As any Orioles fan can tell you, the late 90’s and 2000’s were not an easy time to root for our favorite ball club. Inconsistency with pitching, lack of trust in the front office, no faith in prospects, and just no excitement surrounding the team cultivated in a miserable fanbase. The best comparison I can think of is the current day Miami Marlins.
I feel that tide changed on May 29, 2009. On that day, Matt Wieters made his Major League debut. 42,704 people came out to see the Orioles that day and were treated to a 7-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers. Wieters may have went 0-4 in his debut but there was hope once again.
We can also look back to July 29, 2010; the day Buck Showalter was hired to manage the team. The rest of the season, the Orioles went 34-23 including a 17-11 record in August. That should be impressive enough considering the club went 8-19 in the previous month of July.
Despite the Orioles posting a below .500 record in 2011, the winds of change have happened and that became evident in 2012. The team made the postseason for the first time since 1997 and took the best team in the American League, the New York Yankees, to an elimination game. (McLouth hit the foul pole)
And from that point forward, I think we all know what happened.
But, I feel that we might have to remember the kind of mindset we had while watching the Orioles in that dark age. Yes, I know we are only six games into the season and despite whatever happens the rest of the 156 games, we should all prepare ourselves mentally for whatever the 2018 season may hold.
This hold even more weight considering where the Orioles ended up in 2017: last place and under .500 for the first time under Showalter since 2011; his first full year as the manager here.
As somebody who grew up in the era of bad Orioles baseball, I can already tell you that I am used to the losing. It’s still not fun and not what I hope for, but I’m used to it. It’s the same reason I do not get excited about the NHL playoffs anymore in regards to the Capitals. I am definitely a glass half empty person — take that however you want.
One mindset I will definitely keep throughout the season is one of “well, I’m not expecting a win today” so that way I can be generally surprised when they do it! It is like putting yourself through cognitive behavioral therapy but just in your own mind and to yourself.
Obviously it is not the easiest mindset to have, especially after the team showing us once again what winning baseball looks like and what it was like to be a perennial contender year in and year out. Like I said before, it is way too early to determine where the 2018 team is heading. As of right now, the outlook isn’t good. But it is a long season and despite being a self described glass half empty person, I like to hold out hope for this team.
I have seen more done with less just within the last six seasons.
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