If there is one thing that stirs up Baltimore sports fans, it is a diss or perceived diss of the Ravens or Orioles by someone with a national forum. I guess over-under odds for the season fits that bill, especially one that sets the number for the Orioles at 76.5.
Those of you not familiar with these numbers, they are set by casinos and sports books that can legally take sports bets for a club's wins total for the season. Bettors wager on whether they feel the club will have a wins total over or under the number. After 93 wins in 2012, a number of 76.5 seems low, as set by Steve Mikkelson, the sports book director at the Atlantis Casino in Reno, Nev. Mikkelson posted the first list of over-unders for MLB this year and we present his list for, of course, entertainment purposes only.
Detroit Tigers: 90
Los Angeles Dodgers: 90
Washington Nationals: 90
Los Angeles Angels: 89½
Cincinnati Reds: 88½
Texas Rangers: 87
Toronto Blue Jays: 86½
New York Yankees: 86½
San Francisco Giants: 86
Atlanta Braves: 86
Tampa Bay Rays: 86
St. Louis Cardinals: 85½
Oakland Athletics: 83
Philadelphia Phillies: 81½
Arizona Diamondbacks: 81½
Chicago White Sox: 80½
Milwaukee Brewers: 79½
Boston Red Sox: 79½
Kansas City Royals: 79
Pittsburgh Pirates: 79
Cleveland Indians: 77½
Baltimore Orioles: 76½
Seattle Mariners: 76½
San Diego Padres: 74½
New York Mets: 74
Chicago Cubs: 72
Colorado Rockies: 71½
Minnesota Twins: 64½
Miami Marlins: 64½
Houston Astros: 59½
The Orioles do have the lowest total of the five AL East clubs, where all five are listed at between 76.5 and 86.5.
Before anyone gets too stirred up by this, it is Mikkelson's attempt to produce equal betting on each side of the line and is not necessarily his prediction for the season.
O's fans could take this as a diss or not, but it should come as no real surprise that there are plenty of people out there that see the team coming back to earth this year and saw last year as somewhat of a fluke.
It's been a storyline all winter, so why not keep it going. The Orioles produced a playoff season last year filled with special moments for O's fans. But outside of the Orioles fan base, not many think it will happen again.
A few days ago, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote this article about Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette. In it, he wrote that, "Duquette's being out of the game for 10 years - from the time John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino fired him at a breakfast at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort eight hours into their ownership regime in spring training of 2002 to (Peter) Angelos giving him another chance after looking at several others first - is one of the great mysteries of the game."
Here is another excerpt from the article:
The Orioles, like Duquette himself, have undergone a renaissance. The team lost 14 straight years. Duquette was out of the game 10.
The Orioles improved an MLB-high 27 games. And Duquette, while perhaps still seen as a little tight of a personality by some, has loosened up to the point of not only doing a good job but enjoying the job as well.
More and more, he's one of the guys. The players doused him with champagne after they beat the reigning American League champion Rangers in the wild card game, and some players were amused when he calmly put his trademark sneakers in the wash before putting them back on. (The sneakers-and-suit outfit he sports are a trademark.)
He doesn't seem keen on rehashing the reasons he went 10 years on the sidelines, but he was caught in a moment of introspection Tuesday. "I spend more time with people in one-on-one situations," Duquette said in such a setting. "And I try to enjoy it more. I'm a good big picture guy. I need help from people to implement. I'm sure I can do a better job with relationships."
He and Showalter are a great team, beyond their combined 2,000 major-league victories (Buck reached 1,000 early last season, and Duquette, at 930, should make it this year). Buck, who's mellowed a bit, is the socially adept one. "The things he's good at, I'm not good at," Showalter said. They are a funny pair. Duquette got married this winter, but as of Tuesday, Buck didn't seem to know it.
Maybe Heyman is on to something and Duquette and Showalter are the Orioles' odd couple. Showalter is the one that is more polished with the media and the one-liners. Duquette is more likely to use the term "he's a qualified major leaguer" as a blanket description of most of his signings.
But this was some good national publicity for Duquette and the Orioles' one-two punch has become highly regarded within the game it seems.
Finally, check out this story out of Red Sox camp and be glad this pitcher is not an Oriole. He went 2-10 with an ERA of 5.36 last year, by the way.