There are times when I'm just not sure what planet she's on.
How long has it been since the Orioles had a legitimate outfield?
2003, probably. Bigbie (117 OPS+), Matos (113) and Gibbons (106). Not great, mind you. But legitimate. All of them slugged in the .450s. Plus they had Surhoff (101) and, oh right, an injury-hampered Melvin Mora (143 -- and you knew who you were then!).
Probably hasn't been since the mid-90s.
Well...that is an interesting estimate. Remember, this is "legitimate," not necessarily "impactful" or "special." The 2000 O's had the ancient Belle/Brady/BJ trio, too. More sickly bees than killer. But they all OPS'd on or slightly above the league average, really -- 109, 106, 104.
But let's be kind, rewind, and say that maybe the 2003 and 2000 Orioles outfields didn't happen, although they did and they were all firmly competent. The 1999 Orioles had Albert Belle, Brady Anderson and BJ Surhoff, too. They were, how do you say, pretty f'n good. Belle was at 142, Brady at 128, Surhoff at 115. They were a damn sight better than either of the playoff outfields of '96 and '97.
Last night we learned the O's have one now. The defense was phenomenal as Nick Markakis gunned down Whitesox slugger Jim Thome at 3rd base in the 3rd inning from right field. Look for it on SportsCenter. Then in the 5th, Luke Scott threw a rocket home from left field---Orlando Cabrera was meat.
Scott's throw was one of the prettiest throws I've seen in my 5-seasons covering the Orioles. Honestly, when it happened, it was as if I'd seen Sasquatch.
I knew those type of throws probably existed, but I'd never seen one---not by an Oriole at least. Hopefully, my friends will believe me when I re-tell the story.
Here's where Amber always really starts to lose me. Whether it's the insane Easter chocolate bunny Jesus ramblings of a madwoman or equating a couple of throws with seeing Sasquatch, she never fails to deliver the delirious goods.
Let's also not ignore that she is basically saying here, "I know Sasquatch probably exists, but I've never seen him/her/it." Well if an Oriole outfielder can make an assist, it's just a matter of time before Amber does confront the famed "Big Foot," so I guess that's good for everyone.
Those two plays go much further than just last night. From here on out, forward scouts from ball clubs all over the league will write, "do not run on right or left fielders," when preparing their base runners to face the Orioles.
And here it goes with Amber's knowledge of the scouts again. Last time, it was any baseball scout telling you how realistic it was that Kevin Millar and Ramon Hernandez would hit 25 home runs this season, despite that Millar has done that once, half a decade ago, and is 100 years old, plus Ramon's lack of EVER doing it before and being on the bad side of 30 and a catcher. Sure, just ask the scouts!
Also, from this point henceforth, thanks to two throws, all runners will be instructed to never run on the cannon arms of Markakis and Scott. This will probably give the Orioles a good +10 in the W-L standings. Particularly considering that Markakis gunned down the fleet-footed and elusive JIM THOME, who runs about as well as Sasquatch does anymore.
Offensively Scott and Markakis are both batting over .300.
A useless statistic.
Good teams have solid outfielders who can hit and have good arms.
They also have pitching, infielders that can hit scattered about...
Also, we just discussed some good or at least not bad outfields. All on bad teams.
Imagine in a year-or-two when Adam Jones really comes into his own. The Bird's outfield could be one of the best in the Major Leagues.
I am having a good time imagining the outfield as belonging to The Bird, I'll give you that. The Bird running meetings wherein he expresses disappointment in Adam Jones' struggles with offspeed stuff, but doesn't get on his case about it. The Bird spending entirely too much time on batting average and the very occasional chances that right fielders get to throw out guys at third base, or left fielders to throw someone out at home.
Turns out The Bird is Dave Trembley. Which I agree is awesome.