Giving thanks for the 2013 Baltimore Orioles

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thanksgiving from Camden Chat.

It's the day before Thanksgiving and many of you are getting ready for the holiday. Maybe your afternoon will be spent with a last minute trip to the grocery store for one thing you forgot you needed (I hope not, for your sake). Perhaps you've packed up the car for a trip to see relatives for the long weekend. Or maybe you have tickets to the Ravens game and are wondering if you'll still have toes come Friday morning. I'm on pie duty, so I'll spend my evening whipping up pumpkin and pecan for tomorrow's feast.

Even though the Orioles have now been a good baseball team for two consecutive seasons, our recent past reminds us that success can be fleeting. It's good to give thanks for what we have when we have it, because who knows what next year will bring? If 1997 Stacey had known what she was in for from 1998-2011, she probably would have savored that success a little more. I've learned from her mistakes.

The 2013 season was a disappoinment compared to 2012, certainly. But 85 wins is nothing to sneeze at, and the Orioles stayed in contention for nearly the entire season. It didn't end with the playoffs, but it was still the second most fun I've had watching a baseball team since 1998.

We got to spend 2013 watching Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy work magic on the left side of the Orioles infield, and barring an off-season trade of Hardy we'll get to see it again next year. We watched Chris Davis put up on of the best offensive seasons and crush the most home runs in franchise history. The improbable career of Miguel Gonzalez continued and Chris Tillman gave us hope that at least one of the young pitchers we spent the last half-decade dreaming on might actually work out.

The Orioles sent five players to the All Star Game. Five! Three of them started the game for the American League. Nate McLouth stole 30 bases and Adam Jones hit 33 home runs and Brian Roberts played in 77 games and was healthy and it made me happy even though he didn't hit all that well.

And of course, Camden Chat was there for it all, to get angry at the bonehead losses and celebrate the wins. This community enriches my experience as a fan and hopefully you feel the same. CC came into existence just before the 2005 season began and we've spent most of those years consoling each other and lamenting our fate as Orioles fans. But not the last two seasons. The site has grown thanks in part to the success the Orioles have had, and I'm very appreciative for every one of you that makes that happen. From my colleauge Mark Brown to the staff of writers, all the way down to the hot lurkers, we're all a part of Birdland and Camden Chat, which is pretty cool.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and may this offseason bring us even more to be thankful for. Perhaps a Matt Garza under our tree?

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