Even the least of the 2014 Orioles was still a member of the 2014 Orioles. That team was so special that you almost wouldn't want to change even a tiny little thing about it, because who can say what would have changed for the worse if even some small thing was tweaked? They are all worth remembering and they all deserve a farewell salute - even David Lough, designated for assignment before Friday's game.
Lough came to us from Kansas City, arriving in a trade in December 2013 that sent Danny Valencia to the Royals. When spring training arrived, he looked like someone who might compete for the job of every day left fielder, and as a player with some speed and the awareness that on-base percentage was important, the idea of him as a leadoff hitter was not out of the question.
Neither of those things ended up happening, with the Orioles signing Nelson Cruz shortly after camp got under way meaning that there wasn't much of a regular lineup spot for Lough, and as it turns out the leadoff hitter thing was never much in the cards because for that you'd kinda have to hit.
For the 2014 season he settled into the role of late-inning defensive replacement, which was an important role to fill in many an eighth and ninth inning. You wanted Cruz's bat in there for most of the game, but for the last inning or two, you wanted somebody faster in the outfield, too, and that guy was Lough. He played in 112 games and only started 47. That's a lot of games where he brought the better defensive value into a late game.
Did I mention that he is a man with extremely beautiful abs? I mean, seriously. Gaze upon this glory.
That doesn't happen by accident, either. In a game where he earned the season's customary post-game pie to the face, Lough would not eat any of it because it would mess up his diet. In a Fact or Fiction segment on the Jumbotron this season, there was one time where Lough provided the fact, which was that his favorite food in the world is kale. That is possibly the worst favorite food any person could ever have. But it probably is part of the explanation for the abs.
As sporadically as he played, even Lough managed to rack up some glorious Orioles moments, the first and maybe greatest came when he delivered an extra-inning walkoff hit last April.
The photo I have used for this article comes from that walkoff. It's one of my favorites from last year. Every person seen in the photo is happy, arms raised triumphantly, none more so than Lough himself. None of us knew it then, but we were in for a great ride in 2014. This was just the first of many great moments. That's how I'll remember Lough.
David is Birdland.
Of the 44 players who appeared with the 2014 Orioles, 22 remain with the organization.