As I write this on Wednesday, July 18th, 2018 around 7 p.m. EST, Manny Machado is still an Oriole. Soon, he will not be. It did not have to be this way.
More likely than not, Machado will be joining the Dodgers on their way to a second straight World Series appearance in the hopes that this time they will win it. The Orioles will reportedly be getting back five prospects, headlined by outfielder Yusniel Diaz. It did not have to be this way.
For almost seven seasons, Orioles fans were blessed to watch the best player this franchise has seen since Cal Ripken, Jr. Manny Machado’s just don’t grow on trees and this team was so lucky he fell to #3 in the 2010 draft. It did not have to be this way.
Once the 2014 season ended, I was adamant that the Orioles did not need to resign Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis for a variety of reasons. Boy, was I wrong. First off, the Orioles lost consistency at two positions that they have yet to find since and they lost two clubhouse leaders, vital for a young superstar in the making. It did not have to be this way.
As I write this I have my phone on “Do Not Disturb” and Twitter not even on my browser. I want to continue to write this article with the mindset that Machado is not gone….yet. It did not have to be this way.
I vividly remember the day Machado went down with his first knee injury. It all felt like it happened in slow motion. As soon as the medical cart came out to take him off the field, I turned the T.V. off. To this day I refuse to watch a replay of the injury. I was then lucky enough to go to his first game back in May of 2014 and just feeling a sense of relief that my favorite player was healthy and playing again. It did not have to be this way.
Every single night I turned on the T.V. or went out to the ballpark to watch the Orioles, I always figured I would see something amazing from Manny. Usually, I was not disappointed. Whether it was a dazzling play in the field, a double in the gap, or a clutch home run – Machado always made the price of admission worth it. It did not have to be this way.
My dad always made the comparison to Brooks Robinson when he watched Manny play third base. Brooks was his favorite player growing up and now it was Machado, the rightful heir to the third base throne, if you will, of the Orioles franchise. Now, we have no idea what is to be expected on the left side of the infield for the team. It did not have to be this way.
We now live in a world where the faces of the Orioles going forward are Jonathan Schoop and Chris Davis, with the uncertainty of what will happen with Adam Jones. I do not want to be that person but we gave the giant extension to the wrong player. It did not have to be this way.
Just like in life, we will move on as a fanbase. It will take a long time but it will eventually be okay. The sun will rise again just as surely as there will be baseball at Camden Yards regardless of who plays shortstop, third base, or any position on the field for that matter.
My favorite teacher throughout my time in school always said “Today is a great day because you woke up.” Well, today you woke up. You are reading this, you are existing in this universe at this moment. You may be sad but that feeling will pass. The Orioles will play baseball again and maybe, just maybe, be good again. It may take a long time but that is not reason to give up hope. Hell, the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup and I never thought that could happen and yet here we are.
Now go, have yourself a good cry. Get it all out of your system. Go listen to a sad song and let it all out. This is my suggestion.
As I check my phone after going about an hour without doing so, that is exactly what I will be doing. Thank you for everything you have done for this team, Manny. We will never forget it. Go get your ring.