On Dealing with Success


The Baltimore Orioles are successful. They are a successful baseball team. They are winning consistently, honestly, and they are doing it with ease. I sit here on a beautiful overcast Baltimore morning and the Orioles are currently tied with the Boston Red Sox with the best record in the American League.

How do I process this?

How does a long suffering Orioles fan deal with success?

I am used to failure, I am used to struggle. I am used to talking about what moves need to be made for the immediate and long-term future.

Last year the Orioles exorcised the demons of a decade and a half of misery. Broken promises, busted players, bad decisions, and downright bad luck were the hallmarks of this team. Still, many did not believe this team was ACTUALLY good. They were simply the luckiest team in baseball history because that fit the narrative. The narrative being the Orioles stink and are perpetually playing for five years down the road. There was no way in the world that the Orioles could have actually turned the corner, that can’t happen. They would most certainly come back down to Earth with a cretaceous-like explosion.

The narrative has clearly changed.

The narrative has changed and I feel as if I am witnessing history being written with this team. I see Manny Machado having so much quiet success, Chris Davis becoming the player he always should have been, Adam Jones leading by example and voice; all of it right before my eyes and I have no clue how to deal with it.

I am so content with the team right now I can’t muster the care to whine about Jones’ two weeks of bad defense or the Orioles black hole of offense at second base. Nights when my twitter feed gets packed with heated debate and snarky comments about misplays and bad decisions I feel as though I want to scream: “THEY HAVE THE BEST RECORD IN BASEBALL! SHUT THE HELL UP AND ENJOY IT!”

Now, I am not blind the things I mentioned above need to be addressed. Jones will play better defense, he already has been since a spate of the yips. Second base needs to be addressed sooner or later, I am not sure how long the team can go on absorbing such poor offense out of that spot. The starting rotation needs a tweak; Tillman is settling in, Chen has been solid, Gonzalez has been effective, and Steve Johnson should help. But right now, I really don’t care about those things. With all these problems the Orioles currently sit tied atop the American League. With all these problems the Orioles offense ranks second in runs scored in the AL. With all these problems the Orioles pitching staff sits comfortably in the middle of the AL with a sub-four ERA.

Moreover, the Orioles aren’t winning in some weird completely unsustainable fashion. They aren’t just barely squeaking by with one-run wins this year. They aren’t relying on homers and they have been simply put, remarkable with runners in scoring position. So far this year, as a team, with RISP the Orioles are batting .289/.635/.461/.826. That is how you consistently win baseball games.

The Orioles seeming to be cruising right now, you can see it in their eyes they are used to winning and aim to keep doing it.