Look on the bright side Orioles fans, there’s no where to go but up in 2014! The fall and winter of 2013 has been an absolute train wreck, but when that ball in Time Square fell as the clock struck midnight, we turned our calendars to a new year and aren’t looking back — for our own sanity.
Hey, I’m trying to stay positive.
By now you’ve already read (or should’ve) Dave’s New Year’s Resolutions for the Washington Capitals and Matt’s for the Ravens, so, without further ado, here are mine for our beloved Birds o’ Baltimore.
In 2013, I went from a guy that purchased far too many pairs of tickets on StubHub to an Orange Card carrying season ticket holder. I bought in — quite literally. I got my first taste of postseason baseball at Camden Yards and was immediately hooked. After the Orioles finally cracked that pesky decade and a half dry spell, I just assumed that they would make the postseason for the rest of eternity and I wanted to make sure I would have tickets to each October game.
Unfortunately, I didn’t need them in 2013.
After winning 85 games (back-to-back winning season for the first time since 1996-1997), the Orioles entered the offseason in need of a few fixes to get back to fall baseball. After losing Nate McLouth to Washington, trading Jim Johnson to Oakland and just having a bad starting rotation all season long, the O’s needed to address three glaring holes. Only, they didn’t — or haven’t so far.
I’m not asking for an overspend. I can understand not wanting to give up the draft pick compensation for the top tier remaining free agents. But I need to see some urgency. Prove to me that winning in the top concern in Baltimore and show me that my money isn’t going to waste.
You heard the narrative all spring long last season: “When are the Orioles going to sign Adam Jones to a contract extension? Don’t they want to make him a franchise player?” Well they did. Jones signed the Orioles biggest contract in franchise history, six-years, $85.5 million, in late May.
With Chris Davis and Matt Wieters (two Scott Boras clients) hitting free agency after the 2015 season, the Birds find themselves in a similar position this year. Many have speculated that both Davis and Wieters will walk, taking larger deals elsewhere. I’ll believe it when I see it.
The O’s need to secure one of these talents over the next calendar year. I’m partial to the big lefty that hit 53 dongs last season. It won’t be easy (or cheap), but the Birds need to keep their talent as they did when Andy MacPhail built this franchise’s core.
It was truly an honor watching Manny Machado go to work last season. I hope people appreciated witnessing a young star bloom as much as I did.
Sadly, Machado’s season was cut short by a gruesome looking injury that I still can’t believe wasn’t an ACL tear. In actuality, Machado suffered a torn medial patellofemoral ligament (I didn’t make that up) and underwent surgery in October. He is expected to take 4-6 months to rehab which puts him on pace to be ready around April.
Machado’s future is far too bright to rush him back from this injury. Let him take his time. Be even more cautious than necessary in getting him back on the field. It’s not worth risking another injury.
Yes, the Red Sox are the 2013 World Series champions. Yes, their bandwagon will be back in full force in 2014. But the Orioles haven’t been pushed around by Boston over the past several seasons (29-15 in their last 44 matchups) and with Opening Day kicking things off between these two rivals it’s important to make sure the O’s maintain the upper hand.
It’ll also help keep the Severna Park Red Sox fans home cheering on the Miami Heat (or Los Angeles Lakers) instead of wearing their Manny Ramirez jerseys at the Yard.
One more just for fun — my dad and I will be venturing north to the Windy City to watch the O’s take on the White Sox and Cubs in August. It sure would be nice to see a win in U.S. Cellular Field and Wrigley.
Now I’m just being selfish…
Happy New Year from all of us here at BaltimoreSportsReport.com. Thanks for making 2013 so successful, we’re looking forward to publishing even more kick ass stuff in 2014.
In the meantime, did you see Google’s Zeitgeist 2013 commercial? It helped ease the pain between Carson Daly’s segments last night.
Image Credit: Keith Allison