I didn’t take last night’s loss well. I’ll admit it.
As an Orioles fan, I’m not used to having my heart ripped out in October. The last time my team was eliminated from postseason play it was acceptable for be to behave like a child because, well, I was a child. Now I don’t have the luxury of using that excuse. I’m 24 and married and I think I showed an ugly side of my sports fandom that I’ve been trying to hide for a few years from my lovely wife.
I hate when my teams lose. I didn’t take the Ravens loss in the AFC Championship game well and I think I went into shock when the O’s fell 3-2 in extra-innings on Wednesday.
But it’s not over and I recognize that. The Orioles have to win two straight games in the Bronx, which they did in two of their three series there this season. It was just tough to stomach watching them lose a game that they had wrapped up. A game that I went into feeling confident and one that would have given them a 2-1 lead in the ALDS.
The Yankees really didn’t have any business winning that game. They were out-pitched, out-managed and, up until the final two outs, out-scored. I’ve seen people credit Joe Girardi for putting the binder away and making a gut decision by pinch hitting Raul Ibanez for the struggling Alex Rodriguez. It was certainly the correct decision, but to say it was made on instinct certainly isn’t correct.
“Sometimes numbers don’t always tell you the true story,” Girardi told reporters before the game when asked about his decision to keep A-Rod in the three hole. That was a gut decision. Ibanez pinch hitting came right from the binder.
I’m a night owl typically, but last night I really couldn’t sleep. I had this energy that I felt I needed to burn before I could put this tough Orioles loss behind me and move on to game four. I wanted to go on a stadium run like Jack Shepherd and Desmond Hume from LOST, but settled for 100 push-ups and a few TV shows on Netflix instead.
The grieving process for fans is different. I’ll admit it. I saw some people shout obscenities on Twitter and some friends on Facebook admit to throwing things. I stormed off and was in deep thought for about an hour until I finally mustered up the courage to write.
ESPN personality and Maryland native Scott Van Pelt verbalized my feelings on being a fan with a tweet after the Orioles first playoff win in 15 years. “This is why a man roots for only one team, even when it’s bleak for a long, long time.” he wrote.
The Orioles have been my favorite sports team through their most difficult seasons. I’ve had offseason conversations with my dad about how they can turn things around, been to FanFests when I knew the upcoming season would be a long one and sat in the stands for meaningless games in September year after year.
This team has blown away my highest preseason expectations, but as September rolled along, my goals for this team became greedier and greedier. I went from wanting them to finish with 82 to wins, to winning the toughest division in baseball, then to surprise the world and win the fall classic.
If the Orioles amazing season comes to an end tonight, I’ll probably shed a few tears. Not because I’m disappointed in the team’s effort, but because I’m just not ready for it to be over. I don’t want this season to end.
There’s another line in that SVP tweet. “Because eventually, the sun comes back out.”
This is why a man roots for only one team, even when it’s bleak for a long, long time.Because eventually, the sun comes back out #GoOs
— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) October 6, 2012
I honestly believe that the Orioles are a better team than the Yankees and unfortunately for fans in sports a lot of times the villain actually does end up winning. If it’s all over tonight, I enjoyed every second of what this season had to offer and I’ll take comfort in knowing that the sun will come back out when pitchers and catchers report in Sarasota. I watched all season as my favorite team climbed out of the cellar, made the postseason and was at Camden Yards as fireworks shot from the scoreboard after a postseason win.
I connected with some intelligent, diehard Orioles fans all year long on Twitter (you know who you are) and was able to blog about my beloved O’s becoming relevant once again here to our readers on BSR and in my weekly column on MASNSports.com.
If the season continues to Friday, to next week or even to a parade in November, I’ll be there to support the team I’ve rooted for my entire life. That’s what being a fan is all about.