Baltimore Orioles: How important is momentum?


I’ll be honest, if I were a player I would most definitely buy into the idea of putting each game behind you and coming back to the ballpark the next day for a new game. That’s one of the oldest adages in baseball, and one that Buck Showalter has often used with the Baltimore Orioles. And baseball’s the only sport where this can apply given the fact that it’s the only one where you play everyday.

The idea of course is that after a loss you have to try to put it behind you and move onto the next game. However the same is also true after a win. If you don’t put it behind you and move on, you mind find yourself in an inflated sense of euphoria, which can lead to an inflated sense of value. When you start to go too far in that direction, you leave yourself vulnerable to being let down.

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Courtesy of Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s assume of course that putting a loss behind you is the right thing to do. The last thing anyone wants to do is be counter-productive and dwell on losses. But if you put a win behind you, are you in effect doing something counter-productive? Could one not argue that you’re potentially blocking mental momentum?

I suppose it matters what’s causing momentum in the first place. I’m not an athlete, so I can’t tell you what exactly it means to “put a game behind you.” However needless to say, it’s an interesting point. The Orioles come to the park each day focusing on “today’s game,” and today’s game only. So if where as many fans argue that this team can’t string together multiple victories in a row, is it potentially a mental thing?

Perhaps the point here is that taking both good and ill things “with you” can be mutually exclusive. If a pitcher gets rocked in a game, he can try to put that behind him in his next outing. However if he pitches well, there’s no reason why he can’t “take that with him” into his next outing.

So if in fact the O’s are literally going game-by-game as they say, perhaps they’re leaving a lot of potential on the table. You also can’t discount the fact that not only are the O’s not at full strength, but that there’s more parity in the league than there’s been in years. As Showalter’s said many times, you should always give credit to your opponents.

Next: Baltimore Orioles: Are Infield Shifts Hurting Baseball?

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