With the recently concluded series with Tampa Bay and seven games with the Boston Red Sox over a two-week span in such close proximity to one another, it has led some Oriole fans to root against their own team. For some reason, the O’s laying down for the Rays and playing tough against the Red Sox is the desired outcome, hopefully allowing the Tampa Bay to catch Boston and claim the American League wild card lead.
Why would I ever root against the Orioles? So that one division rival can oust another? Why should I care which of those teams makes the playoffs? Hell, if I had to pick, I’ll take the Red Sox for the playoffs. If the Rays start making the playoffs on a regular basis, they may start to develop a fanbase, something that is non-existent for them now. If that started happening, their revenues would increase and they might really prove to be a more formidable organization than they are already. Boston will continue to be an AL East powerhouse whether they make the playoffs this year or not.
So to root against the Orioles for such petty reasons seems silly to me.
But I will root for them to lose for another reason: the draft.
The five worst records in baseball as of this morning:
Houston 51 - 98 Minnesota 59 - 89 Baltimore 60 - 88 Seattle 62 - 87 San Diego 63 - 85
Baltimore cannot catch Houston but they are neck-and-neck with the Twins and just ahead of Seattle and Kansas City. There can be a big difference between having the second overall pick and the third overall pick. There is even a bigger difference between second and fourth. Or fifth.
In 2010, the second pick was good enough to get your pick of starting pitcher James Taillon or Manny Machado. The fourth pick got you Christian Colon. In 2009, the second pick got you Dustin Ackley. After that came Donovan Tate, Tony Sanchez or Matt Hobgood. In 2008, the second pick was Pedro Alverez. The third and fourth picks were Eric Hosmer and Brian Matusz. OK, maybe 2008 was a bad example.
The point is, this team is a long, long .... long, long, long way from contending. They may truly be a long way from winning. Having the best possible position in the draft and adding the best available talent is way more important than a few wins at the end of a lost season. And it certainly is far more important than playing spoiler to the Red Sox.
So rest Adam Jones and his nebulous injury. Hasn’t Matt Wieters caught 121 games this season? Doesn’t he look tired, Buck Showalter? J.J. Hardy has a limp. No, I’m sure I saw one. Couldn’t Rick VandenHurk and Jo-Jo Reyes get some starts to close out the season?
I’m not above rooting for my team to lose, but only if it helps my team. How it helps other teams is only ancillary.
Heath Bintliff blogs about the Orioles at Dempsey’s Army. His ruminations about the Birds appear as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.