We should have seen this coming. Every time the Orioles get close to or at the .500 mark, they hit the skids. It seems as though they have a fear of going over the .500 mark. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that they haven’t finished a season above that mark since 1996. But, guys, come on – there’s nothing to be afraid of. Being above .500 is the next step you need to take. Only when you can get above, and stay above that magic number, in the long season that is baseball, will you be taken seriously in this league. And so far, it’s not looking good.
Let’s take a look at the month of May. On May 1st the Orioles were 13-13 (.500). They were three games back of first. Feeling pretty good about things. But apparently the thought of success was too much for them. Because they went on to lose five of the next six games. The next two weeks they struggled in their efforts to even out the record again. On May 15th, they were one game from doing just that. The team was 19-20, 3 1/2 games back. You may remember this one. They were up in Boston, with a big lead, and proceeded to implode in the final innings. Snatching default from the jaws of victory, they lost. Then they lost two to the Yankees, and still one more. So close to .500. Then BAM. Four more games under.
Fast-forward to May 26th. The Orioles just completed a home sweep of the Royals. And, yes, they managed to crawl their way back to .500 (24-24), only 3 games back of first. Very exciting. But you know the story by now. Fear of success. The O’s have lost 4 straight on their West Coast road trip and will now have to work again to get back to .500.
Is it possible that this team just can’t handle the success of being a “winning” team? Remember, .500 means you won as many as you have lost, but .501 means you have won MORE than you have lost. Can the Orioles get to and exceed .501? It may seem like just a number, but it’s one that’s going to mean a lot when this team can get over their fear of being a winner.