The Lodestar of Losers

“Hey, I know the rules. Someone has to have the worst record in baseball. I just wish it wasn’t the O’s.” ~ A thoughtful Orioles fan in this morning’s Baltimore Sun. (Oh wait … hey, it’s me!)

I am in a bad mood this morning.

Fun Fact 1: The Baltimore Orioles lost their 100th game last night and the Kansas City Royals will likely lose 100 before the season is through. The Boston Red Sox would have to stink mightily to not win 100+.

Fun Fact 2: In 2017, three teams – the Dodgers, Indians, and Astros – each won more than 100 games. No one lost 100.

Fun Fact 3: In 2016, one team – the Cubs – won 100+. And, one – the Twins – lost 100+.

Fun Fact 4: In 2015, one team – the Cardinals – won 100. No one lost 100.

Fun Fact 5: In 2014, the Orioles, with 96 wins, won the AL East. No team won or lost 100 games.

Fun Fact Analysis 1: Losing 100 is rarer – and, ergo, much more interesting – than winning 100.

Fun Fact Analysis 2: The Baltimore Orioles winning the AL East in 2014 is the best part of this analysis.

(Am I helping?)

There are other teams that have had worse seasons than the 2018 Orioles. I don’t care. The Orioles are the worst of now.

When you go from trying to win games, to trying to win “to salvage the season,” to “we’re rebuilding, so we’re not really trying to win at all,” it requires a new mindset.

I still don’t know what that mindset should be.

Why are you still smiling?

It’s probably not doing you any good to cheer for a team if they’re just auditioning players for the future and not really … well … playing for today.

You keep supporting them, sure – those are the rules, bandwagoneers – no matter what.

You root for these kids, even if you don’t know their names.

(Wait, second baseman Jonathan Villar and second baseman Breyvic Valera are two different people?)

But, it’s hard to cheer for a game like this …

So, what now? Are we supposed to just sit and mope?

Screw you, Orioles front office. Things are tough enough in the real world, and now you want me to suffer with you, too? You are supposed to be my distraction. You are supposed to be my happy place.

You are supposed to be my circumbendibus – the diversion from the real worldiness of the real world.

(Circumbendibus. I know, pretty sweet, isn’t it?)

And, now you’ve gone and messed it up. Now, I’m supposed to be the Pollyanna who says, “There, there, it’s ok. We’ll win again. Not today. Not next year. Possibly never. Really, I don’t know. But, please stop crying. You still have your Jonathan Schoop t-shirt. You’ll always have that.”

We watched last night’s 100-loss game.

No loss is pretty, but some losses are decidedly unprettier than others. When you have 100 losses to choose from, you can get pretty choosy.

Some losses hurt, some make you angry, some make you feel cheated, some seemed so close, some make you cry, and some, like last night’s, are just a bad takeout pizza – greasy, cold, and, what the hell?!, I didn’t order pepperoni.

Why watch the equivalent of a cold and greasy pepperoni pizza?

Why not change the channel?

I don’t know. Maybe the remote was too far away and Editor/Husband was busy doing a crossword puzzle. Hey, does anybody know a three-letter word for a “Kool-Aid alternative”? (Don’t say “Gin.”)

Anyway, in the middle of last night’s game, the Orioles broadcasters (Jim Hunter and Mike Bordick … just to be clear that Hall of Famer Jim Palmer was not party to this) began discussing pencil sharpeners.

I am not making this up. That’s what they came up with. It might have been a one-minute conversation, but, honestly, it might have gone on for the entire inning. Time and distance get pretty muddled when your team sucks and the only thing your broadcasters can think of to kill time is to discuss hand-crank pencil sharpeners.

So, there you have it. That’s the new mindset, Orioles fans.

By Michael Coghlan, via Creative Commons

Pencil sharpeners.

Welcome to the Birdland Blues.

Well, I’ll always have my Jonathan Schoop t-shirt.

(Mookie says “Hi.”)

