I made a vow to myself today – I was going to write a positive piece about the Orioles. I’m tired of being “Negative Nellie.”
For the first time in 25 years I probably won’t attend a game at Camden Yards in 2018 (due to retirement and moving away from the area). I’ll still be tuned into “Extra Innings” every night. Here are the reasons why:
We’re watching one of the best players in the game. Yes, he needs a few more singles to fall in and maybe a few fewer TOOTBLANs would be nice (stay positive Steve) but think about this. Remember those highlights of him throwing guys out from the 3B dugout over the last few years? Now think about him ranging into shallow left from his new position at shortstop and just gunning a guy. Orioles twitter is going to explode with GIFs multiple times over the next six months and nearly every one of them will be a Manny play.
And if it’s not just him alone it’ll be…
Machado and Schoop
These two are going to be turning double plays all year and it’s going to be glorious. And while we’re at it…
At 25 he went .293/.338/.503 with 32 HR & 105 RBI. Yeah, I’d like to see him get on base a bit more but, again, he’s 25. But you know what I’ll enjoy the most this year? The joy that he and Manny bring to the park every day. They clearly enjoy playing together. And speaking of joy…
I’m an analytics guy. Have been one since I picked up my first “Baseball Abstract” in 1982. Analytics would have me believe Adam Jones is a bit less than I’ve seen.
You know what. Screw that. He’s more.
Adam Jones shows up 150 times a year, give or take. Every time he takes the field my thought is “He’s having fun.” AND he’s pretty damn good at his job. Add in what he’s meant to Baltimore and Adam Jones is much more than the stats. I’ve watched his entire career, in the ballpark and on TV, and he’s what makes being a fan fun.
There’s a tough decision coming this off-season but I’m looking forward to every time he steps into the box this year and swings as hard as he possibly can.
And I hope he can help bring along a guy who showed promise last year…
That was something, wasn’t it? Can he build on it? Can he play 3B? Is it really true the environment made all the difference? I’m interested to find out. And while he’s a little old to be a true “prospect,” there’s another one I’m looking forward to watching and it’s…
His 2nd half last year was pretty, pretty good. Low ERA, a lot of K’s, not a lot of BB’s. Yes, a couple of bad outings but still. If he can make one more step up at 27 he can be a solid starting pitcher which, you know, the Orioles could use.
Finally, pretty, pretty good brings us to…
He’s 24 years old. It’s hard to remember that. He pitched 169 innings last year when the Orioles weren’t even sure he could do it but had to keep him on the roster. He was solid. Not great but certainly far from bad. And he’s 24 years old. There’s a lot of time. I’m going to be watching to see if he can make the transition to, what, #2? #1?. Yeah, the Orioles haven’t had the best track record lately for helping pitchers make that transition but, again, I’m being positive.
So I’ll see you here in the coming months. Watching on MASN and sharing my thoughts on Twitter (@CTRSteve). Maybe, I’ll make a trip back to Camden Yards.
And I hope there are a few other stories to watch if I do.
all photos: GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld