Sunday, April 3, 2011

Optimism about magic is INSANE!?!?

There is a quote that has been attributed to several people, including Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain and Albert Einstein (according to Wikipedia, its most likely origin is author Rita Mae Brown). It goes like this:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

By this definition, you can probably describe my love of the Baltimore Orioles as insane (and you'd probably be right). When I was nine years old (sadly, 28 years ago) the Orioles beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1983 World Series. "Orioles Magic" was alive and well. There hasn't been much to celebrate since then. In fact, the Orioles haven't made the playoffs since 1997 (coincidentally, also the last year they finished with a winning record). My son is 10 and he has never expressed much interest in baseball. I am pretty sure that Oriole futility has something to do with that.

But with each new season, I believe this will be the year they will pull themselves out of the AL East cellar (not win the World Series..I'm not THAT kind of insane). And they often give signs that they have turned the ship around. Success usually begins to elude them at the end of May however. Last season though, after they hired manager Buck Showalter on July 29th, the team finished with a 34-23 record (the best record of any AL East team during that span). During the offseason, they added a bunch of decent players, including Vladimir Guerrero, Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy and Derek Lee (there are more, and if they read this I apologize for not listing them).

They have won the first two games of the 2011 season, beating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2010 AL East Champs) 4-1 and 3-1. The starting pitching (not considered the team's strength) has been OUTSTANDING so far, and today their most highly touted pitching prospect (Zach Britton) will make his Major League debut. All of this seems REALLY exciting.

But I have been an Oriole fan for awhile now. I was excited when they won it all in '83. I got really caught up during the "Why Not" season of 1989. I even may have put aside my pacifism and called for bodily harm to Jeffery Maier when he caught that Derek Jeter "fly ball" (I refuse to call it a home run) in the 1996 AL Championship Series. I've seen too much.

No matter how much I want to, I can't let these first two games get me too excited. That would be insane!

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