The Baltimore Orioles have proved they can win this season on one-third the salary. They've been a thorn piercing into the highest payroll in baseball. This has been clear, seeing how they have won three out of four series versus the New York Yankees, with two still left to go.
With that said, you'd think the Orioles would be in the hunt for the playoffs, right? Wrong! Baltimore is still trying to end its streak of sub-.500 seasons. The last time Baltimore had a winning season was in 1997.
Ever since, not only has attendance at the stadium dropped off, but so has "Orioles' magic." The overall winning way that used to dominate in Baltimore, especially during the Earl Weaver era, is gone.
Even the Orioles' winning record against the New York Yankees this season can't seem to stop the inevitable slide into an 11th consecutive losing season. At least things are looking on the up and up—for the future anyway.
Team chemistry is building, manager Dave Trembley is motivating the team, and Peter Angelos is letting Andy MacPhail do his job. That being said, something still seems to be missing.
Two teams that have won multiple World Series Championships since the Orioles began this horrendous slide, fellow division foes Boston and New York, seem to have one thing in common. And that is a steady hand batting clean-up.
Whether it was All Star Bernie Williams for the Yankees or silver slugger David Ortiz for the Boston Red Sox, each team has had a solid clean-up hitter. Each team has had a hitter with a reputation of being a clutch performer and a hitter who was going to give you a season batting over .300 while driving in over 100 runs.
This is exactly what Mark Teixeira would bring to the Orioles as he enters the prime of his career. Mark, who was born in Annapolis and is a reported native of Severna Park, Maryland, is a hometown favorite and he doesn't even know it. There is already a "Bring Mark Home" petition floating around on the web which has hundreds of signatures.
The cheers couldn't be any louder for the first baseman who is currently in the midst of being the icing on the cake for a potential 2008 World Champion team in Los Angeles. Perhaps for Mark this season, he'll get his first wish, a World Series ring.
For Mark's hometown fans, perhaps they'll get their wish shortly thereafter—a 2009 contract that extends well into Mark's career and possibly even retirement. For Mark, perhaps a wish and a dream could be fulfilled days apart...