You know how they introduce the opposing team's line-up before the game and the home crowd yells "Suck!" at the top of their lungs after each name is said over the PA?
Well, O's fans could easily do the same thing to the bench players come opening day on April 9th.
I'm talking about the Orioles bench players of course...
Freddie... Bynum... SUCKS!!!
Paul... Bako... SUCKS!!!
Alberto... Castillo... SUCKS!!!
Now I'm not one to boo the home team, but I do reserve the right to do so when they deserve it. And while I won't boo these players come April 9th, I will be mentally booing the O's management for giving these players a roster spot to open the 2007 season.
You see, the Orioles didn't just fill out their bench with has-been veterans and middle-of-the-road journeymen like they've been prone to do in the past. No, we could only be so lucky if we had some of the scrubs we've had in the past on this year's bench.
This year they really went for it, really strove for something that would get people talking. And not just O's fans...
Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus wrote about the Orioles bench, "I'm confident that the 2007 Orioles start the year with the worst bench in 25-man roster history. You probably have to go back to the days of 18-man rosters to find a worse one."
To be fair, the O's lost OF Jay Payton to injury a few days before the season began. Right off the bat that would have put Kevin Millar, Jay Gibbons or Jay Payton on the bench on any given night, making the bench that much better. But they're still shitty, as the Japanese groundskeepers from Major League would say.
Anyway, to make matters worse, on opening day it was announced that catcher Ramon Hernandez was going to miss the series, and possibly be out even longer.
One would have thought that the O's would simply call up Jason DuBois (.918 career MiL OPS, .729 career MLB OPS) to take over Payton's duties until he came back and while they were at it, call up J.R. House (.919 career MiL OPS), a solid hitting catcher who may or may not be Chris Hoiles, Jr. defensively.
Manager Sam Perlozzo needed someone who had "flexibility" and who could "swing the bat a little." Whatever that means, Sammy.
With Paul Bako (.629 career MLB OPS) already taking up a spot on a bench that collected a total of 5 pinch hits in all of 2006 (yes, you heard that right), you'd think that the remaining bench spots would be filled with valuable players.
So who did Sammy choose to fill his "flexible little bat swinging" roster need?
None other than Freddie Bynum, the light-hitting speedster who has accrued a .709 career MiL OPS. To his credit, Bynum actually had a .764 OPS in 136 at bats with the Cubs in 2006, but as bad as Brandon Fahey was last year for the O's, Bynum is simply a slightly better, faster version of Fahey.
In other words it's like picking between a 3-wheeled Pinto and a 4-wheeled Pinto. The 4-wheeled Pinto can at least get moving, but it's still a piece of shit Pinto.
Ok, so did the O's make up for giving away a roster spot to Bynum by calling up J.R. House when Hernandez went down? Nah, instead they opted for the Latino version of Paul Bako -- AKA, Alberto Castillo (.591 career MLB OPS).
And in the first 2 games of the seasons, the sins of the Orioles have haunted them immediately. Trailing late in both games, Perlozzo had no choice but to use Bynum to hit for Bako and Castillo respectively, against Joe Nathan no less, and Bynum, surprising no one, has gone 0-2 in the role.
I'm not saying that J.R. House or Jason DuBois would have done better in those situations, but if you're going to lose close games, like last night's game was especially, you should at least be doing it with players who have proven track records. And while J.R. House and Jason DuBois don't exactly have proven track records at the MLB level, they have proved time and time again that they can hit, and hit with power, at the MiL level.
We saw it last season with Luis Terrero. Terrero was no MiL All-Star, but had some pop in his bat (16 HR's, .927 OPS) at Ottawa in 2006. Instead, the O's trotted Brandon Fahey out in 91 games (!), where he hit to the tune of a .614 OPS in 215 AB's but somehow became a favorite of Sam Perlozzo.
So in reality, it's no surprise that Perlozzo went with Bynum, the faster, 4-wheeled Pinto to Fahey's 3-wheeled jalopy.
And it's no surprise that this has lead to the O's an 0-2 start.