlete to ever don a Baltimore uniform – be it Orioles, Colts, Ravens, whichever team you want to name. Jones is the unquestioned leader of this team and his community involvement is more than just “for show” or for tax sheltering. This man has ingrained himself in the community through efforts like his “Stay Hungry” charity tailgate and his involvement in the Baltimore Boys and Girls Clubs is a testament to the kind of man Jones is and how valuable he is in the community. Not only that but Jones is still producing, as is evident this season. Jones is riding his own 9 game hitting streak, has 30 multi-hit games this season and 13 three-hit games. He is hitting .417 during this streak and .285 for the season. Also a reminder from last week – with Jones homer this weekend (259 as an Oriole) he sits just 9 homeruns away from tying Brooks Robinson at fourth on the Orioles all-time list with 268. Sometimes teams have to pay players for what they’ve DONE rather than what they’ll DO. Here’s hoping Adam Jones will go out on his terms- AND in an Orioles uniform.
5. Winds of Change
Along with the Orioles trading off stalwarts Manny Machado, Zach Britton, and Brad Brach comes the announcement of the Orioles involving themselves in the International market – an area where they’ve dabbled before with players like Henry Urrutia, Dariel Alvarez, and the like – but never really fully committed. Then came Dan Duquette’s proclamation “we had identified the areas that we needed to improve in – technology, international scouting, facilities, the draft, strengthening our analytics, investing in our international scouting…” The rumors this week of the Orioles chasing after Cuban phenom Victor Victor Mesa and then trading Brad Brach to the Braves for International slotting money seems indicate not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. I’m forever an optimist when it comes to my beloved Orioles and I hope the club continues this commitment and the team quickly returns to relevancy.
This week starts a nine game road trip with two in the Bronx followed by four versus the Rangers. The Yankees now sit 5.5 games back of the Red Sox and seem destined for a Wild Card berth. The Rangers are mired in last place in the AL West, 22.5 games back.