Monday, December 24, 2012

Impressed with Orioles Moves So Far This Off-Season?

We’re about halfway through the offseason and the notion amongst fans, along with the media is that the Baltimore Orioles have not done much to improve their roster.

The Orioles, as we all know, had an impressive 2012 season that culminated in their first playoff berth in over 15 years. One would have thought that the organization would have found another bat, plus perhaps another arm to bolster a team that has a strong core with players like Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis.

Aside from re-signing Nate McLouth and finding guys such as pitchers Daniel Schlereth and Zach Braddock along with first-baseman Travis Ishikawa, the Orioles need to do more. The local media have said from day one of the off-season that the Orioles would not have any high-dollar signings such as a Zack Grienke and Josh Hamilton based on their sources.

They were right.

I would like the organization to take a shot on someone; however, it seems like the Orioles want to get pieces they want via trade.

There’s still quite a bit of time before Spring Training kicks off in February. Remember,  Dan Duquette waited until last January to make some moves and many of them, such as trading for pitcher Jason Hammel worked out.

However, my fear – along with most fans – is that the Orioles are due for a regression in 2013. A few of their rivals in the American League East – such as the Boston Red Sox, and more notably the Toronto Blue Jays – have made tremendous moves; meanwhile, while the New York Yankees are still old, seem to want to hold onto their cash, and have problems offensively, their pitching rotation is still intact and strong.

The Tampa Bay Rays perhaps took a step back in trading James Shields and Wade Davis for Will Myers and some prospects this winter, the brain trust of that  organization is top rate. Furthermore, they still have a talented pitching staff despite their offensive problems. In addition, although they will never win the checkbook championships, their signing of Evan Longoria to an extension was shrewd and manager Joe Maddon seems to always get the best out of his players.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FanFest Tickets on Sale...

From the Baltimore Orioles...


Orioles announce tickets for 2013 FanFest on sale today

The kickoff to the 2013 baseball season will begin on Saturday, January 19, as the Orioles host their annual FanFest event at the Baltimore Convention Center. 2013 FanFest, presented by Visit Sarasota County, will feature appearances by current and former Orioles players and coaches as part of a day-long celebration of baseball that will also include clinics, exhibits and interactive games. The event will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with early entry for Orioles Season Plan Holders to begin at 10:00 a.m. as part of the Orange Carpet Program.

Tickets for FanFest will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. today and will be available online at, via phone at 1-888-848-BIRD or at the Oriole Park Box Office and at the Official Team Store at the York Galleria in York, PA. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 14 and under and those over 55. On the day of the event, FanFest tickets will be sold at the Convention Center and the Oriole Park Box Office. 2012 Season Plan Holders, those that have made deposits for 2013 season tickets, and Dugout Club members will all receive complimentary tickets to FanFest.

In addition to FanFest activities, individual game tickets for the 2013 season will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. on January 19. Fans may purchase tickets at the Convention Center or the Oriole Park Box Office at the north end of the Warehouse throughout the day. Tickets will also be available via phone at 1.888.848.BIRD (2473), online at and at the Official Team Store at the York Galleria in York, PA.\

>>> Read more

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reynolds Has Gone to Cleveland

According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, Mark Reynolds has signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Indians for $6 million.

This was also reported by the Baltimore Sun last night.

Should we be devastated? Not really. Reynolds seemed to be a good guy, play hard and played some very good first base after being moved from third; however, the Orioles didn’t seem to want him.
I would think Reynolds’ bat was a big problem with the decision-makers in the organization. At times, he could hit homers in bunches (notably against the Yankees), but one could count on him to have a low batting average, strike out a ton and walk a bit.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Oncoming Storm: Part Three

It has been said many times, many ways that the 2012 season for the Baltimore Orioles was improbable at best. By going 29-9 in one-run games the Orioles accomplished something that no team in recent history has ever been able to pull off. This either meant that the O’s were supremely, irrationally, lucky or there was something else going on that the now stat-crazed MLB establishment just couldn’t put their fingers on. Whether it was luck or some kind of byzantine skill a team that was widely picked to lose 100 games last year won 93 and took the endless New York Yankees to game five of the ALCS.

Now, can they do it again?

Normally when a team wins 93 games there is a sense of certainty surrounding the club the following year. There is a sense that, all things being equal, similar results should come for the new season. That cannot be said for the Orioles. Given the unnatural progress they made last year the baseball elites are still looking at the Orioles with a sideways glance trying to find the mirrors through the smoke. The Orioles are sitting at a major turning point right now, do they stick with the formula that worked, buy the big free agents, or make the big trades?

