Where to rank the Baltimore Orioles’ 2014 season?
Whenever a team has as dramatic a season as the Baltimore Orioles did this season, the natural question pops up of where does this season rank will generally follow. First off, this is all a matter of opinion – and ANY AND ALL opinions are worthwhile. You might meet someone who would rank the 2009 season as #1 in their mind because they proposed to their now wife on June 13th at Camden Yards as the Birds defeated the Atlanta Braves 8-4 (random reference for sure). While the O’s only recorded 64 wins that season, it’s not difficult to understand why someone would say that’s the best season ever – the point is that everything is relative.
Courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Please bear in mind that I don’t say any of this as a fan, but merely analytically – as is my job. But in my personal opinion 2014 was the greatest Orioles’ season in my lifetime. Technically I was two years old when they won the World Series in 1983, but I wasn’t following the team at that time for obvious reasons. The 1996-97 teams were about as solid as they come, and to this day I would still say that either one (if not both) should have justifiably won a World Series. But those were also teams that were projected to do well given the power and the pitching that they had. So their entrance into the post season was a lot less of a surprise than was their exit.
Obviously the best parallel one can make with 2014 is 2012. And some would argue that 2012 was the better year, mainly because it was such a surprise. (I would submit that the 2014 campaign was a surprise to many pundits as well, however much less so than 2012.) I see where that point comes from, and again it’s very valid. However consider this; 2012 didn’t really give the Orioles “a moment” per se. You might recall that after the Birds had defeated the BoSox on the last day of the season they waited on the field for the end of another game in hopes of celebrating a playoff birth with the fans – a celebration that never occurred.
Instead, the O’s were on their team flight on the way to Tampa when they clinched the playoff spot. This year however, they had that moment and then some on September 16th when they clinched the AL East crown. I’m guessing that the image of the Orioles celebrating on the field with the fans is not one that will go forgotten in these parts for some time. That moment, in and of itself, is the reason why I’d rank 2014 as #1 – in my lifetime, that is.
Obviously this franchise also has three world series titles under their belt, so many fans will say that those years were more special – and again, that’s okay! Incidentally, 2012 and 1989 would probably get an honorable mention in my book as well. If I recall the 1989 team got a parade after the season to celebrate how far they came. I doubt Buck Showalter will allow something of that sort to happen here, however no matter how you look at it 2014 was special in Birdland.