Hayden Penn, RH Devern Hansack, RH (0-3, 13.76) (0-1, 5.40)
This is the final game of another shitty season of Orioles baseball. Another start from Hayden Penn, another game against the Red Sox, another futile 162-game effort from a team that was put together by complete incapables, and sadly here we were for every damn one of them. I have a friend who is a huge Michigan State football fan, and he summed up his fandom while wearing an MSU shirt in public following their loss to Illinois yesterday. "It's hard to love a team you sometimes hate." That says a lot, I think. I'm not going anywhere, but damn if it's not tough to cheer sometimes.
You know, I was watching the MLB Vintage World Series Films DVD (which I heartily recommend to everyone, a wonderful piece of O's history) on the Orioles' championships in '66, '70 and '83, and it amazed me that this is even the same franchise. Sure, all teams in all sports go through periods where they have a bad run. But next year when we lose more than we win again -- and until I see some major changes in how this team is operated, I'm not getting ahead of myself by predicting that on the last day of the regular season -- it'll be ten straight years of losing.
Now, throw the new steroid controversy on top of the fire. If (if) it comes out that Tejada, Roberts and Gibbons are guilty of what Grimsley's affidavit says they are, that really sucks. We all like Brian Roberts. Most of us like Tejada. ...Jay Gibbons seems like a nice dude. But that's just more complete garbage. And you can't blame Angelos with these things. He's an easy and deserving scapegoat for most of this team's problems, but not stuff like this. This is on the players. And sure, I crap on some of the players sometimes, but it doesn't mean I don't want them to do well every time they're on the field representing my team. And it doesn't mean I don't want to like them. If Roddy Lopez shows up next year and wins 20 games with a 2.75 ERA or something ridiculous, I'm his biggest fan, trust me.
Angelos doesn't go out there every day. We don't root for Peter Angelos. We root for Tejada, and Roberts, and Gibbons, and everyone else on the team. So when the shitstorm is brought on by their problems, it hits you in a different way than it does when you just go, "God, we're terrible." You can blame Angelos or Flanagan or Duquette or Beattie or Perlozzo or Mazzone or Urkel or whoever the hell else has a say in who's on this team for that stuff. This is why the Palmeiro thing was such a big deal. It was a player that we rooted for every day, not some guys in suits that made a bad business decision.
And I hate that the final game of the season is under this big, black cloud.
So let's talk about the game. Hayden Penn gets another chance to make a solid big league start. He could be part of the '07 rotation, but I doubt it. Bedard, Cabrera and Benson are all but locked in, and the Orioles are going to try and grab one of the free agent starters, I assume. Then you've got Loewen, and even if they stupidly don't use Loewen, you have their insane loyalty to Rodrigo Lopez because one year four years ago he did an OK job for a really bad team. Penn's probably starting '07 in Norfolk.
Hansack is a 28-year old righty from Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua, making his second major league start. He went five against Toronto on September 23, giving up six hits and three earned, with no walks and two strikeouts. Not a bad debut at all. He was the Portland Sea Dogs pitcher of the year this season, as he went 8-7 with a 3.26 ERA in 31 games (18 starts) with 124 strikeouts in 132 1/3 innings. He's lanky and throws strikes, and is of Creole heritage. He has been listed as being born in 1980 and 1982 previously, but the Sox list him as 1978. Honestly he looks older than that, but what do I know/care? The Astros cut him a few years back, and he pitched in Nicaragua again before Ben Cherington signed him for Boston. And that is far more than anyone wanted to know about Hansack, I assume.
Still gonna miss Orioles baseball, though. One more time: Let's go, O's!