Baltimore Orioles: Are Blue Jays the New Enemy #1?


Sep 27, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles left fielder Delmon Young (27) hits an RBI against Toronto Blue Jays in second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

When one thinks of the enemy teams of the Baltimore Orioles, it is usually the New York Yankees who first come to mind. There are a host of alternate names: the Skankees, the Evil Empire, etc.  And given the wanton spending habits of the Yanks over the years that has upset baseball equilibrium, there is much to dislike. But the birds have come home to roost a bit for the aging Bronx Bombers, and I’m not talking about our Birds.

And then there are the other annoying free-spender psychos farther north. The only thing more ugly than their organizational habits are their ridiculous-looking beards. Spending a total of $183 million on Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, they have now also come to terms with the young Cuban Yoan Moncana for an addition $63 million. Yep, that is annoying.

At times there is a growing rivalry with the folks just down Interstate 95. This is becoming a bit more prominent with the multi-year successes of the two franchises, along with the running controversies about TV rights and compensation, etc.

But could events of this past offseason have now thrust the Toronto Blue Jays into the first spot of teams to significantly dislike? Actually, for me personally, they always were #1 on such a list. It might be interesting to see what kind of reaction the Jays are going to get from the Orioles fanbase when the Birds of the blue-feathered variety fly into town.

In no particular order, here are some reasons to not be fond of the fellas from north of the border (which some might say is actually an additional reason).

  • The entire Dan Duquette saga over this past offseason was simply one of the most ridiculous spectacles I have ever seen play out in sports. It was completely shameless from their point of view. And their treatment of Paul Beeson was truly shameful. I remain thankful for Dan Duquette’s good stewardship of the Orioles organization, having stood with him in remarks in this blog even as a majority of others were throwing him overboard. But it does not speak well of DD if he, now, cannot see the bad air and bad character that marks this entire franchise ownership and management.
  • The Blue Jays have had a very active offseason. On paper, it would appear that they have greatly improved a team that already had spent a good portion of the past season leading the AL East. They added two big names in catcher Russell Martin and third baseman Josh Donaldson. These go along with a rotation of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison, and additionally young pitchers Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris. Many writers are calling the Jays the team to beat in the AL East, and if so, this will add to the distaste of O’s fans.
  • To pick out one of the names above – Josh Donaldson … did you know that he and Manny Machado did not exchange Christmas cards this past holiday season? Though there is nothing to applaud from our young third baseman in the unpleasant exchange this past year, Donaldson does not have the resume for a post-retirement career as a monk either. Instead of seeing him once in Baltimore and once in Oakland, now he’ll be in town for three series, with the same also in Toronto.
  • There was a dust-up yesterday when Gregg Zaun was reported on a Toronto sports talk show and blog as describing what was essentially bullying and hazing by Cal Ripken and teammates years ago. He ultimately walked back the remarks significantly, and it all sounds like a mountain out of a mole hill, or something in the category of Brian Williams of NBC. In any event, I hate these things and feel dirty writing about it all … only including it here because, well, it is more Toronto-related stuff. Zaun is a Blue Jays analyst, along with being Rick Dempsey’s nephew.
  • Imagine the clubhouse in Toronto being less cheerful than that of the Orioles! Indeed, reports are again in the news that catcher Dioner Navarro wants to be traded. He wants to play every day and not be stuck behind Russell Martin. He has said …

"“I asked for a trade right away, and up to today that’s still my goal. I would like to go a place where I can play every day. I signed a two-year deal here to catch every day, and unfortunately they felt like they needed to make a move. I was kind of frustrated throughout the whole offseason, a little disappointed that nothing has happened yet.”"

Imagine trying to be a Blue Jays fan these days. What’s to like?  And I don’t think they’ll be feeling much love when they come to Camden Yards this year. And of course the fun begins with the home opener at 3:05 on April 10th.

Next: Markakis / Cruz - worst offseason signings in baseball this year?