Happy Holidays Birdland.
The snow is still blanketing the greater Baltimore Mtreo-plex and I have received the early girft of a nice long X-Mas vacation from Santa, or Father Christmas, or whomever you choose to think gives gifts at times like this. Myself, I celebrate Christmas and the twiggy tree in my den right now has neatly and tastefully wrapped presents resting beneath it, but what is under the Orioles fan’s tree this year? Let’s take a peek and see what is there.
The first box is a long heavy box propped against the wall, is it that Red Ryder BB Gun? No, you’ll shoot your eye out kid – why it’s TWO BATS! Homerun bats to be precise for Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis. Starting in April they will need these bats because without them the Orioles will be in real trouble. I know that O’s fans out there had Alex Gonzalez sugarplums dancing in their heads but you can’t get everything you wish for and A-Gon is just too expensive. Besides, if Markakis and Wieters use these shiny new homerun bats (obviously felled by a strike of lightning) then they will gladly fill in for a lack of A-Gon and be the “big-bat” that Andy MacPhail wants so badly.
This next box feels like clothes – ugh. Opening it you see a brand new Orioles Jersey! The name on the back: “TOP OF THE ROTATION STARTER”. But who is it for? Well, no one knows yet. Maybe Kevin Millwood steps into that role, Guthrie is the elder statesman of the rotation and is capable of much more than last year’s debacle. Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz arguably have the best “stuff” and “potential” to fill that jersey though Brad Bergesen was the best pitcher last year before his injury. With John Lackey and Rich Harden off the market there are no clear “TOR” starters out there through FA anymore so the four top candidates will have to settle it out over the course of the spring. Don’t let the fact that Millwood will probably get the ball on day one fool you Orioles fan – Tillman or Matusz will be wearing that Jersey by the end of July.
What else is there? Hey look its a CLOSER! But we peaked, we saw that already. The box in the back is for Koji, its a gift certificate to Whole Foods and an organic holistic massage and healing center. They are all the rage don’t you know. Yeah, Koji, bet you almost forgot about him didn’t you? Well he is still an Oriole but he is hurt. Injuries hampered what could have been an exciting and successful first year with the Orioles. Word has it he has started a throwing program in Japan and will be ready for Spring Training and his health is important to the team. A healthy and conditioned Koji could be in the fight for the last rotation spot or even the closer spot. He has said that he will do whatever the Orioles want him to and that is certainly the right attitude to take in his situation.
The Orioles want Koji to be happy and successful. We want our first step into the Asian baseball world to be at least a moderate success so we can more easily establish our presence over there. It would be a shame to see Koji fade away without ever really getting started.
Looking in the stocking there is a card – Addressed to all Oriole fans! From none other than Peter G Angelos himself. Wow it has been awhile since we have heard from Peter. Opening it up you see a nice Winter scene – Hallmark, how nice. Written in the card is a note:
I really wanted to get you a winning team for Christmas, but unfortunately it hasn’t come in yet. No worries though, here is the “tracking number.”
All the best holiday wishes,
I have had this happen more than a couple times in my life, as I am a technology native and many of my family could be called tech immigrants. The question always is – when will it actually show. I will find myself refreshing the USPS or FedEx site multiple times a day to track my most desired package from afar. It becomes almost addictive.
So, when will Uncle Pete’s present get here? Tough to say. If everything goes well and we get projected production out of key people I think the Orioles do have a more than legitimate shot at a +.500 season. And that would go such a long way for the psyche of this fanbase. All we can do is keep hitting refresh until we see it happen.
Happy Holidays O’s fans.