Amidst all the Oriole magic that has been occurring this season I keep finding myself asking the same question, especially after each victory that comes against New York and Boston.
Are we seeing a changing of the guard in the AL East?
Are we seeing our Baltimore Orioles take the step from losers to contenders?
I don’t want to get ahead of myself here because the Yankees are still the Yankees and when a team has an owner and front office such as theirs that is always willing to spend money they can never really be counted out.
So what are we seeing? These birds are for real. If you still have any doubts about their legitimacy go watch Thursday night’s game again. If you still think they are pretenders after watching that, I’ll pay for the Mayflower van to take you to another baseball city.
I think we are seeing the emergence of a long run of winning seasons in Baltimore. The culture has changed around not just the players but around the whole city of Baltimore. This fan base realizes that Oriole Magic is happening here and they are feeding off it like starved hyenas. Although I was not at Camden Yards Thursday night I was watching from college; It was an amazing feeling to watch the Orioles win in a manner that only Baltimore fans can truly appreciate after watching a season with so many similar up and down instances. To see a crowd so electric, with so much intensity, gave me chills. The hair stood up on the back of my neck when Adam Jones crushed that home run to break a 6-6 tie moments after Pedro Strop blew a 6-2 Orioles Lead.
That is the difference this year. That is the difference Buck Showalter has made.
He has instilled into every one of these players’ minds that they are one team that has one goal. So when Pedro has a bad night ( which is something we have rarely seen from the setup man) someone is there to pick him up. Thursday night the whole team picked him up, and tomorrow night someone else might need to be picked up and this team is ready for whatever that may entail .
We have seen a huge overhaul of this Orioles Franchise from top to bottom since Buck Showalter got here. The farm system has been vastly improved and filled up with good young talent, Dan Duquette has been a wizard all season pulling off head scratching moves that have filled key needs on a team no one expected to win 70 games. The Orioles are raking in their division and have been warriors on the road. Duquette has also vastly improved the international scouting department and insisted that this season is not a one year wonder but instead wants to build a franchise that will be competitors for years to come.
With Boston hitting the reset button, New York full of injuries and age becoming a factor, could we be seeing the start of the Baltimore-Tampa era in the Al East?
I believe so, and its been a long time coming. Enjoy this Baltimore, savor this season, remember how you felt when the losing began to fade. These are the days my generation has dreamed of, first hearing the stories of Oriole Magic back in the the good old days but now actually experiencing Oriole Magic for myself I can fully understand how special baseball can be in Baltimore.