81 Wins

These Orioles fans are happy. In September. - Rob Carr

Mark will be along later today to write a recap, but in the meantime I'd like to say a few words about the fact that this year, the Baltimore Orioles will not end the season with a losing record. DaveH873 wrote a great FanPost about why 81 wins is important, and I want to build on that.

Thanks to the fact that today's game ran over five hours, I was able to hear the end of the baseball game in the car on the radio, and when it was over I got just a bit emotional. I wasn't expecting it. The emotion, I mean. I knew win 81 would get here. Every year I've hoped for a winning season, but ultimately didn't think it really mattered if the team wasn't improving over the long term or winning enough games to get to the playoffs. I mean, what does it matter if your team is an 84-win team every year if they never go to the playoffs? It's nothing, it's the Blue Jays.

But you know what? It's not nothing. The last time the Orioles had 81 wins, I was 18. Now I'm 33. My niece had just been born and now she's in 10th grade. I still don't want to be the Blue Jays, but at this point, that 81st win means something.

By the time it became evident this season that the O's would get that elusive 81st win this year, it was also pretty likely that they would be in contention near the end of the season. And that, of course, is so much better than simply being a non-loser. So I thought 81 would be a blip on the radar. And yet, I can't stop smiling. I can't stop thinking of 81.

Thank you Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette and even Andy MacPhail. Thank you Wei-Yin Chen and Chris Davis and Manny Machado and Nate McLouth and the rest of the unlikely heroes on the 2012 Orioles. Thank you to Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora and Jeff Conine and all of the other good, likable players have come and gone during the losing, giving us something to hold onto. And thanks to the Camden Chatters who have gone through so many years with me. This is the first non-losing season in CC history, you know.

We have no idea what the rest of the season will bring, let alone next year. Maybe they'll sink back into oblivion, maybe they'll be good for years to come. But right now, the Baltimore Orioles are winners.

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