How is your health watching the Baltimore Orioles this season? Is your hair a little thinner? Blood pressure a little higher? Looking a bit more “seasoned” when you look in the mirror these days? Well take solace. You are not alone. This is healthy. It means you care.
The 2012 Orioles have become like that girlfriend that drives you crazy, but then does something that keeps you coming back for more.
It seems like every week Baltimore tinkers between contender and pretender. Some nights the Orioles play crisp, with quality pitching, decent fielding and just enough hitting to get the job done.
Yet many other nights, this team does things that make fans want to sling their bowl of potato chips at the TV screen.
Yet this team is still above .500 near the end of July.
What Baltimore lacks in consistency, it makes up with a resolute spirit and a manager in Buck Showalter that has held this fragile house together—with excellent patience.
One thing that is evident this year, more so in recent years past, is that passion is high for the Orioles. I see it all the time when speaking with Orioles fans. I heard it on the airways the night Baltimore lost a lopsided affair to the Detroit Tigers on July 13th by the score of 7-2.
That was the night Jason Hammel went down with a knee injury, and I could feel the passion spewing from Orioles fans that had tasted success and wanted more of it.
This in the face of radio hosts saying the ride was nice but had all but come to an end.
Shortly thereafter, Baltimore won five in a row—thanks to quality starts by the Orioles pitching staff.
Suddenly, radio phone lines lit up with hopeful fans on the other end.
Since then, however, the Orioles have lost three straight, and batters on the team seem to have baseball-size holes in their lumber.
And now, with the Baltimore Ravens training camp underway Orioles fans are starting to wonder if the wheels are beginning to fall off the gravy train.
While some fans say Baltimore needs to make trades to keep postseason hopes alive, other fans say the Orioles should stand pat, appreciate the fact this team has shown progress and continue to develop the club for the future.
Both sides have valid, and at times very passionate, arguments. But this passion is truly awesome to see, no matter the side.
That said, my mission in this slideshow is not to argue either way. Instead, my goal is to show how what the Orioles do now, will help them compete big time in 2013.