I don't know if I'll ever be truly confident in the Orioles again, but yesterday was a pretty good start.
Before I say anything else, let me address the fact that this post is presented by Gillette. You'll be seeing that once a week from now through the end of June. If you frequent any SBN football or college sites you've probably seen something similar, but this is the first go round on the baseball blogs. I hope you won't find it too distracting or think that I'm trying to brainwash you into buying some Gillette Pro-Glide. Being that I'm a lady without a five o'clock shadow I'm certainly not capable of telling you if it's a wonderful product or not. Just look at it like the Jack Daniels sponsor for MASN's 7th inning stretch. Please shave...responsibly.
Enough of that. Back to the Orioles.
It's tough to be an optimist when the team that you live and die with mostly just makes you want to die. The O's optimists exist, of course (zknower comes to mind) but around these parts you're more like to run into someone who is angry (James F) or hopeless (Eat More Esskay) regarding the way the Orioles are run and regarding their future.
It was easy to write off the last two seasons of the 2010 season as fluky and it's easy to gripe over off-season acquisitions like Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee because they cost a lot of money and don't address long term needs. It's easy to scoff at the idea that this team could succeed because we've been burned so many times before.
Now we're four games into the 2011 season and the Orioles haven't lost a game. They swept last year's AL East champions in convincing fashion and held the Tigers to one run yesterday (the Tigers scored nineteen runs in three games against the Yankees to start the season). Yes, it's only four games. To paraphrase Buck Showalter's quote after yesterday's game, 100-win teams can lose four in a row and 95-loss teams can win four in a row, so let's not jump to conclusions. But with these four games, Showalter's W-L record with the Orioles is now a shiny 38-23.
So when do we start to believe? When do we start to have confidence in our team? What does it take? Maybe you hate the way the team goes about its scouting and player development. Maybe you believe that they'll always fail as long as they rely on stop-gap players instead of long-term solutions. But for this team, this 2011 team, when will you start to believe that they are more likely to win than lose? What will it take for you?
I've told myself time and again that I won't believe until it's over and they've done it. I won't believe they are capable of having a winning season until I see the 82nd win. I won't believe they are capable of contending until they're in the playoff race in September. But maybe I'm doing myself a disservice. Will I really not allow myself to fully enjoy the ride simply because I'm so scared that it'll derail? If the Orioles are still going strong and in first place after twenty games, or fifty, then what?
I'm still positive that the team as currently constructed isn't a contender. But given how long it's been since I've seen a good team, do I even know what I'm looking for? Will I ever be confident again? One thing is for sure, I certainly hope I have the chance to find out.