Baltimore Orioles: Does professionalism hold the Birds back?


The Baltimore Orioles under Buck Showalter have been a very professional organization. That’s evident in the dugout during games, and it’s evident on the field. This isn’t to say that the players literally have no fun, or that they’re just going through the motions. But you rarely if ever hear the Orioles spoken of as being “loose,” The way they approach games is that they have a job to do and they try to go out and do it as professionals.

I noticed on Tuesday night during the AL Wild Card game that the ESPN commentators referred to Houston as a “loose bunch.” This is a question I’ve posed in numerous manners over the course of the season, however does that play a role in how things go on the field? Namely, does that very professionalism (which mind you is something for which I’m lauding them) work against the Orioles?

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  • Baseball is an old game – timeless, in fact. For a long time, it was America’s only sport that meant anything. And of course at that time society was much more stoic than it is today. Hold on – is this one of those unwritten codes discussions?! Not really – although perhaps it’s related.

    However the point here is that stoicism quickly became a part of baseball’s mentality. That hasn’t really changed as time has gone on – until perhaps now. While the NFL became a showcase for endzone dances and the NBA one for slam dunks, baseball has always frowned on “too much” enthusiasm so to speak.

    Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    So how does this affect the Orioles? Enthusiasm might somehow translate to being “loose” in a sense. So on one hand you have teams such as Kansas City, Toronto, Houston, and even Tampa, who perhaps aren’t held back by the constraints of uber professionalism (on the field, that is). And then you have teams like the Orioles who don’t seem quite as “loosey-goosey” and are more bent on playing the game and being professional about it.

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    Now obviously the thing that some of those teams have in common is that they’re in the post season – and the Orioles are not. However I suppose that it’s human nature to admit that perhaps you find it easier to play when you’re looser. Speaking for myself, I’m a traditionalist; so I have no issue with the Orioes’ stoic presentation. And quite frankly I kind of skoff at teams who seem to put professionalism to the side in the name of looseness.

    In reality we can’t say for sure which way is better or more condusive to wins. However while there’s not a problem with enjoying oneself, players and coaches are also professionals. When you’re paid to do something you should focus on doing it before focusing on having a good time.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Birds Watcher this off season

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