In the real world of million dollar players and billion dollar franchises, is it a pipe dream to start each spring with the belief that in some weird cosmic alignment, that possibly, quite possibly, this could be our year? In a world of childish dreams and heroes that hit that game winning walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth, we sit back and wonder whether our beloved Orioles are ever going to be good enough.
It takes a real fan to support a losing team. Tell me about it (I have a habit of picking teams that suffer...maybe it's a psychological disorder of some type). While our history is rich with the taste of champagne, the cabinet is dusty and the pictures of yesterdays heroes are not as clear as they used to be. The uniforms are a bit different, the haircuts are too, the names and faces of players like Flanagan, Palmer, Dempsey and Ripken, Murray and Singleton are engrained in our memories... forever.
What never changes in all of this, is our desire, our incredible deep down hunger for success. You know, the kind of stuff we pass on to our kids, that makes them believe that there is magic on that field, the magic of 2131, that there are players who would die to just play the game, no matter what they were paid... and that in every game there's a chance that we can win, that we can defy the odds, that the pieces of that puzzle will actually come together and give us a picture we can be proud of.
I don't know why I chose the Orioles. Maybe it was that funny bird on the hat. Maybe it was the '79 Series against Pittsburgh. Maybe it was those damned Yankees. Thinking back, it may have been all of the above. When my son was born, and I began to show him my love for the Orioles, I wasn't surprised when he looked at me as if I had somehow lost control of my mind. When he (reluctantly) pulled on that Orioles shirt in little league, I couldn't have been more proud!
"All my friends are Red Sox fans dad..." That pain lingered for a year or two.
He's fifteen now. He loves the Orioles. We made our FIRST trip to OPACY last July for 5 games (2 against the Indians, 3 against the Sox), and I saw in him that same glassy eyed look I had as a boy. That same magic that filled our souls, the love of this baseball team, the love of a city we had never known before.
We are returning *home* next week from our island paradise... Bermuda, and we could not be more excited. 5 games. 2 against the Twins and 3 against those damned Yankees. Home, where a part of our souls will remain, to continue our love for our team, in what we hope will become and annual pilgrimage, a rite of passage that will be shared forever...and yes, our pipe dream is still alive and well, and yes... we believe that the cosmic realignment will happen this year, for as of today we are still tied for first place.
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