Prior to writing for Birds Watcher, I covered the Orioles for another outlet in 2010-11. After what I still feel was the greatest closing act of all time last September against Boston, I wrote that I felt that game juxtaposed the fortunes of the two franchises together in some strange way for the future. (Shout out to my high school English teachers, as I was paying attention all those years - who else could work juxtaposition into a sports column?).
I suppose that, at the time, I did in fact believe that; however, to be truthful I wrote it for dramatic effect. We can't predict the future, can we?
I watched Friday night's game against the Yankees in a bar; as soon as I walked in, I heard Michael Jackson's "Beat It." Being in my early 30s and thus a child of the 1980s, I immediately thought of Marty going into the Cafe '80s in "Back to the Future II." (Ironically, that movie also had a brief clip which indicated that a team based in Miami had won the 2015 World Series. The Marlins officially changed their locale from Florida to Miami this year.) At the end of the trilogy, Doc Brown comes back to 1985 from the 19th century to visit Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer one last time. He departs by telling the duo, "Your future isn't written yet! So make it a good one, both of you!"
If I could go back to my past self nearly one year ago, I'd probably give myself a variation of that same line with regard to the Orioles. For the record, was I right about the fortunes of the Red Sox and Orioles potentially being juxtaposed at that moment? Right now, at this moment in time, you'd have to say that I was. However, I wrote that with a lot of doubt at the time, because who knows how things go year to year? (I also figured that if I was dead wrong and the O's had another poor season while Boston thrived, nobody would really remember what I said - the classic low-risk, high-reward deal.)
What's my point here? Am I about to get into my DeLorean and speed down Pratt Street at 88 mph and go back in time? I wish, because that would be a pretty amazing experience. However, my point is more that the future of this Orioles team both for 2012 and beyond is not written yet.
It's very easy to say that the season's drawing to a close and things are getting down toward crunch time. However, to use a term we hear in the NFL a lot in December, everyone still pretty much controls their own destiny. The Orioles have played at a high level from April until this point, and while there are several blips in the radar coming in September, has that not been the case for most of the year?
With Chris Tillman's potential injury yesterday, we suddenly see how smart Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette were to stockpile pitchers. Guys will need to continue to go deep into games if the Orioles are to positively affect their destiny this year. Furthermore, they're going to need to continue to hit in the clutch like Mark Reynolds did yesterday.
My personal belief is that the majority of the Orioles' games the rest of the way will be close. In games like that, it's always the team that gets the clutch hits that'll win. And it's the teams that win that will go onto the postseason.
Just like a person's life, the destiny of this Baltimore Orioles team is in their own hands. Pretty heavy stuff, if you know what I mean. The three teams with whom the Orioles are concered right now (for the most part) are the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A's. I know what you're thinking; "Great Scott, that's a murderer's row of teams!"
Again, it's really up to the Orioles. At every turn along the way this year, naysayers have said that various stretches of the schedule would finally break the Orioles' backs. It's never happened, which is why the Birds find themselves within reach of a spot in the postseason. But that's a decision that they'll have to make regarding whether or not they truly play on after Oct. 3. So with that said, perhaps we should revisit and alter Doc Brown's quote just a bit:
"Your future isn't written yet. Nobody's is! So make it a good one, all of you!"
Domenic Vadala blogs about the Orioles at Birds Watcher, and his opinions appear here as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. 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.