It wasn’t too long ago that I was dressing out in my uniform and heading out to work with the Oriole catchers on some of the fundamentals of the position.
It was a time that the O’s were talking about a youth movement, and it wasn’t going to be long before we were going to be a contender again.
That was eight years ago, and Brian Roberts was battling Jerry Hairston for an infield job.
Jay Gibbons, Chris Richard , Gary Matthews Jr., Luis Matos and who could forget Larry Bigbie were all vying for spots in the outfield.
Geronimo Gil was quietly given the catching job, and the likes of “Bad Boy” Sidney Ponson, Rodrigo Lopez , BJ Ryan, Jorge Julio, Willis Roberts, Josh Towers, and Eric Bedard were a very impressive group of young pitchers who couldn’t miss.
Lets make mention of some of the others who came on the scene after that and logged their names in the book of “could-have-beens”. Jack Cust, Eric DuBose, Matt Riley, Val Majewski, Danny Cabrera, Todd Williams, Aaron Rakers, John Maine, Alejandro Freire, Eli Whiteside, Kurt Ainsworth, John Parrish, and heck, I’m getting tired.
There was an All-Star team in there somewhere, but for some reason they just didn’t put it all together.
Those were all pretty good players at one time or another, and they were supposed to carry us back into the record books. I saw the talent that was here and I agreed with all the scouting reports on their ability. They were all bundled up under that security blanket that protected everything they said and did. They were allowed to be on their own programs after awhile because the game was changing and you could no longer demand that they do things the Oriole Way for fear you would offend them and off to the agents they would run.
The one thing that was lost in the translation was, by the way, that we’re supposed to win. Eventually.
Well it hasn’t happened yet and I think it has everything to do with the misunderstanding of the word “developing.” Developing doesn’t mean it’s okay to lose because you haven’t been here very long; it just means that we’re giving you another chance as long as you learn from the mistakes you have already made.
It also doesn’t mean that it’s okay to accept losing because no one expects us to win.
We’ve had a miriad of great players and enough good pitching to keep us in any pennant race. I hope we have all learned from some of the mistakes we have made and dont forget that this is not high school where everyone has to play; and this is not college ball where everyone has to be happy; and this is not minor league ball where your record doesn’t matter--this is the big leagues and the bottom line is WIN.