All this talk of Mark Teixeira makes me want to explain why us Orioles fans are so optimistic about landing him. Granted, this is my side of the story, and I can only recall about 14 years of Orioles Baseball.
As a small kid, I remember attending Cal Ripken's 2,131 consecutive game. I remember not knowing that Cal was going to be the first one to break the streak, because I automatically thought every player played everyday, no injuries or rest days. I grew to call the "Cal complex".
I horridly remember October 9th, 1996, when Jeffrey Maier reached over the fence and stole my heart, or the ball, rather and they called it a home run. I remember the "Birds on a Wire" when the O's went wire to wire in '97, only to lose to the Cleveland Indians in 6 games.
Little did I know at the time, it would be the closest I would ever get to seeing the birds anywhere near a world series.
As time wore on, Cal wasn't always going to be made of iron, and he started taking days off, and so did it seem the offense would too. Don't get me wrong, getting Albert Belle was a cool deal for me—until he hurt himself.
Then came futile season after futile season, where it looked like the O's would never compete again. My dad tells me to this day, he thought the O's would end up leaving like the Colts, in the middle of the night, when no one knew what was happening.
I started to grow weary of the losing night after night, but, as all fans do, I learned to just sit back and watch the game.
Then came 2005.
The O's had just signed Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez and brought back my favorite First Baseman of the 90s, Rafel Palmeiro. The O's showed me something I hadn't seen in years, beating the Red Sox and Yankees left and right. I was for certain that this would be the year we got back to dominance.
Then came the All-Star Break.
Yes, we all know the story. After starting the season 42–28 (.600), the Orioles finished just 32–60 (.348). And if you do the math, that's the worst second half of baseball for any team that was .500 before the all-star break.
And we've been stuck in this rut ever since.
Now of course, we have our great talents like our slick fielding Second Baseman Brian Roberts, and our two great outfielders Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, but we need that one thing that would make it all click. Click to the point where it makes the people of Baltimore feel that Orioles Magic again.
We need Mark Teixieira.
Now, you may ask yourself, "Why would he come here, if you look like you're about three good years away from competing?". Simple answer, people. Tex wants to come home, and what better a place than to the team he grew up watching year after year in Severna Park. He has stated publicly that he would love to play "close to home" and it seems like a good fit in my opinion.
Tex would give the team the optimism to know that if someone is having an off day, there will always be that person in the lineup who can pick them up.
We don't just need Teixeira to be our baseball savior, we also need him to restore the faith into a group of people who are losing hope that their hometown team, will be competitive ever again in their lifetime.
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