The end is near. There are just four more games to go in what has been the worst Orioles season in history. Maybe when we’re all celebrating the O’s 2022 World Series championship, we’ll look back on this season, laugh, and think it was all worth it.
But in the present, we’re stuck with a dreadful team that enters the final four games of 2018 with a record of 46-112. The string on this season is being played out by many players who aren’t a part of the Orioles’ future, aren’t quite ready for the big leagues yet, or simply aren’t very good. (An acquaintance I see in my community commented on my O’s shirt on Wednesday and said he’s never heard of half the guys on the field.) As such, there is good reason to suspect that there will be plenty of green seats visible at Camden Yards this weekend. Attendance figures show that Baltimore fans have completely tuned out from this team. They are averaging less than 20,000 fans per game for the first time in Camden Yards history and their attendance ranks 14th out of 15 American League clubs.
But this isn’t just any normal weekend at The Yard. As Randy DeCleene wrote on Wednesday, these games probably mark the end of the era. It is very likely the last time that Buck Showalter and Adam Jones will appear in Camden Yards in an Orioles uniform. They deserve to have their careers in Baltimore end with a proper send off from O’s fans.
There are arguments to be made that neither Jones nor Showalter should be in Baltimore next year. Maybe an aging, declining outfielder doesn’t have a role on a rebuilding club. I wrote last week that Showalter’s time here should come to an end. But this weekend isn’t the time to talk about these individuals’ detriments. They should be roundly and loudly celebrated for what they have accomplished in Baltimore.
Showalter’s 668 wins place him second behind Earl Weaver in club history. He immediately changed the losing culture that led to fourteen consecutive awful seasons. Jones’ name will appear for generations on the Orioles all-time leaderboard. He ranks ninth in games played, fifth in home runs and hits, seventh in runs scored, and sixth in RBI. His offensive WAR of 36.8 in an O’s uniform ranks him eleventh. These are undoubtedly two all-time great Orioles.
After 14 consecutive losing seasons, Showalter and Jones were the faces of the resurgence of baseball in Baltimore. They took Orioles fans along for an incredible ride from 2012-2016. We once again filled Camden Yards, witnessed playoff games, and saw the Orioles overtake the big spenders within the American League East. The Orioles during those years were the source of some amazing memories for me and I hope they were for the readers of Camden Chat as well.
As such, I hope that Camden Yards is filled with energy and enthusiasm that has been painfully absent this season. The ovation that Orioles fans and players (and even the Tampa Bay bench) gave J.J. Hardy last season was fantastic. This week we saw John Gibbons get a nice sendoff from Jays as his tenure there comes to a close. We sometimes forget that players and managers are human beings as well. You can see that those two guys are truly appreciative of the love and respect they got from the fans in that instance.
While the ovations for Hardy and Gibbons linked above are heartwarming, they came from small crowds. Buck Showalter and Adam Jones deserve better from Baltimore. Considering how much these two gentlemen have meant to the Orioles franchise and fans, they should receive ovations all weekend from large crowds. Their careers will most likely be defined by and remembered for what happened in Baltimore and they should know that Baltimore recognizes that. The atmosphere won’t be as amazing as we saw during the 2014 playoffs. But let’s hope that Showalter and Jones are sent off by bigger crowds than we’ve seen at some games lately: a few fans per section in the lower levels.
It is supposed to be beautiful autumn weather this weekend. There are some cool giveaways. You will miss baseball before we get too far into the winter. And it will be your final chance to see two great Orioles in orange and black.
I don’t want to tell you how to spend your money or time. But if you are around Baltimore this weekend and feel as though your life was enriched by Showalter and Jones’ Orioles clubs, consider coming out to Camden Yards and letting them know it.