“I don’t get no respect!” The famous line used by legendary comedian Rodney Dangerfield feels like it should be the Baltimore Orioles slogan for this season. Despite beating the New York Yankees last night to get into a first place tie atop the AL East, the Orioles are still shoved aside by analysts, experts, and anyone who has a microphone or keyboard in front of them.
Dangerfield was known for his line about not getting any respect, but he was a great comedian who accomplished a lot over his career. I think the Orioles 2012 season is very similar. The Orioles have not been getting any respect, but the truth is they have been playing great baseball and have proven on the field they deserve to be where they are.
Unfortunately, it’s obvious the last 14 losing seasons have left a distinct taste in baseball’s mouth. You can’t blame the rest of baseball and the thousands of so called “experts” for not wanting to believe the Orioles 2012 success is for real. Heck, it even took die hard Orioles fans like myself a while to finally start believing. Fans have seen the Orioles start off the season hot before, only to fall under the same old spell of losing. This season is different.
I have listened to sports talk on the radio all season. As long as I listened, I never heard anyone mention the Orioles. I heard about the New York Mets (first half of the season) and the Pittsburgh Pirates, but not the Orioles. Then in August some of the experts must have taken a look at the standings and noticed the Orioles were still winning. The experts then managed to mention the Orioles, but only for a moment to discount them as a real threat.
I don’t think anyone predicted the Orioles would have this kind of success this season (even Orioles fans), but people who get paid a lot of money to broadcast their expertise to fans should know better. I have been hearing a lot of people say the Orioles have been lucky. This is the analysis we get from the so called experts? I even heard Boston Red Sox manger Bobby Valentine say the Orioles are lucky. Valentine is actually kind of right. The Orioles are very lucky Valentine turned down the Orioles managerial job. Otherwise the Orioles wouldn’t have hired Buck Showalter and they may be stuck in a similar situation the Red Sox are in.
People who say the Orioles are lucky must have a lot of faith in luck. Has any team ever been lucky for an entire season? Does a lucky team have 14 straight losing seasons? I don’t think so. This has nothing to do with luck, it has to do with the Orioles play on the field.
This brings me to another sign of disrespect from the rest of baseball towards the Orioles. Everyone loves to bring up statistics to further their argument. I can’t blame people for doing this, it helps your argument. We have become a statistic obsessed fan base. The fact is, you can look at every statistic possible, but the game is won and lost on the field. Of course statistics come into play when trying to analyze a player or team’s performance. However, the end result is judged on how a team plays for 27 outs.
All I have been hearing is how the Orioles luck will run out because they have a negative run differential and they can’t keep winning. I get it. A negative run differential usually isn’t a good sign. This has been brought up over and over again by baseball’s supposed smartest minds. Everyone wants to have that statistic that the other person doesn’t have to prove their point. Well I have it!
Wins. It’s that simple. For all the naysayers out there, just look at the most important statistic of all…wins. As of today, the Orioles and Yankees have the same amount of wins. As an Orioles fan, that is the only statistic I care about.
Let me end this comparison of the Baltimore Orioles to one of life’s greatest comedians with one more point. Whether you played the game of baseball or not, you should realize the game is played on the field. Don’t get caught up in the statistic merry-go-round. I know the Orioles were never on national television much, but they will be over the next month. Watch a couple of their games and you will see why they are tied for first in the AL East and why they deserve to be there. They play great defense, have timely hitting, their starters give them quality starts, and their bullpen holds leads. They also have been impressive when it comes to the most important statistic of all…wins. Lets all show the Orioles some respect.