"I don't think anybody's ready to declare us where we want to be quite yet, but people maybe are noticing that we are at least moving in the right direction. That's important for all of us to start to see the light at the end of the tunnel."
A sweeping feeling has replaced the sinking feeling that had settled in around the Birds a little more than week ago. Is your head spinning yet? Welcome to the Orioles' youth movement in all its inconsistent glory.
What better way to rejuvenate the recently declining spirits of a fan base ready to celebrate any and every sign of progress than to take a three-game set from the defending World Series champs in their home.
Neal Shaffer over at The Loss Column has done a nice job of chronicling the Orioles' recent ups and downs (see "What a Difference a Week Makes" and "Do They Feel Like the Worst Team in the AL?")
Sweeps tend to make the sun shine a little brighter and - apologies in advance for the end of this sentence - the birds chirp a little louder. This is the Orioles' spring, a hopeful season that hints that the deep freeze of the team's extended winter may finally be ready to thaw.
[Seasonal metaphors end here.]
This weekend's games represented the Orioles' second three-game seep of the season, the first having taken place May 25, 26, and 27 against the Blue Jays. That sweep formed part of the team's first five-game win streak of the season; this is their second.
As for last season, the Orioles managed two sweeps of three games or more, each memorable in its own way and both, like this year's efforts, indicative of changing times in Baltimore.
The first 2008 sweep came right out of the gate as the O's took four straight from Seattle, April 4-7, as part of a six-game win streak. The sweep took on added meaning given the presence of Adam Jones and George Sherrill, who recorded three saves, in Orange and Black following the off-season trade of Erik Bedard to the Mariners.
The Birds' second sweep came in June during a three-game Interleague set with the Astros. This was another past-versus-present match-up as Miguel Tejada visited Baltimore for the first time since the 2007 trade that brought Luke Scott, Matt Albers, Troy Patton, and Dennis Sarfate to the Orioles. The team's late-inning heroics (1, 2) had fans whistling Oriole Magic again.
Bottom line: Sweeps are good for the soul.