Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's May 21st, and I'm bored!

At least Terminator Salvation comes out today. I'll be seeing it tonight at 7 p.m. And no, it's not a coincidence that the Orioles finish their soon-to-be sweep at the hands of the Yankees at that same time.

As the Orioles sink lower in the standings (they now sit at 16-24, good for 9.5 games out of first), I am left to wonder: When can we start to evaluate this team... as a team?

For years, team progress has been ditched in favor of player accomplishment (Nick Markakis hit .291 as a rookie! Aubrey Huff hit 36 home runs last year!). And this year is no different as the likes of Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold improve with each at bat.

But as the players get better, it seems like the team’s record gets worse.

Sure it doesn’t help that Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson have made a combined 14 starts 40 games into the season, and shouldn't play a part in this team's future past June, but you’d think that as the Orioles organization finally produces some decent MLB quality players, that their record would finally improve.

Hasn’t happened yet.

So I ask, when can we stop fawning over each Jones home run and start getting excited about wins? When Matt Wieters is called up? When Troy Patton or Chris Tillman replaces Eaton in the rotation?

I guess.

One thing is for sure, when that next wave of young talent reaches the majors, the Orioles will be interesting to watch again, win or lose, at least for a week or two. Hell, I even tuned in last Saturday to see 29-year-old Rich Hill make his first start as an Oriole in place of Hendrickson.

But when will the Orioles be interesting because they’re winning?

By the end of the year, Andy MacPhail will have all his pieces in place for a run at a winning season (Wieters, Patton, Tillman and Jason Berken) should all be ready by opening day 2010 if not sooner). Come 2010, there will be no more excuses, regardless of which player has a great year. It’s time to parlay all that player development into actual winning seasons.

So by then, we’d better be paying more attention to the standings.

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