It’s difficult to root for a team that isn’t good. It’s especially difficult to root for a team that hasn’t been good in over a decade.  But us loyal fans keep coming back time and time again even though the O’s continue to break our hearts every season, usually by the All-Star break.  What keeps us rooting for the O’s, besides the promise of every new season, are the players we have grown to love.  Obviously, we want to like every player on the team, but for whatever reason, there are always a few guys that we like more than others.  It could be the position they play, how well they perform on the field, how they conduct themselves off the field, or for you girls out there, how cute you think they are.

We get attached to these guys and we hate to see them leave even if it is in their best interest to play somewhere else.  And with free agency being what it is today, it’s nothing to see a guy play for four or five different teams throughout his career.  This season the O’s have traded away first baseman Derrek Lee and reliever Koji Uehara to the Pirates and Rangers, respectively.  Lee wasn’t here long enough for us to create any type of fan-player relationship, but Koji became somewhat of a fan favorite over the two-plus years he was with the club.  He was noticeably upset when he found out he was being traded to Texas and said that even though it was gratifying that a contender wanted him, he was going to miss Baltimore.

There are a handful of other former O’s around the league that have been traded or released over the past few years.  Some of them we were happy to see go, but others we still find ourselves rooting for even though they are playing elsewhere.  Here are a few guys I find myself wanting to see succeed with their new clubs.

Aubrey Huff
Current team – San Francisco Giants

What’s not to like about Aubrey Huff?  He had two-and-a-half solid seasons here including a great 2008 where he hit .304 along with 32 home runs and 108 RBI.  He seemed like a great guy in the clubhouse and someone his teammates wanted to be around.  What I like most about Huff is his journey from a basement dweller to a World Series champion.  He was pretty much in last place for the first 10 seasons of his career until he went to the Giants in 2010 and helped them win a World Series.  And the red rally thong he wore during last year’s championship run, albeit scary to visualize, has made him very popular in San Francisco.  But for the record, it had nothing to do with him making my list.

Miguel Tejada
Current team – San Francisco Giants

Tejada had two stints with the O’s, one from 2004-07 and the other lasting half a season in 2010.  He was always a great player for the O’s, especially at the plate where he hit over .300 in three of his four seasons here.  He seemed like a fun guy to be around and always had a smile on his face.  It was fun listen to him do interviews too even though we didn’t understand what he was saying most of the time.  He was as iron man-like as one can get in Baltimore without being named Cal Ripken, Jr too, playing in all 162 games for three consecutive seasons while with the O’s.

Koji Uehara
Current team – Texas Rangers

I talked briefly about Koji earlier, but he really was starting to become a fan favorite here in Baltimore and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him play.  Even though he had trouble staying off the disabled list when he first got here, he was beginning to really come around this year.  He was the O’s best reliever and was one of only a few consistent parts of the team.  I hope he does well in Texas and helps them make a deep run in the postseason again this season.

Arthur Rhodes
Current team – Texas Rangers

I know I’m going way back here, but when a guy is in his 19th season and is still pitching for a contender, it’s kind of tough not to root for him.  Rhodes began his career as an Oriole back in 1991 and stayed with the club until 1999.  He then went on to play with seven different teams including a Reds team that made the playoffs last season.  He had two of his best seasons in 2009 and 2010, finishing those seasons with a 2.53 and 2.29 ERA, respectively.  He has struggled a bit this season with Texas and was recently designated for assignment, but could once again find himself pitching in the postseason if the Rangers decide to keep him on the active roster.

Submitted by Steve Giles