Or has this been one big slog of a season thus far?
Sure, it's better than last year's Orioles team, which was 20-52 after 72 games, and there's been a decent amount of winning streaks this year, but they've promptly been erased by equally as long -- or longer -- losing streaks.
This year's team is just so...boring.
And it's making it hard to care about this team.
Usually, I'd be at code red levels of irate right now, especially after the O's lost 5-4 to the Pirates to lose the series in Pittsburgh, and fall to 33-39, 10.5 games out of first, but I have a hard time mustering that anger. I mean, it's been 14 years, people. After 14 years I'm willing to bet Andy Dufresne had a hard time getting all worked up about being falsely imprisoned at Shawshank.
Maybe it was the heart-breaking loss in Boston last month or the extra-innings loss at home to Tampa Bay a week ago -- games that I tuned into and watched from beginning to end. Why do I always happen to watch every pitch of the worst losses of the season? UGH!
OK, OK, you got me. I was at one time excited about this year's team. But then reality sunk in. Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee are two of the latest on a long list of great players to come to Baltimore and promptly forget how to play baseball. Kevin Gregg might as well stuff butter fried steaks with eggs on them down our throats because he's giving Orioles fans heart attacks each time he enters a game. And it's maddening to even think that the Orioles forfeited a draft pick to sign Michael Gonzalez, who is demonstrating that professional pitchers can -- and do -- forget how to throw a ball across home plate with regularity. Sorry, haters. Watching aging veterans flail away at the plate does not inspire interest. Been there, done that. It was called Baltimore, 1999.
OK, so Jake Arrieta is tied for the league lead with wins. Good job, Jake. (And Brian, you may win that bet after all. At least you have a good chance. It's probably the only thing that interests me about this team right now.) Zach Britton looks good, and I do believe he's going to have a good career, but his progress thus far has been erased by Brian Matusz' injury and struggles since coming back from the DL.
But it mostly comes down to the dumb style of play this team seems to fall into year after year. Wasn't Buck Showalter supposed to whip this team into shape the way he did last August and September? Or was that 34-23 record under Showalter last year one of the biggest flukes in the history of baseball? Watching this team give away outs and botch routine plays with little or no response from Showalter makes it seem so.
So there you have it. 2011 will be known as the "at least it wasn't as bad as 2010" season, but it's still just as frustrating in many ways.
No one expected them to make the playoffs. But they were supposed to be better than this.