Yeah, whining about the strength of our division is a perennial pasttime and an unsolvable quandry. I couldn't help but notice, though, the O's record in this article at Salon.
In the article, the author examines "if every team had had the same winning percentage within its own division as it had against nondivision foes." It's probably not the most scientific way to come up with a division-neutral record, but it gives us some interesting results. Namely, that the O's would still have finished last in the East, but we would have improved by 15 games, for a record of 83-79. Our record is impacted more (in either direction) than any other team in MLB by our performance in the division.
What do we learn?
(1) This really isn't that bad a team, though it's still not playoff worthy. Maybe it's better this way so we can get better draft choices and not delude the management into thinking we're just a free agent away from winning because
(2) The AL East is really tough. Duh. With all the progress we've made at rebuilding, seeing the strength of our division and the obvious big bucks of the YankSox is the biggest downer in thinking about future October baseball in Birdland.