Archive for July, 2007

Tough to Celebrate
July 28, 2007

Cal Ripken Jr. earns induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. An afternoon of celebration as we honor one of the game’s all time greats. I can’t picture anyone more deserving or more Hall of Fame like than Jr. He has represented himself, his family, and all of us with the highest level of class. We take great pride when Cal Ripken Jr.’s name comes up in conversation with those not from the Baltimore area.

So why don’t I feel like celebrating?

Nothing against Cal, instead, as far as baseball in Baltimore…now what?

His induction feels like a wake. From the time the Orioles arrived in Baltimore in 1954 till Sunday there was something fans could always celebrate. At first, simply having a team was fine. And it was just 12 years till the first of three World Series titles. For decades there were great teams and in the rare down years there were great players, Hall of Fame players to embrace.

But what can we embrace now? Cal’s induction gives us nothing else to look forward to. Sunday will be an unabashed Oriole holiday. We’ll puff our chests and reminisce about the streak, the stats, the way he played the game.

Then comes Monday.

And we have a team staring at a 10th consecutive losing season with nobody to look at and say “at least we have______”.

Brian Roberts is a nice player, but no Hall of Famer. And can you truly cheer a star that begged to be traded? Miguel Tejada lost any chance to be considered an all time great Oriole with that soap opera in the winter of 2006.

Andy MacPhail seems capable of turning things around. And they are 18-14 under interim manager Dave Trembley. The cabinets aren’t completely bare but for a franchise with such proud tradition, a franchise capable of rearing the likes of Cal Ripken Jr, that’s just not enough.

I think I’ll call in sick on Monday.


July 9, 2007

Phillies Save the World

e-mail Pete

Can’t recall congratulating or even ever not booing a team from Philadelphia yet today I say job well done to the Phillies. On Sunday when a bizarre storm
struck Coors Field in Denver, and the Rockies grounds crew was being tossed around like cows in the movie Twister, the visiting dugout emptied like John Kruk with a bead on the free buffet..

The Fighting Phills stormed to the rescue, regaining control of the way-way-wayward tarp, and saved a couple of crew members trapped beneath. The video really is stunning, take a look here.

Two things though amazed me more than seeing a member of the grounds crew hanging on for dear life while being dragged along the turf at, say, 40 miles per hour. First, that the Phillies reacted so quickly and with such heart to what most professional athletes would have deemed as something “not there problem”. They even had fun playing in the rain as the tarp was tamed.

And 2nd, that the Rockies themselves were nowhere to be found. Well, one of them took part. Former Oriole LaTroy Hawkins got his hands just as dirty as dozens of Phillies, but looked terribly out of place as the only member of the home team helping the home grounds crew. Even the umpires grabbed a hold of an edge till the sand bags arrived. Not much pride being shown from the Rocks.

And karma rewarded the Phillies for their charitable efforts. One loss shy of 10,000 for the franchise’s career, Philadelphia scored three times after the weather delay to ensure an 8-4 win.

Okay, break times over, you may resume booing all things Philly.