As the Baltimore Orioles head north for a massive three-game set with the BoSox this evening, many people are already trying to prepare themselves for the fact that the O’s won’t qualify for the post season. Not that there’s a chance they won’t be there or something like that, but that they won’t be there. So let’s start there; the O’s are well within striking range of both the AL East pennant and the wild card. Is it fair to say that things are shaping up to be tougher than they were last year? I think that goes without saying, but that’s due more to other teams (such as Boston) being improved as opposed to the Orioles stepping backwards. So it goes without saying that the Birds are currently in a good position in terms of the standings, but that they need to stay on their horse and not drop any of these series’ against teams ahead of them. But…what if they end up not making it?
The question posed is whether or not they’d be classified as a one-hit wonder. If you’re going based only on whether they qualify for the playoffs, then yes I suppose you’d have no choice but to admit that. However let’s look just a bit further than the nose on our face. Not going to the post season might be a disappointment for the O’s, but I don’t think it should be looked at necessarily as a step backwards. The season would be a step backwards (and thus the team a one-hit wonder) had the O’s fallen flat on their faces this year. Here we are at the doorstep of September, and they’re playing meaningful games. That tells me that this team is built to last for a few years, as opposed to just getting lucky 93 times last season.
Granted, if you don’t make the post season you’ve fallen short of a goal that every team has. However people should also keep in mind that this franchise is only two seasons removed from recording only 69 wins. So if the franchise records 88 victories this year and falls short of the post season is that really a failure? Does that really make the Birds a one-hit wonder? I would say not, and in fact I would submit that anyone who says they are is severely misguided. But we’re all entitled to our opinions.
The only way to erase all doubt for good is to qualify for the post season, and the Orioles will continue their quest for October tonight at Fenway Park against Boston. Wei-Yin Chen will get the start for the Birds tonight, and he’ll be opposed by Ryan Dempster of Boston. Dempster of course is fresh off of his five-game suspension for throwing at Alex Rodriguez. If the O’s can get a solid start out of Chen, they hope that they can pick up where they left off on Sunday against Oakland. This series is huge, but all of the games are as well from this point forward.
On an unrelated note, Baltimore city officials reported that someone phoned in a bomb threat to Oriole Park at Camden Yards last night. The local bomb squad was dispatched with K9 units, but nothing was found and the situation was ruled to be a hoax. There are plenty of good ways to “get noticed” folks, but that’s not one of them!