Everyone slips into a rut at times.
The Baltimore Orioles haven’t won a game in a week.
They’ve looked listless and weary and miserable. It’s only May and they look like they’ve been playing on fumes for months.
Their pitching has been unreliable, often stinky, but, with no real starting ace, no closer, and a constantly rotating cast of bullpenners, what can you expect?
Last night, in losing to the Houston Astros on national television, the broadcasters put much of the blame on Orioles closer Zach Britton being on the disabled list (where he’ll stay until at least July or, who knows when). His absence, they thought, must be why the Orioles are so stinky.
But, Britton’s bum arm can’t explain some atrocious starting pitching, sleepy hitting, or the stab-me-in-my-heart-this-sucks-so-bad errors in the field.
Are Orioles slumps worse than the slumps that hit other teams?
Probably not, but I’m going to go ahead and say yes anyway, because I don’t care about other teams and Orioles slumps put me in a swampy funk.
It’s only May. Too early to panic. (Right?)
There is only one person who can pull me out of this swampiest of swampy funks.
“Every year I get a lot of letters from kids asking what I do to get out of a slump when one comes. The answer is nothing!”
Babe? Babe Ruth, is that you? Are you sure about this? Very sure? A slumping team should do nothing? Nothing at all?
“I just stay in there and keep on swinging. The worst thing about a slump is that fellows get their spirit down when one comes along.”
My spirit is down, Babe. It seems like the O’s spirits are down, too. Gloomy Gusses all. Chris Davis, one of our sluggers, is batting .091 this past week. Seth Smith, generally an Old Reliable, is at .059. (You probably didn’t even realize numbers could go that low, did you, Babe?)
“Slumps come to everyone. … I don’t know what makes them. No one does. But, I do know there is nothing to do but stay in there and keep trying. And, after a while they go away just as suddenly as they come.”
The Orioles play the Houston Astros again today, Babe. I know you’ve never heard of the Houston Astros, but believe me, they’re awfully good. So, could today be the day the Orioles come out of their slump?
“After awhile they go away just as suddenly as they come.”
These slumps are horrible, Babe. They’re breaking my heart.
“They go away just as suddenly as they come.”
Babe, you wrote this column, published in national newspapers, in July of 1928. But, I think you wrote it just for me. I knew I could count on you.
“There’s no explaining a slump and no way to keep one from coming. All you can do is laugh it off and keep swinging.”
Thanks, Babe Ruth. You’ve been very helpful.
Laugh it off and keep swinging.