I’ll be the first to admit that I am a total sports nut. Basketball, football, lacrosse, tennis, surfing, skateboarding: I’ve got favorites in them all. But one sport has my heart more than any other. And it seems that every January, I’m itching for April to come around so I can return to my beloved Camden Yards. That’s right: I am not only a huge baseball fan. I am a diehard, love-them-in-spite-of-their-record Orioles fan.
I love football but that’s pretty much over for me. As soon as Alabama (Way to go getting #14) and the Steelers (ugh!) season are done, I don’t care any more (Okay, I don’t care as long as Tebow, the Packers, and the Ravens lose). And basketball is fun but my Dukies aren’t exactly having the best season (see, I knew I’d be missing Kyle and Nolan more than any other players ever). But baseball…I never get tired of it. Sure I go through periods of the season where I couldn’t care less if they win or lose but, hey, there’s 162 games plus the post season and let’s face it, we never really stand a chance of playing into October unless the schedule puts game #162 in the early days of the month. And every time that game comes, I’m left thinking, “Awww. I don’t have any more baseball.”
You want to know why baseball is more fun to watch than the others and why I never tire of it? Because it is one spiteful little sport. I can talk about every aspect of the game with no problem. I can talk stats as if I were actually keeping the book. But I cannot tell who will win a game. Sure, I can guess who will win but there’s absolutely no way of being sure who will win. In football, I can almost guarantee who will win from week to week. Same with basketball. Granted, there are weeks when certain teams have upsets because they have a really off game (*cough cough* Duke losing to Temple) but you can always be fairly certain of who will come out on top.
Baseball’s completely different. No matter what those stats say, nothing is a guarantee. I don’t really know how to explain it to anyone who hasn’t played extensively but that’s just the way baseball is. Whether or not you win just depends on the mood of the little round leather ball. One game you can have an amazing day at the plate, go 4-for-4 with solid hits. Maybe even steal a base or chalk up some RBIs. The next time you face that same exact pitcher, you could end up putting a big goose egg in the book. It’s like the saying goes: Good pitching ( or defense) stops good hitting (or offense) every time (Okay, this one holds true in almost every sport. Did anyone else see that Bama defense tear them up some Jordan Jefferson last night?). Same goes for pitching. One time you could strike the guy out and the next time he could send it out of the park against you. Baseball’s just one moody game. No matter how hard you practice, sometimes fate just screws you over (Like when, your so-called star player commits 3 errors–she wasn’t really the star–and then the other team hits a dinger to beat you when it was your year to win States).
Because I’m so ready to break out my black and orange (So I don’t really stop in the offseason but it’s better wearing it with a purpose. And okay, I may have a new O’s shirt I’m wearing as I write this), I decided to see what was up with my boys. There weren’t really many moves made (Seriously, do we really need more outfielders? I know it’s the most important position on the field since I was one and all but PITCHING! WE NEED PITCHING!). And I found some devastating news (Okay, devastating for me): Nick Markakis had surgery! My Nicky! The boy who only sits out a game because it’s only fair to give the rookies a chance at the end of another losing season! On Thursday, he had his abdomen muscles repaired. Buck is assuring us that Nick will be fine and ready in time for Opening Day (not that I had a single doubt in my mind that my boy would not be in right field). Nick is a quick healer and is usually prepared only a few weeks into Spring Training. It’s okay. Nick has to have a better season than he did last year (I was very disappointed in my babe last season. Come on! A .284 average! What is that? At least his homers and RBIs weren’t too bad. But what can we say? My boy knows how to hit in the clutch).
Now, I don’t really want to start the season out cynically–though we do have the habit of being pretty awesome until sometime around my birthday in June (Really, guys? How about making it a happy one this year?). But we need to be realistic here. We have one big, pain in the butt elephant in the room that has stuck around (only because nobody else is stupid enough to want him): Kevin Gregg. The new vice president of baseball operations (Is anyone else as thrilled as I am McFailure is out of B-More?) is leaving the roles of Jim Johnson and Gregg up to Buck, according to an article on orioles.com. You want to know what just about every member of Birdland thinks the ideal role for Gregg is? Being somewhere other than Baltimore. He’s obviously not living up to what McPhail thought he would (I still think 37 saves is the stupidest reason to get a pitcher in the world) and he blew what seemed a million important games last season. I know, I know. There’s pretty much no way to way to get rid of him because nobody will be willing to buyout the rest of his contract. My solution (be it stupid or not)–we bring up someone who can do at least a little better and ship him down to the minors. Just to save me–and a whole lot of other people–the pain and agony of watching him screw up over and over again.
On the other hand, Buck has a few options with JJ. Jimmy Johnson did well in the relief role last season. There were times when we all questioned his abilities but when doesn’t that happen to every player in baseball? If we can’t sign or bring up any more starters with some talent, then go ahead: let’s throw him into the rotation. He’s done it before and won’t be any worse than what we’ve had before. And if we do get some pitchers to fill the starting roles, then keep him where he was last year. I think he’ll do even better there this season given he’s got more experience and knows how to work it there now.
Well, the count down for Opening Day has begun and since it falls on my parents anniversary, I’m betting we have our butts at Camden Yards on April 6th. Like my dad said, it’s looking like Boog’s for anniversary dinner and my mom said that it’s her kind of show. That’s right. We’re headed to the Showalter Show. Time for me to break our my Markakis shirts (Okay, this year might involve getting a J.J. Hardy or Jake Arietta one depending on what Victoria’s Secret MLB line looks like) and watch me some O’s (I’m talking to you J.J., Matt, Nick, Jakey, Zach, Nol, and Reynolds–you are also expected to still have awesome hair. Y’all better make me happy this season).