You heard it here first folks; there’s no point in paying attention to the 2013 MLB season, as it’s already over. Steve Mikkelson, the sports book director at the Atlantis Casino in Reno, NV has published the over/under on victories for each team in the league. You can read all about it by clicking here, however he set the Orioles’ mark at 76.5 wins. Granted had that number been out there at this time last year I think that Baltimore Orioles fans probably would have jumped on it. But coming off of a 93-win regular season followed by a playoff birth, that’s a massive step backwards.
Let’s also keep in mind that these same odds makers said last season that these Birds would probably finish with a win total once again in the 60’s. There were even people who seemed to think that they’d be historically bad in 2012. Granted, 76 wins wouldn’t be anywhere close to historically bad. In fact, that’s only a few games shy of .500. However the thing that should bother the Orioles more than anything else is the attitude that people seem to be taking about them once again. If you read the article (to which I linked above), Mikkelson specifically calls out the O’s when he says:
“Look at the A.L. East. That was probably the hardest division for me to sit down and do the numbers for. That’s a division that I think every team, except the Orioles, can win. And I think every team except the Blue Jays can finish last in that division.”
That’s a pretty strong conviction. He had so much trouble picking the division, yet he felt pretty strongly that the Orioles have no chance to finish first. This is all just discussion of course, and at the very least I feel that it’s unfair to predict what the season will bring until we see the final roster. (Just as a housekeeping point on that note, I’ll be releasing the official Birds Watcher season preview complete with win total predictions on Monday, April 1, 2013, which is a day before Opening Day for the O’s.)
I wouldn’t be hung up over the 76 wins point on this. However I do question Mikkelson’s point that the O’s have no chance to win the division. If there’s one division that each team has a chance to win -including the Orioles, it’s the AL East in 2013. The same is true in reverse in that I feel all of the teams could have an opportunity to finish in the cellar – including Toronto. What’s also interesting is that Mikkelson’s theorizing that Boston, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Philadephia to finish ahead of 76 wins…all teams that finished well behind the Orioles in 2013. He’s also predicting that the Seattle Mariners, another team that finished well behind the Orioles, to come in at the same win total as the O’s. Have things really changed that much? Apparently not, as the New York Yankees are checking in at 86 wins, which naturally would win the division (Or tie with Torotno given these numbers. The aging New York Yankees that is.
I wouldn’t read too much into this, although his commentary on the Orioles should raise an eyebrow or two. Mikkelson may be right. However Orioles fans should hope that Buck Showalter and the players read this article, and perhaps use it as bulletin board material. One thing that these odds doesn’t take into account is the spirit on any team. That’s what carried the O’s in 2012…that spirit of togetherness. Unless that’s changed significantly, the players might as well pack up their belongings and get their golf clubs ready to go…because the season’s over.