Josh Bell went 1-4 with a strikeout in his Orioles debut, one that came in my opinion about 12 months earlier than it should have. There is no reason to send him up and down just for a few games and risk harming his development when you have better players who aren’t top prospects (Jeff Salazar) waiting for an opportunity. Even if you don’t want to use Felix Pie yet, there is no reason for this. But whatever, it is all in a day in the life of an O’s fan. Lucky for us, there is still a world outside of Baltimore that has dreams for greatness and championships. Let’s line up for the kick…
NBA Free Agency Could Be Anticlimactic
What a boon this must be for the NBA, to have their sport taking the top headlines at a time of the year when the league is all but forgotten. Generally speaking, people tune out of the NBA most of the way through the playoffs and come back sometime in March when the playoff push is reaching its climax. But this offseason, with some of the games biggest stars potentially on the move, why wouldn’t you keep a close eye on it? Allow me to make one comparison, however, that might take some of the wind out of some teams’ wild dreams for greatness.
When human beings are given a choice between staying where they are comfortable or making a huge change, if they are given enough time they will stay where they are. We saw it in conference expansion, where the climactic change in the college football landscape simply didn’t happen because at the end of the day, teams weren’t going to bolt unless they had a real problem with the way things were, not just if they were offered something better. We may see that in the LeBron/Wade/Stoudemire potential moves. Chris Bosh wants out of Toronto anyway, so that is a different deal- he is Nebraska in this case. But LeBron is Texas, and if he can get Cleveland to give him just a few reasons to stay (perhaps beyond the added $30 million over what he can sign with for another team), he will likely stay in Cleveland. I would not be at all surprised to see the biggest stars stay put, and have all of this insanity be for naught.
Parallels with D-Backs Create Uneasy Future for Orioles
When I have looked at the Diamondbacks over the past few seasons, I have seen what I thought was a team on the rise. They had a wealth of great young talent, and while they have signed some head-scratching contracts, at least they were signing players. With their GM Josh Byrnes and overmatched Manager A.J. Hinch now on the outs, I wonder whether there are any parallels Baltimoreans could learn from. For one, Hinch, lacking any managerial experience at any level, was unable to obtain the trust and buy-in from his players, dooming him from the start. Byrnes, despite being a shrewd judge of talent, was unable to keep upper management from negotiating contracts without him, keeping the organization disjointed and at odds with itself. Josh Byrnes is a good GM, a casualty of poor ownership the same way Kevin Towers would be a great pickup in the front office for any team after being axed by the Padres. I just hope that the Orioles don’t make the same mistakes by signing a Manager who lacks the respect of his players or by firing a GM just to make a change.
Apathy for World Cup Spreads in Wake of U.S. Loss
Anyone out there still watching the World Cup? No? It is still entertaining, and I wish the world the best of luck, but it looks like soccer won’t be taking the U.S. by storm this year or anytime in the next 3 years after their inglorious overtime defeat at the hands of Ghana. However, even if viewership plummets, I won’t accept it as a rejection of the sport, though there are many people who can’t stand soccer (I could point out that there are a lot of people who can’t stand American football and consider it barbaric and dangerous, but that’s beside the point). Major sports leagues are always trying to improve ratings during the playoffs, which are, counter intuitively, much worse than regular season rating. But fan’s don’t care about a sport- they care about their team. I enjoy basketball, but I don’t follow it as closely as I could because I don’t really have a team (the 76ers are the closest thing I have to a rooting interest), same thing with hockey. The sports are great, but I am not drawn to it without someone to root for. With the U.S. out, the World Cup is just experiencing the same thing that every league does. Granted, the sport didn’t exactly take a leap in this country this year, but I wouldn’t say it is an indictment of the sport in America.