Monday, March 7, 2011

FullCountPitch - Will We Ever Get Out Of This Place?

FullCountPitch - Will We Ever Get Out Of This Place?

The Baltimore Orioles were once the beasts of the AL East, the monsters of MLB. They were a dominant team and a contender from the mid-1960s through the early 1980′s and again in the mid to late 1990′s. But it’s been hard times in “Balmor” since then, with the team usually in last or next to last place in the division. Is there any hope for the O’s to once again join the American League elite?

Some of my most vivid childhood memories include watching players like Frank and Brooks Robinson, and Boog Powell thrash Yankees’ pitching. I remember watching in awe as Dave McNally, Mike Cueller, and Jim Palmer pitched lights out baseball. Of course, I also recall watching manager Earl Weaver manipulate his players, the field, the umpires, etc., to ensure an Orioles win.

Those teams were the O’s teams of the the 3-run home run. There was no small ball; the Orioles just methodically out-pitched, out-hit, and out-defended everyone in their wake. And man could those teams field! Brooks with 16 straight Gold Gloves at 3rd base, Mark Belanger providing no pop, but fielding with the grace of a ballerina, and center fielder Paul Blair running down any ball hit to the gaps.

The Orioles, not the Yankees or Red Sox, were the team that everyone wanted to be. While Boston and New York had their heated moments and a few players exchanged punches to the face in the 1970′s, they were always looking up at Baltimore in the standings. Today Yankees and Red Sox fans hate one another and each other’s team, but back then any animosity I felt towards the Orioles was out of jealousy. The Orioles simply did everything right. And yet despite all of that, the Orioles won the World Series only twice (1966, 1970) during the era of their AL dominance from the mid 1960′s through the 1970′s. They lost to the Amazing Mets in 1969, blew 3 -1 leads in games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in both the 1971 and 1979 World Series, and ran into the Oakland A’s juggernaut in the 1973-1974 ALCS’.

Read the rest of the free article at FullCountPitch.

Brian Roberts Nick Markakis Buck Showalter Matt Wieters Brian Matusz

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