I’m coming out of the shadows to write something that I think is important for my fellow baseball fans, specifically Orioles fans, to hear. It’s literally been June since I’ve written anything on this site. I spent the entire second half of the summer sitting back and enjoying one of the most memorable seasons in Baltimore baseball history. I didn’t want to mess it up by being too analytical or offering my opinion on what I was seeing, so I just decided to enjoy it.
But there’s something very important that I’ve realized through that hiatus, especially over the past few weeks as the offseason rolls along. It’s specific to the Orioles and their current regime with Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter at the helm. This is only my observation, and it may not work for everyone, but I think it’s important to give a perspective on how things have changed since those two have come along and completely transformed baseball in Baltimore.
To fully explain this, I’ll have to first make sure you know what the social media app “Timehop” is and how it works. For those who don’t, it’s a pretty simple concept. The app links to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and each day, gives you a view of pictures, posts and tweets that you sent on this exact day one year ago, two years ago, three years ago and so on. It’s a glimpse into your social media history that you can then share again for friends and followers to see. This app has given me an idea of exactly how I was feeling about the Orioles at certain times in the recent past.
Now that you understand where I’m going with this, I can explain to you exactly what I’ve seen on this little app over the past few weeks. It’s been a lot of the same things that my fellow social media fans have been posting and tweeting in recent weeks. Words that come to mind are anger, confusion, frustration and impatience. I’ve given up being angry, confused, frustrated or impatient. I’ve learned that it’s simply not worth it. I did it already over the past few seasons, and it proved completely unnecessary. The Orioles won the AL East this past season (like I need to remind you). They demolished a team that the so-called experts thought had one of the best pitching staffs in history in the ALDS. Then they ran into one of the hottest teams in history and bowed out of the postseason. There’s no shame in any of that. I, along with many of you, challenged the Orioles last offseason for a lack of activity during the offseason, specifically at the Winter Meetings. The O’s just completed another uneventful Winter Meetings where they left with nothing but a pair of players from the Rule 5 Draft.
The simple message is clear. Duquette and Showalter have earned the benefit of the doubt over the last few seasons. It may have taken me a while to see it, but I do now. I’m not saying there is no room for criticism, because that would be silly. When I read rumors of a possible return by Nolan Reimold yesterday, I nearly fell out of my chair. That’s something that would truly bother me, but Duquette knows better than I do. It’s why he gets paid to run the team.
I know many hate to see Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis and Andrew Miller depart this offseason. It’s especially painful to see Markakis leave after such a long tenure in black and orange. But these things happen. It’s a business and he did what’s best for him. More power to him, I’m happy that he’s happy.
The important thing to remember is that the departure of these three players does not mean the Orioles will go into Opening Day next year with only 22 men on the roster. They will get to play with 25 just like everyone else, and someone will step into the roles that those three left behind. It happens every year – players leave and new ones follow. Everyone thought the 2014 season was doomed to fail after the Winter Meetings in 2013, but the exact opposite proved true. It’s not all that unrealistic to believe 2015 can be a great season, even if the Orioles didn’t make all the big moves this past week. I’ve learned to have faith and give the benefit of the doubt. You won’t see me claiming that there’s some systematic failure with the organization because they didn’t spend the big bucks. They haven’t made a splash in years and it’s worked out well, so there’s no reason to start now.