Enjoying the Ride

Baseball is supposed to be fun. It’s the reason we come out to the ballpark, watch on TV, or play a game of our own. Over the last few years Orioles fans have had a lot to be excited about, the team has been competitive. They hit the ball out of the park better than any other team. The defense (the infield particularly) plays lights out making, plays that leave us gaping.

But it’s frustrating when they get blown out. And with the rotation the way it is, it happens far too frequently. Blowouts are not fun. It doesn’t matter what side of it you’re on, they don’t really keep you engaged in the game. It’s easy to lose interest as the game can’t be changed with a single swing of the bat, a diving grab, or a cutting pitch that leaves a batter frozen knowing he’s just been wrung up.

The excitement, win or lose, comes from those close competitive games. The pitching staff has gotten the team off on the wrong foot all season, the first inning being statistically the worst with 97 (0.65/game) runs against, accounting for 15% of the Orioles runs given up.

The thing to take out of this though is to enjoy the games that can contain our interest. The emotional ride is what keeps fans coming out. Blowouts, no matter what side of it you’re on don’t keep your interest. Birdland twitter was a fun place to be on Friday and Sunday. Saturday, had a lot of positivity, but wasn’t thoroughly engaging. Monday it was an awful place. The Wade Miley debacle compounded with the off field divisiveness that has begun to bleed in from the Kaepernick protest, made twitter a very negative place, and upon reflection, didn’t make me feel any better about seeing my team give up 6 runs in two innings.

Living in Canada, I don’t get to watch Orioles games with other Oriole friends (outside of my recently converted spouse who had no real allegiance). I enjoy watching with friends who are Jays fans, but they always ask ‘Why is Camden so empty?’ I can only imagine that part of it (outside of the weekday games) is the fear of going and witnessing what we saw last night. It wouldn’t be fun. I’ve been lucky to see 8 Oriole games this year in Houston, Toronto, and Baltimore. I’m 3-5, I was 0-5 before heading down to Baltimore for the sweep over Cleveland. The thing about the 8 games I saw, only one was a blowout. One game had the Orioles giving up 5 in the first, but ended up losing 10-9, with Pedro coming about 5 short of a grand slam that would have given them the lead. If all 5 games had been blowouts I probably would have still gone to Baltimore, but who can say. But I was always there for multiple games in a series. The combined score in those 8 games? 38-38. The games and series were entertaining, they kept me wanting more. It’s the totality of the games that have me making the trip again for the final two games in the Arizona series.

As sports fans we’re emotional people. We react to the moment, good or bad, and quite often without thinking. The ride for the last few years has been fun. And I’m looking forward to the next 19 games, but we need to keep things in perspective and enjoy the ride as maddening as it may make you. The one run game is the drug of the baseball fan, it keeps us on the edge of our seat or pacing in the house. Here’s hoping we all wear out a nice path in the carpet.

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