Losing the Inner Eeyore

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Thanks for noticin’ me!

Those of you who have had kids have likely had to deal with the A.A. Milne books and Disney films in the Winnie-the-Pooh series. One of the main characters is an old grey donkey named Eeyore. He is characterized by a continual state of depression, gloominess, and pessimism. Eeyore’s famous line is simply “thanks for noticin’ me” … as if even being seen is a bonus. There was a story once where one of the animal characters had their home broken down, and as they pondered about how long it might take to rebuild, Eeyore gloomily said, “weeks, months, years … who knows?”

Psychologically, Orioles fans need to deal with their inner Eeyore – that mental condition that is annually predisposed to a pessimistic expectation of pending doom. With the Birds at 14-8 and in first place and surprising everyone and leading to comments around baseball, Orioles fans are just sorta, well, “thanks for noticin’ us.” And at the thought of whenever the franchise will become a winner … “years, decades, centuries … who knows?”

April 29, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Wilson Betemit (24) celebrates after hitting the game-winning three-run home run in the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Athletics 5 - 2, Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

I’m wondering if maybe some folks may have been able to exorcise their inner Eeyore a bit after yesterday’s game – a great come from behind 5-2 victory. We’ve all heard the stats: most games over .500 since 2005, best ERA in the American League, Orioles have won five games this April when trailing after seven innings – which equals the entire total of such in 2011, etc. etc.

My high school son was at the game yesterday – part of a crowd of almost 32,000. I was not even able to watch the first six innings on TV, but I was following it at my location by checking Twitter updates. The remarks were amazing and glowing – for the most part. People were raving about what an interesting game it was. Others were saying things like, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think this #Orioles team is for real.   #Imightbecrazy”

This dramatic game may have been a watershed moment, a tipping point for many people to turn them back to the Birds. Showalter totally “gets it” that the Orioles have got to keep working and winning to rebuild trust and kill off the Eeyores of Birdland. He said after the game, “I’ve got to tell you, we had a good crowd and a beautiful day like this, you really want them to enjoy the day and come back and be part of that again. I do look at it like that. You want them to say, ‘This is fun. It was a great day for the Orioles and I want to be back.’ That’s part of the trust we’ve got to regain.”

The Next 15 Games

The Orioles face a difficult upcoming schedule of six road games followed by nine home games – all against top teams. The Birds will play five against the Yankees, four against Texas, and tree each against Boston and Tampa. I could be totally pleased with an 8-7 over this period … perhaps a 3-3 trip to Boston and New York, followed by a 5-4 home stand. That would make them 22-15 in mid May.

It has been an impressive start. Only one or two of the losses either should have or might have gone the other way; whereas quite a number of the wins could have been losses, maybe should have been, and certainly would have been defeats in recent years.

But some folks will probably take even longer to impress. They probably think that no matter how much lipstick you put on it, it is still an Oriole … and that means “losers.” But it is time to get rid of the inner Eeyore, because at the end of the day this much can be said for sure about Eeyore – he is an ass!

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