Sometimes you surprise me, Orioles fans.
Take last Friday, for instance. After weeks of reading your responses here and on Twitter, disappointed about the team’s lack of big player moves so far, when I wrote that article about ESPN labeling the O’s one of the baseball’s least improved teams, your responses were interesting.
Rather than diss the team, many of you took up for your club, saying they were still a good club and the four-letter network could stick it. Maybe it was the ESPN factor and little (short of Keith Law himself) seems to stir the O’s fans pots more.
It is almost like you said, “Only we can diss our team, not them.”
OK, here comes another one from the same Web site. In this story ranking all the Major League Baseball teams right now, the Orioles are lowest-rated overall among the American League East clubs:
No. 3 - New York
No. 6 - Toronto
No. 11 - Tampa Bay
No. 17 - Boston
No. 19 - Orioles
The Orioles had the third-best AL record last year and now they are 19th in baseball? Before we get all huffy over this, it doesn’t matter at all. It is one writer’s opinion and that is all.
I do find it interesting that the Orioles and Yankees have about the same teams they had to end last year and one is rated third and one 19th. In fact, the Yankees have lost Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez and will likely begin next year without Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. They did re-sign their top pitchers, like Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte, re-upped Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, and get Mariano Rivera back.
To me, this ranking is expected. It wasn’t long after last season that I wrote the theme we would be hearing all winter - the Orioles can’t possibly do that again. “They won so many one-run and extra-inning games, that simply can’t happen again,” we would hear all winter.
Of course, no one points out you don’t have to win close games at a rate like the Orioles did to finish with a lot of wins. The Birds went 54-23 in games decided by two or less last year, while the Yankees were just 41-34. The Yankees won 95 games to the O’s 93.
I haven’t seen any national writers point out that the Orioles had basaeball’s best record from Aug. 1 on in 2012.
It’s OK. It doesn’t bother me at all and I kind of expected it. The Yankees return most of their team and are rated 3rd best, while the Orioles do the same and fall to 19th.
Is anyone surprised by this?