Buck Showalter, where have you been all these years?
Photo via Bronx Baseball Daily
It's a great time to be an Orioles fan. We don't get to say that very often. Since Showalter took over as manager, the Birds are reborn. It's almost as if they'd been playing a little prank on everyone over the first four months of the season. It turns out they've been a great team all along, fully capable of winning a series or five against their terrifying division brethren.
The O's just wrapped up a three-game series in Boston, taking two out of three from the Sox. After only winning two games out of 18 against Boston last year, they actually managed to even the season series at nine. Playing Boston means I get to watch them on NESN, of course. I also get to give Mock some mild ribbing when my team wins 9-1 as they did on Tuesday.
I must say, Red Sox Nation is pretty subdued at the moment. While the Sox have not yet been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the writing's been on the wall for quite a while now. They are chasing two very good teams who don't seem inclined towards charity. Of course, the Yankees fans around here are delighted. The Sox-Yanks rivalry is at the core of the sports culture in northwest Vermont and students ask me all time which I prefer. When I tell them I'm an Orioles fan, it really throws them off. Desperate to know where I fit on their spectrum, they'll ask "But if you had to choose, which do you like better?" (For the record, the Sox - but they're only marginally less evil.)
With only ten games to go, what glimpse can the end of this season give into the possibilities of the next? Who would have thought that Baltimore's year was even remotely salvageable two months ago? I had my doubts as to whether or not they'd win a third of their games and here they are flirting with .400. There's no escaping the division cellar at this point but it's a decent bet they won't finish as the worst in the Majors, or even the American League. They seemed a lock for that not long ago. Are they really as good as they've looked for the past several weeks or is it all a mirage?
All I can say for now is this: Mr. Angelos, for the love of Brooks, Cal and Eddie, please don't screw this up.