Standing pat

General Manager Dan Duquette stated yesterday that he is “happy” with the current roster, though he is still looking to make deals and improve the team. For all intents and purposes it appears that manager Buck Showalter is fine standing pat as well. The Orioles did lose Mark Reynolds after the team decided to non-tender him. While Chris Davis would be able to return to his natural position at first, and Manny Machado would be the opening day third baseman, that does leave a rather large hole at DH. Reynolds definitely did not have his power-stroke for much of the 2012 campaign which is most likely the reason the Orioles let him go. But without his bat in the lineup what would a DH look like with the current roster?
The primary candidate would be Wilson Betemit. When Betemit was signed last year it was assumed that this would be his primary role but injuries and the ineffectiveness by others forced him into the field much more than I believe was originally intended. Betemit gets on base at an average clip, roughly the .330’s, but nothing astonishing. He still has some power, though coming off a surgically repaired wrist it will be interesting to see how he recovers.  Betemit is not an ideal DH, frankly I always thought Mark Reynolds was a more prototypical DH but that ship seems to have sailed, but Betemit has the ability to fill the role in a respectable level.

The wild card in this is Nolan Reimold. Reimold is a fan favorite. The oft’ injured Reimold has shown flashes of dominance in parts of three seasons with Baltimore. Last season was, again, cut short with a season ending-neck injury. Reimold is primarily a left-fielder, but with the re-signing of Nate McLouth Reimold should logically be pushed into the DH role. He was off to an absolutely torrid start in 2012, but only played in 13 games all year.  As much as everyone wants to see Reimold pick up right where he left off last year I don’t think the Orioles can rely on him in any tangible way.

The rest of the Orioles roster does not seem to have a real DH bat on it beyond those two. Needless to say, while standing pat might not be the worst option in the world, the Orioles will be missing a big bat in the middle of the lineup. That is unless Nolan Reimold can come back strong and stay healthy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Press Release: Orioles Holiday 5-Packs on sale Monday

Orioles Holiday 5-Packs on sale Monday

The Orioles today announced that Holiday 5-Packs will go on sale Monday, December 10 at 10:00 a.m. through

5-Packs include a ticket to Opening Day, plus vouchers for four additional games that can be redeemed for an Upper Box ticket to any non-prime games in April and May. Each five-game package costs $110, plus fees, and includes a complimentary ticket to 2013 FanFest with purchase. There is a limited quantity available, and packages are expected to sell out quickly.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

After the Winter Meetings, There's Not Much to Say

Should we as fans be upset at what the Orioles did at the Winter Meetings?

Not really.

The biggest signing that they had was bringing back Nate McLouth for a one-year pact. They also got a pitcher in the Rule 5 Draft, T.J. McFarland, and Dan Duquette did a lot of talking, mainly noting that the franchise has a good to core to work with.

In Nashville, many fans had wanted the franchise to be bold and open up the purse strings and perhaps make Christmas in Birdland a memorable by reeling in Josh Hamilton, Zack Grienke, or any big name free agent you can think of.

Yes, the Orioles were fairly quiet in Nashville.

I thought that Duquette could have done more this week; however, with the prices that some players – notably Angel Pagan, Macro Scutaro, and the Eric Chavez’s of the world –went for, perhaps it was a good thing that the Orioles didn’t go crazy and get a player for the sake of signing one.

I certainly think that the Orioles need to upgrade the roster, because honestly, what happened last season was a tad fluky – especially with their record in one run games and in extra frames.

They cannot stand pat with the team as-is, but at the same time, Duquette has shown himself to be adept at finding diamonds in the rough, players of value who fit a certain role, and taking chances on those who have been overlooked.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Oncoming Storm: Part One

The weather is getting colder and we in Baltimore are staring down December awaiting snow, the Mayan apocalypse and the approach of Nimburu; although only one of those is likely to happen. And if that opening sentence wasn’t evidence enough the offseason has been rather boring so far for the Orioles. Yes, they picked up Alexi Casilla and traded Robert Andino but the electrons that have been spent on those two moves already total too much.

There just isn’t much to talk about regarding the Orioles right now. There are rumors and rumblings, whispers in the dark of names like “Hamilton” and “Greinke,” but largely for an enterprising blogger to sink their teeth into. SO let’s take a, very early, look at the AL East and what could happen in the coming months.

The New York Yankees

The Yankees are older, streakier and weighed down by massive contracts and commitments to legendary players. But they are also one word that I have used to describe them before: Endless. They simply have no end, they are always there and someone always comes back, has an inexplicable season or a deal is made to propel the Yankees to where they are accustomed. 2013 will see the Yankees dealing with the looming awful of Alex Rodriguez’ horrendous contract, Derek Jeter’s ever diminishing ability to field, a massive hole at catcher and right-field and another hole in the rotation is Andy Pettite decides to re-retire. Still, they won 95 games last year. Still, they won the American League East. Still they went to the ALCS.


