During baseball season, dinner time at my house usually went something like this: My parents and I would be eating peacefully, only to be interrupted by a loud whooping sound from the basement, usually accompanied by a “Yeaaahhhh, boy!” At this point, my dad would run down the stairs to make sure my brothers “were doing their homework,” only to emerge two hours later, very conveniently after the game had ended. Algebra’s tough, huh dad?
I never understood the appeal of watching sports. I mean, why would you want to watch a bunch of guys playing football when you could play football with a bunch of guys? But last summer, my attitude completely changed. I don’t recall what possessed me to do it, but I decided to watch a baseball game with one of my brothers. And for some reason, I really enjoyed it. Not only because the Orioles won, but because I felt like I had won. After all, I lived in Baltimore. I was watching the game. See the connection?
Being the least athletic person in the world, I was amazed at how these guys could play baseball for three hours straight almost every night of the week. I was even more surprised to find out how much they were paid. Don’t get me wrong -- I know what they’re doing is extremely physically taxing. I wouldn’t last five minutes. (Seriously. They would have to give me oxygen.) But at the end of the day, the players are being paid hundreds of millions of dollars to throw a ball around on a field. And occasionally hit said ball. I must be missing something here.
In any case, since that summer, I’ve started watching baseball religiously. And while I still don’t understand 75 percent of the baseball jargon, I am slowly learning. (On a side note, I am always amused by the ridiculous statistics that are generated about teams and players. Take RISP, for example, which refers to a player’s batting average with runners in scoring position. Or OBP, on base percentage, which has an extremely complicated formula that looks like this):
So although I am way out of my league writing about baseball (pun intended), here are five reasons why it’s great to be an Orioles fan. In my extremely uninformed opinion, of course.
1. Rooting for the underdogs – In the world of baseball, The Orioles are often viewed as the underdogs. This probably has something to do with their 14-year losing streak from 1998-2011. But under the leadership of GM Buck Showalter, the Orioles have made an outstanding comeback, and now lead the division. Which leads me to number two.
2. Buck – Buck Showalter is one of the greatest managers in baseball. He is famous for transforming teams in short amounts of time, which he has certainly done for the O’s. Under Buck’s leadership, the Orioles went from arguably one of the worst teams in baseball to one of the best. Buck has a quiet, unassuming manner, and is greatly respected throughout the clubhouse. As we say in Baltimore, in Buck we trust.
3. Amazing offense – With power hitters like Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and now Mark Trumbo, it’s no wonder that the Orioles are first place in the AL East. Machado’s .360 batting average is the second highest in the majors, and with 11 home runs, Trumbo has the second most homers in the MLB this season.
4. And defense – The birds make extremely difficult plays look routine. Whether it’s Wieters throwing out a player who’s trying to steal a base, or Machado and Schoop executing a double play, the Orioles know how to get it done. Check out this crazy example of the O’s defense:
5. Always having fun – Even for the best players, baseball season can be a grind. Playing 162 games, rain or shine, can take a physical and mental toll, but the Orioles always looks like they’re having a great time--even without Jones hurling pies in peoples' faces.