Phil Nevin isn't going to help us get rid of Ponson. I don't blame him, he has his reasons and they're perfectly valid and contractually within his rights. But add that to another pathetic loss, as we fail time after time to score any freaking runs despite being in a position to do so, and that was just not a good night.
You don't win games when you end innings twice with the bases loaded.
Some comments from the game thread noted the 96 team that came back to win the wild card and the Astros of last year that did the same thing. There are differences, not the least of which is that those were both better teams that were built and expected to make the postseason, and had they not rallied to do so would've been big disappointments. This team doesn't make the playoffs, and as frustrating as it is, you chalk it up in the "No kidding" column, because Opening Day you'd have to have been quite the optimist to expect them to be only 3.5 games out on July 26.
Now, that's not really they're doing. The way the Orioles have played the last couple months, they should be probably eight-ten games out of first place. But neither the Yankees or Red Sox have been able to put their pieces together for too long either.
And again, the difference between us and them? They're built to win, expected to win, and are going to go out of their way to make sure they do. Our solution ideas thus far have amounted to an attempted headache swap with the Padres and a dance with the Marlins about AJ Burnett.
With Nevin now lost, I think it only does us good to go back to Florida, take Lowell, and move Ponson to the Rangers for Hidalgo or some mid-level prospect. It clears Ponson's salary, gives us basically the same bat we were getting in Nevin now in Lowell, plus the potential that Hidalgo does what he does and catches fire for a short period of time playing left field in place of Bigbie, yada yada yada, you can figure out the rest.
It's not a sure bet, it's not a guaranteed winner. Hidalgo could hit .150 for two months, but his contract is just for this year and there are no options on it or anything. He'd be a rental to rid ourselves of Ponson. Burnett is Burnett, his arm could fall off. Lowell could decide he really plans to continue hitting like Rey Sanchez. Whatever. All of that could happen, yes. But at least we'd know the team tried. And I think that's all we want. To know that when opportunity knocked, they at least went toward the door to answer. They might slip and fall on their asses halfway there, but they didn't just sit on the couch and ponder the knocking on the door.
Too long have we watched Oriole teams that from day one never had a shot, never played like they had a shot, and just didn't give us any hope. Too long did the front office stack us with crap and expect us to buy it as "rebuilding." Too long have we suffered at the hands of the New York Yankees and, to a lesser extent, the Boston Red Sox. It might not be our time to win, but damn it, I think it's time to TRY. Just knowing they gave it an honest effort would make the rest of this season worth it. And who knows? Maybe it works, and we shock the world and win this division somehow. I saw the ALCS last year, I've seen impossible. This isn't it.
But if they don't, and they do nothing with a shrug of their shoulders, I think at least some of us are past the point where we buy it as the market not working out to their liking. Their liking has seen the Orioles finish no higher than third place since 1998, and only once have we even climbed that high. Flanagan and Beattie have done some good things here, and a few things I didn't agree with, and either way, I don't blame them. Peter Angelos has got to realize that this team's fans want something. Anything - some sign of hope from his end, that shows he's still in this to win something, and not just to say he owns a ball team in Baltimore. Or, at least, that's how I feel.
We're reeling and we're being pummeled against the ropes, but we're not out of it yet. If something on this team doesn't change by this weekend, though, we will be. This team as it is constructed right now simply cannot win this division. All I want is a shot. And hell, if not for us, then for the guys that go out there every day and bust their ass to win, guys like Tejada, Mora, Roberts, Palmeiro, Ryan, Chen, Lopez, Cabrera, even Sosa. Even if you don't like Sosa, he's played hard all year long, and has never once dogged it, even at the bottom point of his slump.
The players on this team deserve a shot. If you ask me, it's the best and most likable bunch of guys they've had in years. The fans deserve a shot. The manager, the coaches, the mascot, Boog Powell, the batboys - they all deserve a shot.
I want this team to win. Against all logic, I still think they can. The totally biased, insane fan in me has come out. The Orioles can do this. They need help, but they can do it.