No one in the national media buys it, but the Orioles are still a contender.
Yes, Spring Training games mean nothing. But what made the Orioles so successful last season was team chemistry, and from the looks of the team this spring, that chemistry is alive and kicking.
Buck Showalter has received numerous accolades for turning around the Orioles clubhouse and organization. Though for some reason, most in the national media still chalk up last season’s success to “luck.” Yes, all good teams are a bit lucky, that’s just part of the game.
The Orioles were able to capitalize yesterday on 3 Toronto errors, scoring a total of 3 unearned runs. On the surface, one could easily chalk that up to luck, but let’s dissect it. With Matt Wieters at 2nd base, and Chris Davis on at 1st, JJ Hardy hit a shallow fly ball, which left fielder Eugenio Velez lost in the Florida sunshine. A lesser team, without confidence and solid fundamentals may not have capitalized so well on a play like that, but Chris Davis husseled all the way from first base to score. Sure, it was lucky that Velez made an error, but there was no guarantee that the play would produce two runs. Showalter and his coaching staff have brought the Orioles back to their former glory by going back to basics. Cal Ripken has been in Florida these past couple of days, and in an interview with Roch Kubatko he said, “the Orioles’ trademark for years was their execution, their fundamentals and those sorts of things. . .There’s a great emphasis and a great competence that Buck brings to the table, and that translates into executing on the field and giving you confidence.”
If the Orioles continue to execute fundamentally, the wins will follow. And maybe a little luck will help too.