Across SB Nation this week, sites are revisiting some of their team’s greatest, and some of their most painful, moments to wonder, what if it had been different?
Most little moments in a baseball game aren’t really all that significant. A player grounds out to second base, a player hits a solo home run in a blowout, a relief pitcher strikes out three batters in the seventh inning. For the most part, no moments like this are a big enough deal to get anyone wondering what if it had gone a little differently.
Some other things that happened to or around your favorite baseball team you just can’t stop thinking about years or even decades later. Earlier in the week, I wrote about Jeffrey Maier reaching over that fence. Tyler Young wondered about a version of O’s history where they never traded Erik Bedard, or where they made a different trade than the one they did. Yesterday, Paul Folkemer revisited a fateful 2016 wild card game decision.
What are your biggest Orioles “what if?” moments or moves?
Here are a few more of mine from recent years to give you some idea of what I mean:
What if the Orioles had drafted Buster Posey instead of Brian Matusz?
This was never close to happening. As I recall, if they didn’t take Matusz, they were going to take Justin Smoak. Why would they take the big catcher when they already had Matt Wieters? But it’s tough not to be a little wistful when looking at Posey’s career compared to the guy the Orioles drafted one pick before him.
What if CC Sabathia hadn’t broken Nick Markakis’s wrist late in the 2012 season?
It’s not that I’m still mad about the O’s not having Markakis in the ALDS against the Yankees that year, it’s just that I get a little mad every time I think about it.
What if the Orioles had actually signed Dexter Fowler in 2016?
Who’s to blame for that whole saga will remain a mystery. One thing that’s true is that Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 that season and Orioles left fielders batted a pathetic .251/.323/.365, and that might have been the difference between the Orioles being the road wild card team and the Orioles winning the AL East. They only finished four games out of the lead.
What are some of the things that still stick in your craw? Let us know in the comments below.