Mar 7, 2015; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Ryan Flaherty (3), Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6), third base coach Bobby Dickerson (11) and Baltimore Orioles left fielder David Lough (9) work out before a spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Much has been made of the annual media predictions of the Baltimore Orioles performing poorly in the American League East this year, let alone having any chance of October baseball. Many of these publications are anticipating a season where the Orioles will win about 78 to 80 games. These are the same prognosticators that have said the same things or worse in the previous three years … and been very, very wrong. Forget that the Orioles have the second-best record in all of baseball over that time.
Much was also made of the pursuit of Dan Duquette by the Toronto Blue Jays over this past offseason. This did nothing for many of us who have a long-time accumulated distaste for that particular franchise above all others.
So, can anything good come out of Toronto … the franchise management or the media following it? They are feeling much better about themselves these days, feeling they have improved the team through free agency along with a nice pool of rising talent. So surely they are going to jump on the bandwagon of condemning the O’s to the south side of .500 and the divisional basement.
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The writer begins, “Pity the poor Baltimore Orioles.”
And immediately, an O’s fans will think, here we go!
But Elliott goes on to quickly cite the well-known departures of Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, and Andrew Miller. But he later makes the point that a healthy Manny Machado, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis are an overall better trio than the three who are gone.
The writer acknowledges that the best manager in the division is with the Orioles. And highlighting as well the return of six starting pitchers, he writes …
"Yet, take a closer look at the Orioles and they aren’t that bad. Again.In fact, they are likely a team that the Jays should be worried about … we mean besides the New York Yankees, who have the best bullpen in the American League East and the Tampa Bay Rays, who have the best starting staff in the division and the Boston Red Sox, who might be the best team."
So while it is not an endorsement of the Orioles as the front-running favorites to lap the AL East again, it is a more fair treatment than the O’s are used to getting outside the immediate area.
Does that make me like the Toronto Blue Jays any better? Not at all!
Next: Sorting through the six Orioles starters