167 votes cast, here's the final tally:
28% say 80-84
18% say 85-89
17% say 75-79
10% say 70-74
10% say 100+
5% say 90-94
4% say 65-69
3% say 64 or less
0% say 95-99
If 17 people can say we'll win over 100, NO ONE says 95-99? Not one person voted for the team to win 95-99 games. And the 100+ votes, I assume, were mostly from crazed lunatics and/or BS votes from passers-by.
But, overall it's optimistic. 46% say between 80 and 89 wins, and 61% think we'll finish with 80 or better, which is probably just as good as saying 61% think we'll finish .500 or better.
Of course, it's an Orioles blog, so that plays a role. And it's spring training, so optimism runs amok.
Honestly, though, I really am excited about this team, and I don't even have a great reason why. I just think that they are going to be fun to watch, and that they should be the best O's team since '97. There's a very good chance they'll still finish in fourth place, but last year's club was just uninspiring all season long. We never had a chance to really get excited about the team -- it was fun to watch Bedard come into his own, and fun to watch Markakis develop, but it was no fun watching them lose with ineffective pitchers, or to watch Mora decline or the parade of awful left fielders or Cabrera sent to the minors. And nobody in the bullpen was worth watching except for Chris Ray.
The 2005 team had that amazing first few months before all hell broke loose, and even all hell breaking loose was something to talk about. Last season was back to the usual.
But this year, I think we could see what could be the first real building year toward a team that could actually be good, and I really think they could be good this season if the pitching pans out (yeah, I'm drinking the Mazzone Kool-Aid again, what about it?) and injuries don't kill the lineup. Huff is a nice addition for the offense, even if he's just league average, as that's a big improvement on last year's left fielders.
If Millar can stave off collapse for another year and Mora doesn't completely implode, I think we can expect an offense similar to Detroit's last year, right down to having an outstanding shortstop and a team that otherwise does their jobs -- nothing great, but not bad.
The Tigers won on adequate offense and really good pitching. We know what Bedard can do, we know what Trachsel can do (help carry the back end, I'm not raving about Trachsel or anything), and Jaret Wright under Leo Mazzone worked before. Cabrera and Loewen are wild cards, but they're wild cards that do have real ability. And I'm just not going to count out Hayden Penn, moustache or not.
You get two days of 45 degree weather, and all of a sudden it's bats cracking and flags waving. I want to see what this team can do, and I don't need another corny ass slogan from the Orioles to get excited about this club. Maybe it's just me, but there's a positive energy coming off of the Orioles that I haven't felt in a few years, and that goes along with all the pissing and moaning I did during the offseason, which I probably actually balanced out a little more than normal. I still don't trust the front office and I am unsure about that expensive bullpen, and I wish Peter Angelos would sell the team and I wish Sam Perlozzo wasn't the manager, but whatever. I wanna play some ball. Put me in, coach.