• Apr

    Back to where they belong

    Well congratulations Buck Showalter and the 2011 Baltimore Orioles. By Easter you've sucked the life out of the majority of your fan base once again as you find yourselves in last place after another embarrassing loss to the New York Yankees.

    This year looked promising after an offseason of multiple offensive acquisitions that was supposed to bring some punch to a punchless lineup. After sweeping Tampa Bay, the city was all abuzz about the new look Orioles and how maybe, just maybe, this team could give this fan base something they've craved: a winner.

    The national media started talking about the O's in a positive light and Showalter probably could have run for Governor and won by a landslide. After two and half great months at the end of last year under Buck, it truly did appear that this organization and team had turned the corner.

    Then Bam! Reality hit.

    Since the 6-1 start, the Orioles have gone a pitiful 2-10 for an embarrassing .167 winning percentage. To make matters worse, they have just totally rolled over to the Yankees once again as they have yet to beat the Bronx Bombers. Honestly, Mother Nature is the best thing that has happened to this team because she's rained out two games against them or the Orioles would probably be 8-13.

    I know, I know, the Orioles are missing Brian Matusz and J.J. Hardy but guess what, most teams have some kind of injury they are dealing with and they don't fold up like a deck chair on the Titanic like the Orioles have done.

    Andy MacPhail brought in Derrek Lee (.608 OPS),  Mark Reynolds (.574) and Vladimir Guerrero (.671) to ensure this team didn't go into long offensive droughts but none of them have made a good first impression on their new fans and none of them are doing what they are paid to do, and that's provide some pop.

    They are not alone though. Nick Markakis (.603), Luke Scott (.652) and Adam Jones (.661) have been terrible and Brian Roberts only has a .313 OBP, when his main job is to get on base.

    Buck hasn't done anything to help the situation as he keeps running the same lineup in there day in and day out in some futile attempt that suddenly the team will wake from its season long hitting slumber. He's the anti-Earl Weaver when it comes to using his bench where he's buried Jake Fox (17 ABs) and Felix Pie (19 ABs) through the first 19 games. A good manager finds ways to keep his entire bench from getting rusty, but at his point, all the good feeling Fox had after his monster spring is gone.

    We know that this team is not going to keep playing .167 baseball, but we also know that the magical bubble around Showalter has been popped and the reality is that this team is going to struggle to stay out of the cellar in the AL East.

    I have to admit I was wrong. I fell for it once again. Although there were signs that this team was going to struggle once again, my heart wanted me to believe. It wanted me to believe that Showalter really does have an effect and this team was capable of doing special things. It believed after 13 seasons the Baseball Gods would finally bring us good fortune and that this team could finally bring what this fan base needs, a winner.

    But, the reality is the Orioles are in last place on Easter once again and that looks all too familiar.

    At least we are all in this together again. Happy Easter everyone.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.