It wasn't that long ago that we were calling Oriole Park at Camden Yards "Yankee Stadium South" and thinking of Baltimore as a franchise down on its heels. Now, thanks to manager Buck Showalter, GM Dan Duquette, and a good young team, the Orioles are a team on its way up, sweeping the Yankees and helping the Bombers head down to fourth place.
I watched part of Saturday's game and most of Sunday's game, and it all depressed me very much. Orioles fans have much to be excited about, and to look forward to. They have a good core to their team that is only going to get better. Chris Davis (first drafted by the Yankees, by the way!) has 31 homers, leading the league. Speaking of former Yankees, the O's found a home for former Yankee Chris Dickerson. Adam Jones is a star, and could have been drafted by the Yanks in 2003. Instead, they chose Eric Duncan.
I could go on, but it's just depressing. I envy the O's getting to watch a team on the upswing, instead of on the downward spiral, like the Yankees. (Anybody think the Yanks will be better this year? Better next year? I sure don't!)
This weekend I heard Yankee fans mocking the Orioles about their fans being "frontrunners" and "bandwagon fans" for only filling up the ballpark now. First of all, Yankee fans ought to be careful about using such terms, especially given how empty Yankee Stadium was prior to 1996, and given their own fan base. Second, showing increased attendance and enthusiasm when a team improves is a rational response, as is stopping going to games when the team tanks.
This spring, I predicted that the Yanks would finish no higher than third place, and win no more than 86 games. Today, the Yankees are in fourth place, with half the season over, and are on pace to win 84 games. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has 51 wins already, and just won their ninth in a row, former Yankee Russell Martin had a walkoff hit to help them win, and A.J. Burnett (who is getting $8.5 million not to be a Yankee) gave him the pie!
Lots of teams in MLB on the upswing, including the first-place Boston Red Sox, the first in the AL to 50 games. Meanwhile in Yankeeland, the team has lost five in a row, and after starting out 30-18, have gone 12-21. And all our dopey GM has to offer is a foul mouth, and a public fight with his highest-paid player as a distraction. (A-Rod has done and said a lot of stupid things; his "controversial" tweet wasn't one of them. Cashman simply used it to pick a fight and cause the media to focus on Rodriguez, instead on what a lousy GM he is. And watch out for Cashman to do it again this year.)
At what point will the Steinbrenner kids realize that the Yankees need a new start? A new GM, and perhaps a new manager? A new team? As long as the money keeps on rolling in, they won't, unfortunately. Good grief.