For the past ten seasons, the Baltimore Orioles have been known as a losing franchise. The organization has experienced everything from managerial changes, to fan protests, to a rebuilding effort. Everything overseen by current team owner Peter Angelos seemed to have gone wrong. That was until Andy MacPhail, now the team's president of baseball operations, showed up.
Under MacPhail, the team has looked to wipe a clean slate for the future. They traded two of the team's superstars, Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard, for 10 players. In the end, the team gained three position players and seven pitchers, two of whom were considered the top pitching prospects in their former organizations.
Two of those position players, Adam Jones and Luke Scott, are currently in the starting outfield on a nightly basis. Three of the pitchers, George Sherrill, Matt Albers, and Dennis Sarfate, currently find themselves in the O's bullpen. Apparently, this team is beginning to change their old habits of bringing in veteran free agents with a "win now" attitude.
With these changes brought new ideas about the Orioles. Many believe that they are headed to a brighter future, and soon enough the prolonged losing streak will finally come to an close. However, many people also believed that the near future would be grim. Some analysts even projected this team to lose 100 games, but I don't think that the team was listening.
The team is currently playing .500 baseball, sitting at 34-34 on the season as they head into a series against the Houston Astros. The team currently has a record of 15-10 in one-run contests and has a total of 19 come-from-behind victories. In other words, the bullpen is holding up nicely and the offense never gives up.
Take this past series against the Pirates for example. In Game One, the Orioles were down 6-1 at one point; however, Brian Burres stood his ground on the mound and allowed the offense to comeback to score eight runs later on in the game in rout to another victory.
In Game Two, the Pirates led twice (5-4 and 7-6), yet the O's offense never gave up. In the ninth inning of that contest, Pittsburgh's closer, Matt Capps, threw one pitch to Orioles' rookie Oscar Salazar before the 29 year-old screamed a line drive over the left field wall to tie the game at seven. Later in the inning, with a runner on second base and 2 outs, catcher Ramon Hernandez ripped a long single into left-center field to cap off the exciting contest.
Even in the third game, the O's were down by two in the ninth against Capps, when Brian Roberts came to the plate with a runner on and 2 outs. He would then hit an opposite field homerun into the left field seats to tie the game.
This Baltimore Orioles squad is a team to be reckoned with. Analysts can say whatever they feel, but if they plan this club to play .300 baseball for the rest of the season (which is what they would have to play in order to lose 100 games), then they need a reality check. The best part is, this is only the beginning of a very bright future for Baltimore Orioles' baseball. Finally, O's fans are once again beginning to feel the "Oriole Magic" from the good ole' days of Earl Weaver and the cartoon bird.