I am a son of Maryland. I was cast out fifteen years ago and forced to wander the concrete wilderness of this modern age, finally settling in the enemy territory of Gotham. I found love and I found joy, but I never found a true comfort. Last February I looked deep into the polluted recesses of my mind and gathered up the courage to proclaim that the team of my innocence, the team of my youth, was reborn, and our collective suffering had ended. I found a home first in a hidden corner of the electric consciousness of our modern mind, the website called camdenchat.com. They embraced me with open arms and made me one of their own, but doubted my sanity when I claimed (citing age curves and the promise of power) that the Orioles would win ninety games, reversing the fortune of the once proud franchise that had been clouded in such dark times. Yes, they laughed at me. Yes, they called me mad. But they embraced me as their own, and they showed me the way back home.
Last summer, in the midst of the season I had seen, I bought a farm on my beloved Eastern Shore and began preparing it for my hopeful impending return. Every weekend I drove through the darkness to a land that was again becoming my home. Sometimes my wife and dog accompanied me, but often I was by myself. I was, however, never alone.
First, I must say that I would be remiss if I did not mention how much you, Fred and Casey mean to me. You have accompanied me through countless journeys through the night, and you were with me by the fire in my woods, bringing me the beauty that was the 2012 Orioles. Even though I had bought the MLB package I could not watch it in the MASN area, and I could not watch it while I drove, so I listened to you and I learned to love the radio again. Soon I found I could only experience a game through the radio. Now I only listen to the game. My wife bought me a transistor radio, and I experienced baseball the best way one can if he/she is not at the park. Through the story. Because truly great stories, they are meant to be told. And it was you and Fred who were my storytellers.
So it is with great respect that I must bring this up. There is someone (perhaps just a man, perhaps more) who is currently having a truly phenomenal season for the Orioles. His parents gave him the moniker of Chris, one I'm certain he enjoys. Others call him "Crush" which I think is fair and kind. Some, however, call him The Hulk. He is strong after all, and so is the Hulk. But I believe that is where the similarities end. On Camden Chat he is known as Thor. The name comes from March in 2012, when I wrote the article "The Best Case Scenario" where I quoted Baseball Prospectus when they said "He has the raw power of Thor, and that will be the tool to carry him." I wrote then, "I say we burn the name Mjölnir on his bats and head out to Eutaw Street with our orange gloves to give him a nice clear target." He did not disappoint. Thor was born in Baltimore.
Just take a moment to think of this man before you. He is strong, and has always been strong. When he played football in high school he was the quarterback, but was bigger than his center. He is a man of strength and grace. Yes, he has always been a big man. He always showed great natural power, but his youthful flaw was lack of patience. He was sent away from his home team because he lacked the patience needed to be great. And in a foreign land he became wise, and in the process became a protector and a hero of that new land.
He was not created in a lab by a scientist. He is not a mindless beast. He is a living Viking, loving life, having fun playing a game. Look at his smile. The Hulk smirks. The Hulk does not smile. The Hulk does not know the innocent joy. Thor does.
I will offer further evidence. A friend at Camden Chat, Matt Shaffner, a rare mind in these tired times, gathered these numbers for me. Thursday is named after Thor. It was once known as Thor's day. The Orioles are 10-3 on Thursdays this year. Thor has hit .327/.421/.755 on Thursdays. He has 6 homers and 15 RBIs on Thursdays. If every day was Thor's Day he would have 42 Homers and 105 RBIs already. But what is more, is that Chris Davis is not a proud man. He has humility. So does Thor. Thor honors his father Odin. Wednesday, once Woden's day, is named after Odin. On Wednesdays Thor hits .407/.438/ .983. Numbers which gives us mortal men pause.
Now, I would never criticize great storytellers, and I know that you, Mr. Angel, are a great storyteller. I am not asking you to change your ways to accommodate me or Camden Chat. To you maybe Chris Davis is The Hulk, and it causes me no pain to hear you say that since I have nothing but joy when he comes up to bat and I can hear the smile on your face as you say "don't you dare go anywhere." So I am not here to ask you to change your ways. I am here to simply ask, just once, on any night, at any time, to call Chris Davis "Thor". For I will be listening; and I will raise a flowing bowl in thanks to the greatest team in all of sports, and to the great storytellers of our time.
Your loyal listener,
The Madman of Birdland