Here’s The Pitch

Between 1930 and 1941, the St. Louis Browns posted a pathetic record of 12 consecutive losing seasons. The Browns lost more than 100 games twice in that stretch and never finished higher than fifth in a division of eight teams. St. Louis gave up more than 1,000 runs in a 156 game schedule three times during that period. They were the laughingstock of baseball.

It kind of reminds you of the current club in town. The Baltimore Orioles, placing dead last in the A.L. East the last four seasons and without a winning record in the last 14, hope to turn it around this year. It’s a team that resembles the fictional Cleveland Indians in “Major League.” Name two starters in the rotation. I’ll give you all day. Let’s just say the Orioles won’t be among the first picks in your fantasy baseball draft in a few weeks.

The team traded what they call an ace a few weeks ago. He finished last season with 17 losses. True, Jeremy Guthrie got very little run support in his quest to (gasp) win just ten decisions last season. It doesn’t really matter in the long run. Guthrie has a career record of almost twenty games below .500 and four consecutive losing seasons. At some point it’s not the run support.

Wei-Yin Chen makes his American debut this season for the Orioles and will likely hit the mound as the second starter. Using convention baseball wisdom, Chen should have a huge advantage in the first month of the regular season. No one has seen him live in Major League Baseball. The advantage always goes to the pitcher. After adjustments are made in June and July, then you can get a beat on how good the rookie will perform in the big leagues.

Baltimore’s biggest star this season remains consistent. It’s the 20th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards; a stadium universally praised for ushering in the new look of the majority of new ballparks in the country. Hopefully we can fill it with fans that don’t root for the visiting team this season.

Don’t quit on the hometown team. Three seasons after the Browns broke the curse of finishing below .500 they won the division and made the World Series. Spring isn’t a wistful season. It’s one of hope and promise with good things on the other side of the rainbow. Let’s see if the Orioles can feel that way still in the fall.

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