It seems that everyone has a view on what the Baltimore Orioles will do in 2013. If you listen to the national media, this team has no chance at all. If you listen to the most optimistic of people, this is the same team that went to the playoffs in 2012 and there’s no reason to believe that they can’t replicate that in ’13. However the question at hand isn’t what are the expectations; the question is where should they be? You might find yourself asking what’s the difference? The difference is slight, if it exists at all. However ultimately the answer to what are the expectations lies in looking at the moves the team made in the off season compared to what they already had. The answer to what should the expectations be lies in the hearts and minds of the fans.
If you listen to the national media, you’ll probably come away thinking that the 2013 Orioles don’t have a chance to compete. I suppose that given what some people interpret as the underwhelming nature of the off season moves the team made, it isn’t overly surprising. So am I suggesting that the 2013 Orioles are going to plow through their competition more so than they did last year? Not really, especially given that we don’t even know what the final roster is going to be yet. (Having said that, be sure the check back on Monday, April 1st when I’ll post the official Birds Watcher season preview!)
I don’t think it’s fair to this team, Buck Showalter, or Dan Duquette to say that they’ll be back in the cellar. I think they proved last year that they had staying power, and they also had the ability to work through various injuries with their “next man up” mentality. Consequently, it’s also unfair to them to just assume that they’ll be back in the playoffs. (I might add that it’s also a bit arrogant.) If you put lofty goals on a team or on a person that can sometimes be difficult to live up to. Knowing the makeup of the Orioles, odds are they would at the very least accept the challenge.
I suppose what I’m saying is that you should never expect either extreme. As I said above, the prevailing sentiment among the national media is that this team has no chance, and that everything that happened last year was nothing more than sheer luck. However looking down the road, many people expect the Washington Nationals to contend for the World Series. (For the record, when you hear “World Series or bust” I think you fall into the category of having too high of expectations as well as an inflated ego.) Most people assume that the likes of Adam Jones, Miguel Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, et al won’t be able to live up to what they did in 2012. Yet apparently it’s a given that Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, and Stephen Strasburg will (repeat their performances in 2012). I would tend to agree that Washington will be in the thick of things, however my point is that the national media seems to heap a ton of respect on some teams and some players, while discarding others when it comes to expectations.
I mentioned that just assuming you’re going to be good comes across to me as arrogant. But does that kind of attitude buy you respect in today’s sports world? Perhaps, but if that’s the case I’d rather be disrespected because “looserville” is littered with inflated egos. Plus, I believe in doing things the right way; having an air about you that you’re better than everyone else is not the right way. But unfortunately, it seems that the spoils always seem to go to the teams and the athletes who think so highly of themselves. The New York Yankees just seemingly assume that they’re going to be there year in and year out. (Ask them what happened in the 2012 ALCS…) The 2011 Boston Red Sox seemed to feel that other teams didn’t even belong on the field with them. (Ask them what happened on September 28, 2011…) So while the Orioles’ we’ll have to wait and see where the cards lie at the end of the season approach might not get them the highest amount of respect in the media and around the league, it tends to sound a lot better than World Series or bust.
Ultimately the 2013 Orioles’ expectations should probably be higher than the expectations were at this time last year…that’s all I’ll say!