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Orioles players have collected some impressive hardware lately, what with Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers and who knows what else still to come.

I really hope Orioles management understands this, but no window of opportunity for success stays open forever. What began in 2012 could maybe last through 2015 before a major retooling would need to happen again. That would be a four-year run, and other than teams like the free-spending Yankees and Red Sox, successful runs longer than that don’t happen to most other teams.

2012 was a great step to bring this franchise back to respectability, but in retrospect, we didn’t do enough to make a run for the roses when we had the chance. We were two series away from playing for it all! Now is the time to make some bold moves. Let’s not bring in another few guys on one-year redemption contracts that are hoping to boost their value again before heading to some other city for their championship.

Half the fans on Roch’s site probably weren’t old enough to really remember our last championship 30 years ago. The other half of us may not remember the next one if it takes to long to win it.

I’m not suggesting spending stupidly by giving out $150M contracts to
32-year old players. Continuing to spend wisely is well, wise, let’s
just do a bit more of it.

So let’s not mortgage the future by acting desperately. Let’s not let the future pass us by [again] by being too cautious. This time we should dictate the market before the pieces we need go somewhere else. When the market plays out, we end up with leftovers, which seldom brings home the hardware we fans really covet.

Tomorrow begins today. Make it happen Orioles.

September 28, 2011. Sometimes when particular dates seem to have a certain significance to them I say the date aloud just so you I can remember it better.

I toyed with the idea of going to the final Orioles game of 2011 as far back as a week ago. As as 3pm on Wednesday a scheduled afternoon appointment I had mysteriously cleared itself. The game would take place at Camden Yards where getting tickets to good seats haven’t exactly been hard to come by lately. There was a lingering threat of thunderstorms, but I’ve weathered those before, even once earlier this same season. As if by further grand design, the kids were even off school the next day so a late night at a midweek game would pose no problems there.

Yet I didn’t go. Ultimately I was probably opposed to going to see yet another joyous celebration of Red Sox fans at our stadium. I had endured that first-hand back on April 28th, and if there was a celebration this time it would likely be an epic one. Being a seasoned Orioles fan I often prepare myself mentally for losses to lessen the toll of the heartbreak. Despite the month-long poor play of the Beantowners, seldom do full and absolute collapses like this ever happen.

As is reading a script Bud Selig himself passed out, the Orioles came back in bullish fashion. Down to their last two outs, down a run, down to facing a team that was 76-0 when leading after 8 innings this year. A fastball pitcher threw a fastball to an obscure fastball hitter and history was left to wait for a 12th inning homer in Tampa not five minutes later. That quickly one team was in the playoffs, the other was out.

Lost temporarily was how the Rays had mounted a comeback to overcome a 7-0 8th inning deficit against a relaxed Yankee squad just tuning up for the playoffs. Lost was the fact that a two-out pinch-hit homer was required just to get the Rays to extra innings in the first place. Forgotten in Baltimore was how Jon Lester had pitched on 3 days rest but was leading when removed from the game. Sitting in the dugout he was at one point one out away from improving upon his 14-0 lifetime record against the Orioles.

But 15-0 didn’t happen Wednesday night. A Chris Davis double into the right field corner put the tying run at 2nd. Moments later, a long automatic double by Nolan Reimold bounced over the fence in right center field. Just a minute or two after that, Robert Andino poked a sinking liner towards a sliding Carl Crawford in left. The same Andino that had looked overmatched against Lester’s breaking stuff earlier in the game, had no problems with a Papelbon 96-97 mph fastball. The same Andino that had helped win a game two days earlier against Josh Beckett, another fastball pitcher, with an inside-the-park homerun.

Thirty to forty minutes earlier a similar sequence played out in Houston and Atlanta. The Cards methodically dismantled 2011′s only 100-game loser in expected fashion, while the Braves found a way to turn a 3-1 lead into a debilitating extra-inning loss.
Yesterday was the single greatest day I’ve ever witnessed in MLB regular season history. I thought about going to the game last night in Baltimore, but ultimately ended up watching all four games unfold on MLB Network and MASN instead. I made the right choice.

Winter Meetings are over

The Winter Meetings are over, so get some rest tonight before things pick back up in the morning.

I can only imagine the amount of scrambling around that team executives, agents and reporters must do in trying to stay ahead of their competitors. As a fan it was tiring to me and I only had to track the activity by following a handful of blogs. Special thanks to Roch and Steve on MASNsports, Craig and friends at HardballTalk and Tim and his buddies at MLBTradeRumors.

A big bowl of appreciation goes out to Andy MacPhail, GM of the O’s. For the first time that I can remember in a long time, this was a Hot Stove gathering in FL that brought home positive results. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve made successful off season moves before, but lately they’ve been farther apart from each other. More importantly, these moves actually are ones that I would’ve made.

They got a 3B that’s not too old or too expensive. A SS that has some health question marks, but one that could bring some pop to that spot for the first time since #8 hung up his spikes. And keeping Koji, medical marvel that he is, while risky, was a move that had to be made.

To the other side of that discussion credit goes out for moves that weren’t made. Such as not giving up too much for Jason Bartlett. Not over-bidding for Paul Konerko (if they even “really” made a bid) or Adrian Gonzalez. Yeah, AGone wasn’t too rich for Beantown, but they print money in the Northeast as we all know by now.

Will I get my final major wish (for this off season at least) and bring home a first bagger? Adam LaRoche once seemed among the dregs of available first base options. Now that the VMarts and Dunns have dried up, LaRoche has that “looks pretty good at closing time” look to him. Who would have thought such a change of heart could come so quickly.

Maybe the Redskins could have looked worse last night against the Eagles?  I dunno, 59-28 seemed pretty convincing to me.  At least Albert Haynesworth didn’t take the news lying down.

Look out WordPress!

WordPress.com is only a step or two away from taking over the world’s lead in ridiculous blogging comments.  Victory will have to wait until I have something meaningful to say.

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