Monday, April 12, 2010
A Lousy Relationship
It's the top of the 8th inning at Camden Yards. The Tampa Bay Rays are winning 3-1. Wait, make that 4-1. Literally as I was writing the previous sentence, Carl Crawford hit a solo home run off of Orioles reliever, Mark Hendrickson. They were locked in a 1-1 tie a few innings ago, but starter Jeremy Guthrie gave up two a few innings back. We had a nice little two-out rally going last inning but due to some ridiculous base running by Luke Scott and Ty Wigginton, the Rays got out of the inning unscathed.
Why am I watching this? What am I doing, year after year (ooh, a strikeout for an Orioles relief pitcher!) rooting for a team that hasn't won more games than it lost in 13 years? Why do I continue to cheer at the ballpark, only to see blown saves, runners left on base and starters who can't make it through the third inning? (Hendrickson just struck another batter out to end the inning, thank the Good Lord above).
The answer, I suppose is that I love Baltimore. I do. For better or for worse, the Orioles represent my hometown and because there is no better option, I must love them and root for them and give them my all.
There's no divorce in baseball. I can't suddenly start rooting for a different team because the O's suck. I can't cheat on them, leave them or have a trial separation from them. I'm in an "until death or Peter Angelos do us part" marriage to a team who just can't seem to get their act together year after year. Sure we had the good times: 1983, 1989, those "wild '90s"... but for over a decade now we've had some really rough times.
And the promises they make! "Don't worry, baby, we've got Matt Wieters now! We've got a talented, young outfield! We'll have a big house on 2110 Eutaw Street! Just wait until our pitchers in the minor leagues get here, that'll fix everything! Look at Koji Uehara! We can do exotic too! Koji? Koji?"
But it's the same story as last year. At least last year they held my attention for a few months. They got back into shape, lost those extra winter pounds and started dressing nice. They wined me and dined me and gave me a glimmer of hope for improvement until the All-Star break where they fell back into their old routines.
And now here we are at 1-5, in the cellar again, going into the ninth inning of what will likely be another losing effort.
What a loveless relationship this has turned out to be.
But to you, the Orioles, I will still designate my signature tagline (ok, so I stole it from a movie, sue me) in the hopes that tomorrow, you'll be the Sportspouse I've always hoped you could be.
O's... my lips to yours.