According to a recent study, Baltimore Orioles fans are the second-most win sensitive fans in all of baseball. In other words, Baltimore has the second-worst tolerance for their team losing in the MLB. This can be seen on Orioles fan pages and chat rooms after a game.
If the Orioles win a game, everyone is fairly happy with the exception of a few “nit-pickers” out there. Yet, if the Orioles drop one game, fans come out in large numbers saying how Showalter does not know how to manage a ball club, they should trade for an ace, and how mediocre the team is (even though the Orioles are in first place by four games).
I will be honest here. I, myself, contribute to this study that called the Orioles fan base a win-sensitive one. When Miguel Gonzalez struggled early on this season, I remember loathing him and wishing the Orioles would send him down to the Minors or just trade him away. And after his past three outings, Gonzalez has become my favorite pitcher in the Orioles rotation.
Although I believe this study adequately describes Orioles fans as a whole, I have to ask the people who were in charge of collecting the data, “Can you blame us?”
Until the Buckle Up Birds in 2012, Orioles fans were forced to watch 14 consecutive years of losing baseball. They (rather, we) had to suffer through watching players like Larry Bigbie, Brook Fordyce, and Luis Matos struggle at the plate and pitchers like Buddy Groom, Mike DeJean and Jorge Julio lose countless games for the Orioles coming out of the bullpen. All of these players were being managed by the likes of Mike Hargrove, Lee Mazzilli, and Dave Trembley who all made fans pull their hair out.
In those years of losing, it seemed like a pattern arose after awhile. The season would start off with manager and players both saying they have a good ball club and fans should look out for them. This always got the fans’ hopes up as did the beginning of the season when the Orioles would start off great and everyone thought the same thing: “Hey maybe this will be our year.”
Unfortunately, this just led to heartbreak year after year when the team could not sustain their winning habits and slip far away from playoff contention and out of relevance in the MLB.
Then in November of 2011, a new Executive-Vice President for Players Operations came into town by the name of Dan Duquette. He said he wanted to bring a championship team back to Baltimore and at that point all of Baltimore probably rolled their eyes acknowledging that it was the same story, different day.
Yet, this time, Baltimore was not let down but rather they were picked up by the team in 2012 and carried into the Postseason for the first time since 1997. And after back-to-back winning seasons in the books, it is safe to say Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette have gotten Baltimore excited about baseball again.
This third season with the Duquette and Showalter duo is proving to be their best one yet. The Orioles are currently 55-44 sitting atop the American League East with a four game lead on the Yankees and Blue Jays. Even with the struggling Chris Davis and Matt Wieters having to sit out the rest of the year after having Tommy John Surgery, the Orioles continue to defy the odds and win baseball games.
Why are there “bipolar” fans still in Baltimore if the team is so good you ask? I think it is because, since this city has not seen winning baseball in so long, now that they have it they do not believe it, including myself.
There is a part of me and a part of all Orioles fans that worry this team will slip back into their losing ways after blowing a save or losing a couple of games in a row. This winning thing seems too good to be true. It may be something that can be fixed with an American League East Division Title.
Until that comes into fruition… Stay Hungry Baltimore!