The Orioles are preparing not only for a new season but also a new decade of baseball in Baltimore. Allow me to speak for O's fans everywhere in saying I hope we never again experience 10 seasons like the ones just completed in Charm City. The results were anything but charming.
When it comes to the 2000-2009 Orioles, optimists and pessimists can agree, albeit in a different tone of voice: "It's never been this bad."
With a 64-98 record in 2009, the Orioles completed their worst decade of baseball since the St. Louis Browns - "First in shoes, first in booze, and last in the American League" - relocated to Baltimore in 1954.
Overall, the O's compiled a 698-920 record during this period. The team's .431 winning percentage was worse than the previous low, a .438 mark recorded from 1954 through 1959.
However, these dispiriting totals are not in keeping with the team's otherwise proud tradition of success on the diamond. Consider that this was the first full decade in which the Orioles had a losing record. It's never happened before.
The team's high-water mark came in the '70s when the O's tallied a .590 winning percentage. The Birds had a .566 percentage in the '60s and a .512 percentage in both the '80s and '90s.
Here's to the return of winning baseball to Baltimore.
Some other items of interest:
-The Birds' current run of 12 losing seasons is one short of their record streak for consecutive winning seasons --13 straight from 1968 through 1980. Five of those 13 seasons included 100 or more wins.
-The Orioles have won 100 or more games five times. Only once has the team won 100 games and failed to make the World Series. The 1980 O's finished second in the American League East to the New York Yankees, who won 103 games but lost to the Royals in the ALCS.
-This was the second consecutive decade in which the Orioles neither won nor lost 100 games in a season following four straight decades where one, the other, or both happened.
The O's lost 100 games in 1954; won 109 games in 1969; won 108 games in 1970, 101 in 1971, and 102 in 1979; won 100 in 1980 and lost 107 in 1988.