Yesterday former Washington Nationals’ GM and current MLB analyst Jim Bowden sent out this tweet. Let me be clear; Bowden is saying that his listeners voted those items as the most exciting things of 2012. And there’s no doubt that Miguel Cabrera’s triple crown, Mike Trout/Bryce Harper, and the Oakland A’s were great and memorable stories. However the fact remains that the 2012 Baltimore Orioles apparently were not in that group. Again, this is not to say that Bowden isn’t including them, but more importantly the fans are not. So…do the Orioles have some sort of image problem?
I would put the 2012 Orioles as equal to any of those stories, aside from perhaps the triple crown. If the 2012 A’s are a story, then the same has to be said for the Orioles. (Minor technicality: the Orioles won more postseason games than Oakland. Granted that’s due to the fact that they played in the wild card game, however their postseason win percentage was higher.) One could make the same argument about the Washington Nationals. Granted Bryce Harper is on that list, however he’s there as an individual. There’s no mention of their amazing season, or that of the Orioles.
I find this somewhat ironic given the fact that non-AL/NL East teams are always claiming an “east coast bias.” However I would also chalk this up to theatrics as well. People remember the Moneyball movie; they don’t necessarily remember individual franchises that have great seasons. However I would submit that this wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill franchise reclaimation project. This was a once-great franchise that had fallen on hard times for the better part of a generation. There were so many “kids” out there who had never seen the Orioles win during their lifetime. There were so many people who had all but given up on the franchise to a certain degree, only to be drawn back in during 2012.
To me that’s a great story; it’s almost worth of Hollywood to be quite honest. And something of that sort should be recognized as an amazing feat when it comes to asking what people remember about 2012. However it’s also fair to say that the crowd that says the Orioles were lucky is probably louder than the crowd that believes that something magic started happening again. That’s why there doesn’t appear to be too much respect for the feat of what they did. Most people are probably expecting them to revert back to between 60-70 wins come 2013.
It’s up to the Orioles of 2013 to prove people wrong. Immediately after the O’s were bounced from the postseason I wrote something to the effect that Buck Showalter forced them to stand up to the Yankees. The Orioles of 2013 will now be taxed with forcing the media and the general public to hold them in the same respect that they do other franchises. It seems that Tampa was immediately accepted when they came out of nowhere, and even now it seems that even franchises in similar situations such as Washington are given a certain deference. But not the Orioles. To put it bluntly, we know they can walk the walk; now they need to talk the talk.