Orioles 2012 Reflections: The Never Quit Team
This is the 12th and final post of a series on the season past – my personal reflections upon some of the great moments of the season, along with items smart and stupid that I wrote since last winter. I finish with a couple of miscellaneous quotes about items from the season that I think I’ll long remember.
I wrote several times about Buck Showalter – He sure does remark a great deal about non-tangibles such as, “I like the look in his eye,” or, “The look on his face is a good one,” or, “You gotta like the way he carries himself.” I don’t mean to doubt Buck – the best baseball guy we’ve had in that dugout in a long time – but I’d like to go more on the look in the other guys’ eyes when the fastball flies past them or the change freezes them or the ball flies out of the park! Buck likely just runs out of new things to say to the press.
It really is stunning how often Buck says something like this about “looks.” And again, imagine having to face the press multiple times a day over a 162-game season. However, Showalter went back to this phrase just last week to the national media when reflecting on the season, saying in an article on mlb.com, “There was a different look in a lot of our guys’ eyes [in October]. Now that they’ve got a taste of it, I feel real confident that they’ll continue to pay the price to do the things it takes to get there.”
I wrote on 9/12 of Gregg’s release – The low point for Kevin Gregg with the Orioles was probably being booed at his introduction on opening day. The high point was likely the respect he received for standing up to David Ortiz in an altercation last season. If I asked you the question as to who is the bigger dude – Big Papi or Captain Chaos, I suspect almost everyone would say Ortiz. In fact, at 6’6” Kevin Gregg is two inches taller and only five pounds less.
I have run this Gregg/Ortiz story past people several times, and I’m yet to find a person who believes it is really true that Ortiz is the shorter guy. He is. Oh if only someone had gotten Gregg to pitch without a “short-arm” style, just imagine the velocity he could have had. Gregg expressed some annoyance on a few occasions, but overall, he endured the comments and derision he had to be aware existed. His paycheck probably helped that be tolerable.
I wrote on 9/22 about the unusual nature of this season – People, this Orioles season is weird! It does not add up; it makes no sense. It is not the greatest baseball story of all-time … nor will it be even if the Orioles were to incredibly win it all, but it is, at a minimum, exceedingly unique. Posting 16 consecutive extra innings victories is weird. 68-0 when leading after seven innings is weird. Leading the league in road victories is weird. And doing all of this with a lineup salted all year with varied re-treads … this is exceedingly weird! Some of the greatest teams ever assembled do not do these sorts of things. It is all strange enough for us 50-somethings to even say, “I’ve never seen anything like it!”
So I’ll end my 12-part review with that! I’ve never seen a season quite like it. It was great fun – especially for a writer/blogger. There was more than enough to write about. And a final stat: The Orioles scored 712 runs to 705 for opponents – a seven-run surplus … yet the Birds had a 24-games-over-.500 record. THAT.IS.WEIRD!