Sunday, June 3, 2007

I remember why I stopped watching

I decided to take some time off from the Orioles and took a trip to New Orleans. I ate, I drank, I saw the sights.

I didn't read one boxscore to see if the O's won or lost.

And as an O's fan, it was probably the most relaxing time of my life these last 9 years. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I no longer cared what they did.

And ironically, the O's went on a 6 game winning streak to get back to .500 during that time.

So like any fan would, I started to watch the team a little more once I got back, but still didn't commit the full 3 hours it usually takes to watch a whole game.

After all, it's only .500. And we as Baltimore fans treat that as something greater than it is after getting so little out of this team. We're like the homeless guy who is grateful for a hot dog in the trash can when others are enjoying prime rib. We've forgotten what prime rib tastes like so we treat the half-eaten hot dog like it's the prime rib.

And, as usual, after getting back to .500, the Orioles lost their next 3 games, including 2 that they should have won if the offense could could get just one clutch hit and Chris Ray could get a save against a decent team.

To be honest, I expected the Orioles to do this. They had won 6 games in a row and were at .500 again. You only need to look back to 2002 when the Orioles got back to .500 in August and then finished the season with a 4-32 record.

Each time in the years since that awful finish, the O's have fallen apart once they got back to .500 as well. It's like they're so exhausted from getting back to mediocrity that they take a week off to celebrate their "accomplishment."

But what still hurts, even though you knew this was going to happen, was that the O's are still losing games like they were earlier in the season -- late in the game.

And as usual, the main culprit in these tragic Sunday afternoon losses is Chris Ray.

Sam Perlozzo is intent on using Ray in every game where he can get a save, no matter what the situation. Jeremy Guthrie pitched an excellent game today, allowing only 1 ER over 8 IP. He only threw 88 pitches. Why Guthrie wasn't allowed to finish the game is beyond me.

And just like he did on the Mother's Day Massacre, Perlozzo couldn't allow Guthrie to finish the game and brought Ray into a another tight situation that he couldn't get himself out of. After today, I wonder if Guthrie is going to beg Perlozzo not to bring Chris Ray into a game in which Guthrie has given them a lead. Especially on Sundays.

People usually balk at the "closer by committee" method because it takes away from the baseball card statistics we love and it hurts a player's fantasy value. But if ever there was a time for the "closer by committee" to be used, it's on the Orioles.

Ray doesn't need to get every save. Walker, Bradford, Williamson, Parrish... any of these guys could close out a game now and then to relieve Ray of the stress that comes with being a closer. But Perlozzo is not that kind of manager. He lives and dies by assigning players to roles and he does more dying than living by doing it.

Just another reason to fire Perlozzo, regardless of the recent 6 game winning streak the O's had despite the manager.

If anything, the 2007 Orioles are as predictable as they are unpredictable. You know they are going to fall apart once they get to .500. But just when you think that the season is over, they rattle off a few wins, even beating a few decent teams here and there, to make things interesting.

But by the time you start to care again, they just remind you why you stopped watching in the first place.

If anything, I'm getting used to it, and the shock of these kinds of losses is wearing off. Just like a lot of things wear off when you've been following a losing team for 9 years. Like caring one way or another.

Let's just hope they have a few more winning streaks in them to at least make the summer interesting until football season starts.


DK said...

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Anonymous said...

Great stuff as usual.We always have these little streaks that fool most of the fanbase into thinking we "have a shot" only to string together 4-5 losses to put us right back where we were.We will continue to sit on the fence of mediocrity and I wish we would drop 12 ina row so that some changes will be made in the right direction,not the wrong one.

Blow it up!