First and foremost, Happy New Year, 2015! I hope that everyone had a safe and happy New Year’s Eve last night, and are looking forward to a New Year’s Day chock full of college bowl games. I say this every year, however it’s now safe to refer to 2015 as this year for the Baltimore Orioles as they begin the defense of their AL East pennant. Since the end of the playoff run perhaps you noticed that I’ve refered to 2014 as this past season. Now it’s official; 2014 is last year, and 2015 is this year!
You saw my reference to the AL East pennant above, and that’s really all I want to focus on today. I’ll keep this short, because you and both have better things to do than reading or writing a baseball column on New Year’s morning. The Orioles of course have lost several pieces of that great 2014 team, which will make this season all the more challenging. However while the past is simply that, the Birds can’t allow themselves to totally forget it.
They need to now have the mindset that they’re the defending champions. Yes granted we’re only talking about the division and not the entire league. But still, they’re the holders of the AL East pennant. So New York, Boston, Tampa, and Toronto are all chasing them from the get go. Being the holders doesn’t do anything for you once the first ball of the season is thrown out, however the mindset should still be there:
We may not be the team we were last season, but we’re still the defending champions. So if you think you have a shot in 2015, you come and get that pennant from us.
And I can guarantee you that the likes of Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, J.J. Hardy, et al, and of course Buck Showalter, will dedicate every fleeting moment from game one of spring training until the last out on the last day to ensure that the Orioles repeat.