 

19 thoughts on “The Lodestar of Losers

  1. I was in Baltimore a few weeks ago to see the Yankees and Orioles . It saddens me to see what has happened to the Os. Adam Jones is still there and so are Caleb Joseph and Chris Davis, with his big ass contract. It’s not fair to the fans that the Orioles ownership is so cheap and letting everyone go. How do you let your ENTIRE BULLPEN get traded?! This is my 6th year coming to Camden Yards and it’s my favorite ballpark, yes, even better than my own Yankee Stadium . Orioles fans have always been supportive, even when the team has been bad. Buck Showalter deserves better, and I’m not saying that because I have a soft spot for former Yankees managers , but because he’s really a decent guy, who knows his baseball . It’s ashame and I hope the Os get back on track soon

    • I think there’s a deeper problem. Fans will complain about Chris Davis’ $161M megadeal and in the next breath complain about the Orioles being cheap. So, we’re sort of all over the place in our thinking. I think the Orioles were all-in for the past couple seasons and now they are “all out.” Rebuilds are slow, tedious, and filled with losses. Look at the Astros … three desperately bad seasons during their rebuild — losing 106, 107, and 111 games in ’11, ’12, & ’13, and 92 losses in ’14. A turnaround in ’15 and ’16 … and 101 wins and the World Series in ’17.

      That’s why I said, a “rebuild” is an entirely new mindset. Orioles fans complained when the O’s traded Erik Bedard for five untested, unknown Seattle prospects in 2008. One of those? Adam Jones. We need to be patient … and confident that’s there a new Adam Jones on the horizon for us. And, better years. We have to be strong. It’s not going to be easy, but we know that there are some tough seasons ahead. The Astros did it. So can we.

        • You’ve probably only been to the Yankees games at Camden Yards lately, when Yankees fans sell out the park … you should see how empty the stands have been during other games. We were joking the other night that when we are next up there later this month, they’ll give everybody boxes filled with all the season’s leftover t-shirts and bobbleheads. Being supportive during a rebuild isn’t going to be easy … but it will be interesting.

          • Yeah, but last year we went to see Baltimore and Red Sox , I thought that would be more crowded as well, but it wasn’t as crowded as the Yankees series was this year and last year. A child next to us in a restaurant said to his mama, “why are there so many Yankees fans here?” Wow.

    • I love Buck … but, to be fair, he’s also had a lot of talented teams that underachieved. I’m not sure why that is. I would like to see him stay with the O’s in some capacity … but I also know that there is no rebuild unless you actually rebuild.

  2. Oh Jackie, I think it’s past time for hugs and chocolate. They are just temporary fixes. So, grim patience softened by love of the game and, perhaps, some Three Stooges or Marx Brothers movies to provide a few chuckles are on the agenda. And, circumbendibus? Really? That made me smile.

  3. “Tea”. Mookie is quite handsome. My solution is to find enjoyable distractions. The final week of the season will include my first visit to Cooperstown, followed by a drive to Pittsburgh for the last 2 regular season games and to see PNC Park and some other parts of the city. Then I can root against the Empire and Empirelite in what I always hope is a full-term Postseason. Spring Training will reincarnate our hopes and dreams.

  4. The team I root for is often out and of contention by about June. While I continue to support the Mets and start each new season with misguided optimism, I have gotten into the habit of adopting a team for the postseason. This year I have my eye on the Rockies.

    • I tried that “adopt a team” thing one year and I felt guilty the entire time. So, now, I’m just rooting on a game-by-game basis. And, since the fire sale, I should have plenty of former Orioles to root for in the post-season this year … so that will keep me busy. :)

  5. The 1962 Mets were fascinating on our local radio station in Connecticut because Murphy, Nelson and Kiner had so many stories and a win was like a David and Goliath accomplishment. Casey and the boys kept the optimism at just a din so the glory of one of four seemed normal. Along with being the first year of full season intense acknowledgement of the game, I knew we had a compilation from the dregs of the sport. Amazin Mets.

  6. Schoop hit a granny (grannie?) this weekend, does that help? OK, sure, it was after he went from Baltimore to Milwaukee, but I’m sure he’d have done the same for the Os if they’d ever loaded the bases. OHHHHH. That was so mean. And so uncharacteristic of me. I’m sorry. But it kinda fits with the theme, right? The ringer attended Friday night’s game and got a little smile and wave from #5, seated in the best MLB game seats he’s ever enjoyed. We didn’t take him to the game, obviously, or he’d have been siting in the Uecker seats! Glad you got some good press for your great blog, Jackie. Always fun to read, even when you’re hitting 100.

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