Saturday, May 5, 2012

Aiming For A Series Win

With a win this afternoon, the Orioles can move 9 games over .500 for the first time since July 18th of 2005. Anybody remember what was special about that week? Rafael Palmeiro got his 3,000th hit. Anybody remember what happened two weeks later? Palmeiro tested positive for steroids and the season (and franchise) floundered. But hey, let's hope that sort of bizarre twist of fate doesn't happen here.

The O's beat the Red Sox in 13 innings last night. It was a game they most likely end up losing in past years, but thanks to a much improved bullpen and pitching staff they were able to hold the Sox down and come away with a much needed victory. Anytime you can win at Fenway you take it and run with it. They now just need to win one of the next two game to assure themselves of back to back winning road trips.

The bullpen hasn't been the only resurgence of the club. Even without Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts, the team is playing well and winning. One of the biggest surprises has to be first basemen Chris Davis. Davis was acquired via trade last July in the Koji Uehara deal with the Texas Rangers. He came with a rep for hitting home runs and striking out. In fact, he struck out nearly 25% of his career at-bats. With a newfound confidence and a commitment by Buck Showalter to play him everyday, Davis has paid huge dividends. He's hitting .318 and has a .942 OPS (on-base plus slugging pct) with 5 home runs and 14 RBI's. He has also fanned at a much lower rate than in previous years.

With shrewd trades and better depth, the O's have been able to stay above ground for the past month. Whether they can keep it up and continue to play well has yet to be seen; but I can see this team playing very well into the summer. When you can pitch, hit home runs and play solid defense you will be in 95% of the games you play. If they can continue to pitch well, who knows how good they can be when they get two of their best hitters back.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I'm Back!!!

It's been a year since I've written in this space. It's a space I conceived talking to a few people outside of Gordon Bierch in Rockville, MD, while trying to figure out how I could best break into the sports writing world. I figured I'd write my own blog, do my internship with Comcast SportsNet and soon be a sports writing machine at a well-known publication. Well, I was wrong!!! I decided sometime after graduating from Maryland in 2010 that maybe being a sports writer wasn't all it's cracked up to be. It has some flaws, and frankly I didn't care to be covering games of teams I had a rooting interest for. It was a big-time conflict of interest. So in the spring of 2011, I decided to help coach my high school alma mater (Wootton High) and spent the spring there. After that I enjoyed the summer and started seriously considering a career in sales. I wasn't really sure what that would entail, but it sounded fun and more interesting than blogging and asking some garbage questions to athletes who wanted no part of them. I ended up getting a job as an inside sales rep at a company called Motionsoft. I sell club membership management and scheduling software to (among others) gyms, hotels, spas and medical wellness centers. I've found a niche doing it and I really enjoy the industry. The fast pace nature of sales and the competitiveness of it really gets me going and makes me feel like I'm playing sports again; albeit in a much different way. But enough about what I've been up to-HOW ABOUT THOSE O'S!!! I'll write a separate article on a more in-depth look at why they're succeeding; but this story starts and ends with Buck Showalter. Showalter has given this organization the leader it's needed for more than a decade. His confidence, preparedness and desire to succeed at a high level isn't lost on this blogger. Remember Matt Wieters pre-Buck? I do. He was a bust. Why? Because he was wandering aimlessly trying to exceed impossibly expectations. Showalter came in and let him know from day one that as the catcher it was his team. Wieters hasn't been the same since. He's become the best catcher in the game. Adam Jones has taken his game to a higher level and on and on. The pitching has been a huge factor as well. Gone are the days when Orioles pitchers would be knocked out of the game in the 3rd inning. Gone are the days when the Orioles will be dead last in starters ERA. The depth that the organization has built has brought competition, fire and a commitment to holding the other team to less runs. I refuse to bore people with my blogs, so I will not continue going tonight. But check back in the next few days for a new article in this space. It will probably have something to do with the Orioles resurgence. Here's to keeping it going at Fenway this weekend!!!