Baltimore Orioles: The dream lives as the cause endures


First off, some historical context; on October 13, 2012 I penned this column for Birds Watcher. As you can see if you read through the entire piece, it was my stab at a game recap in the wake of the Baltimore Orioles losing to New York to close out the 2012 ALDS. Bearing that in mind, as we find ourselves on “Post season Opening Day” 2014, we find “the dream” referenced that morning very much alive.

The 2012 season was such a surprise to Orioles fans given the culture of losing surrounding the franchise for the previous 14 years. It almost felt like they had gone from rags to riches overnight. And in fact, they kind of did. However it still stung for the team and for the fans when they ultimately bowed out of the playoffs nearly two years ago now. Yet in reading through that column, I foreshadowed the 2013 season in which the O’s proved that they belonged on that big stage – although not making it to the post season.

Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

And 2013 laid the foundation for 2014, in which the Baltimore Orioles once again became AL East Champions – which is why they’ll be taking on Detroit in game one of the ALDS this evening at Camden Yards with Chris Tillman facing off against Max Scherzer. Game time is set for just after 5:30 PM. No more questions such as how long should the starters play, or who will get some rest this evening. It’s for all the marbles now, just as it’s been almost since that fateful night of September 29, 2011…when the Fighting Showalters defeated Boston.

And as I said on that October morning in 2012, Rome wasn’t built in a day. That phrase along with that entire column was written with today in mind. And I mean that in truth; it was evident to me at the time that the Orioles were not the one-hit wonder the national media wanted to make them out to be. This was a team and franchise that was set up for success for some time. So I knew that there would be a day when I’d be able to pick up the spirit of that column. And that day is today.

“The dream,” as I called it two years ago, is of course a World Series title. And that’s something that’s very much in play for the Baltimore Orioles. However that’s a goal that has to remain off in the distance for these Birds, as anyone who thinks too much about that now will find themselves watching the World Series on TV. But the theme of that column two years ago should ring true with Baltimoreans and all Orioles fans. The work that began in 2012 went on, the Orioles’ cause still endures, and the dream certainly isn’t dead.

But it’s up to the Orioles themselves in terms of how far they take that dream. The road certainly won’t be easy for Buck Showalter and company, given the names that are missing in this lineup: Manny Machado, Matt Wieters, and of course Chris Davis (for the time being). But yet the likes of Ryan Flaherty, Caleb Joseph, Nick Hundley, and Steve Pearce have all stepped up big for this franchise down the stretch. And I think a greatful fan base will turn out tonight and tomorrow to show those guys how much their contributions are appreciated. And while the road won’t be easy, needless to say the road to get to today hasn’t been either.

So the champagne has dried and the stage is now set. All that’s left is for the Baltimore Orioles to show up at the park later this afternoon and be ready to play tonight. However you’ll notice that the column from two years ago reference’s Senator Edward Kennedy’s The Dream Shall Never Die speech in 1980. (And again, I say this without advocating or opposing any political stance or party.) Prior to the closing lines, Senator Kennedy quoted the lines of Aldred Lord Tennyson:

"I am a part of all that I have met…Though much is taken, much abides…That which we are, we are –One equal temper of heroic hearts,…strong in willTo strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Those words probably mean different things to different people in the context of this Orioles team. However if we’re all a part of all that we’ve met, then all Orioles fans are as much a part of this team and this playoff run as the players themselves. The fans and this team, much like the great city of Baltimore from whence came our national anthem, stand with heroic hearts and with strong wills. Thus the Orioles and all of Birdland who will cease to yield any longer, and it is for them starting today, that the hope still lives and the cause endures – for the dream is very much alive.