What do the Orioles have in store for FanFest week?
I remember two years ago when the Orioles announced literally during the FanFest celebration that they had signed Miguel Tejada to a one-year contract. That’s hardly a splash per se, however keep in mind that Tejada spent a good five years with the Orioles before leaving, and was considered a fan favorite. Many people viewed that move as the Orioles bringing back one of their own. While Tejada may not have yielded the results that the Orioles wanted at the time, he did deliver for the fans in the home opener that year with a home run.
If the Orioles were going to make a splash of sorts, this might not be a bad week. I think that a lot of fans are somewhat restless given the fact that Dana Eveland and Tsuyoshi Wada are two of the big aquisitions the team has made thus far in the off season. I’m not even talking about signing Prince Fielder, or a similar caliber of name (either via trade or free agency). However I suppose that getting a name with a certain amount of “allure” and doing it this week wouldn’t be a bad thing.
The past two FanFest celebrations haven’t been poorly attended. However given the angst that being felt within the fan base, I wonder what the attendance figures will look like on Saturday. I hope that fans wouldn’t decide not to come merely based on that, however when you’re talking about people having to spend money they might decide to spend it on something else if they feel it’s not worth their time. The Orioles are already suffering a bit of a PR hit due to the fact that Brian Roberts will not be attending FanFest (the first time in his career that he’s missed the event). As I said last week, I don’t really have a problem with Roberts heeding the advice of his doctors, and I think fans should look at it in a similar light. However perception is also reality to some people, and their opinions are often made by what’s right in front of the tip of their nose.
I suppose my point is that if they’re going to pick someone up either via trade or free agency, this would be a good time. I’m talking about someone such as Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswaldt. Many people feel that the Orioles now have a decent shot at a free agent pitcher the caliber of Jackson given the fact that the Yankees have apparently set their rotation given the trade they pulled off last Friday.
In no way am I suggesting that it isn’t worth attending FanFest if they don’t pull something off this week. I would remind folks that the core of players the Orioles have right now recorded the franchise’s second straight winning month of September (2010 and 2011) last year, and as we all remember they had their say in the playoff race at the end. I would also submit that this year’s team is already better than they were at that time given the fact that the injuries on the pitching staff are in theory no longer an issue. So while every little bit helps, the likes of Jones, Markakis, Reimold, etc. are hardly retreads. However remember what I said above: perception is often reality. A sly Duquette aquisition this week would help the team as well as give them a bit of a PR bump.
Follow me on Twitter @DomenicVadala