The Yankees are in a weird position this offseason. They may have finally reached the bottom of the money pit. With the financial albatrosses of A-Rod, CC and Tex hanging around the team’s neck they don’t look to be much of a player in the high-priced free agent market. BJ Upton has not been linked to the bombers, nor has Josh Hamilton. Still the Yankees will find a way to shore up the team before 2013 and as much I would love to think that the particularly feckless playoff performance the Yankees produced is a sign of things to come there is little reason to think the Yankees won’t win 90 games next year. Sure, the age could finally catch up with this team and the keg of Yankee-majesty could finally tap out bringing them back to the realm of more mortal squads but until it actually happens you can’t simply assume that it will.

The Boston Red Sox

I really shouldn’t take as much pleasure in the collapse of the Red Sox as I have. I mean I really shouldn’t – but I do. It wasn’t always like this. There was a time at the peak of New York Yankee hegemony where I felt a kinship with Red Sox nation. I rooted hard for the Sox every time they played the Yanks. Then something shifted in “the nation,” at some point the fans that began to invade Camden Yards became the most insufferable group of malcontents that I have ever experienced. Then they won the World Series a couple time and became completely unbearable.

That is why 162-2011 was such an amazing moment for Baltimore fans. If you haven’t been here for that long you don’t get it, you can’t get it. So watching last year’s systematic destruction of the Boston Red Sox warmed my soul. That being said the Red Sox are in trouble.

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The Oncoming Storm: Part Two

The AL East is shaping up to easily be the most competitive division in the American League. With the Yankees aging and the Red Sox looking weak for the foreseeable future the power in the American League looks to be moving out west. I think it is very likely that the top two records in the AL are coming out of the west, especially seeing how the Rangers and Angels will get to beat up on the Astros for a year.

With the former powers stepping back the rest of the AL East by default takes a step forward. The Orioles proved that last year with their improbable run. Going into 2013 the world is different and the AL East will be a slugfest, mostly because of massive changes north of the border.

But first, The Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays finally showed they are willing to spend money and commit long-term to the face of their franchise, third baseman Evan Longoria. And it is a great thing for that franchise. The Rays have spent the better part of their existence as a minor league outfit for the rest of the major league. The cash-strapped Rays simply have not been able to lock up their star players they develop, Longoria changes that. But with one locked up another is lost as the Rays’ center fielder BJ Upton left for greener pastures in Atlanta.

One can argue the worth of Upton, a player who never really took the next step in his career with Tampa, but the Rays simply can’t afford to lose offense. With Longoria out the Rays’ offense took a nosedive last season and it showed in their inability to make it to the playoffs at the end of last season. Through May, June, and July the Rays (as a team) failed to bat over .680 OPS (.676, .642, .662) and in two of those months they barely got on base at a higher than .300 clip. The Rays have the arms, there is no doubt about that. Hell, anyone who has followed baseball over the last five years knows that the Rays simply do nothing else other than produce amazing pitching talent. It is that pitching talent that will carry the Rays and serve as the foundation for their franchise’s continued success.

To augment that pitching the Rays will most certainly be looking to improve their offense. To do that the Rays will most likely have to deal from their core of young pitching. Still, a down Rays team barely missed the playoffs and won 90 games last season. Unless they make big moves this winter, and they go badly – which is rare for the Rays, there is no reason to expect them to be significantly different next year.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

The Winter Meetings

This week, the annual MLB Winter Meetings will be taking place in Nashville, Tennessee. Once again, fans and the baseball world are looking forward to what happens. The Orioles, as we all know, flew high during the 2012 season, winning 93 games, regaining a fan base and delivering a world of possibilities that few could have dreamed of.

Now that we are in December, the Orioles have to do more with their roster if they plan to win again like they did in 2012. The organization has a good core of players at the major league level and the minor league system looks to be improved – somewhat; however, team needs a bat and perhaps another arm despite the success of a patchwork rotation and diamonds in the rough like Miguel Gonzalez, plus the emergence of Chris Tillman.

The Red Sox and Blue Jays are retooling, but what are the Orioles planning to do? Quite a few players will be getting raises either through their contracts, or arbitration, so the payroll will probably be going up. Then again, will the team rebuild through trades, or make a splash on the market.

We all know that Mark Reynolds was not tendered a contract by the Orioles and is a free agent. While he did come through big at the end of the summer at the plate, and also defensive at first base – frankly, he is not worth $9 million. While I like his grit, the Orioles could do much better on the market, or spread the money between multiple players. He could be re-signed at a lower rate, but I’d personally like to see the team get a much more productive hitter before even re-considering Reynolds for 2012.

>>> Read More

Friday, November 30, 2012

Press Release: Orioles announce 2013 Spring Training schedule

Orioles announce 2013 Spring Training schedule

The Orioles today announced their 2013 Grapefruit League schedule, which opens February 23 with a 1:05 p.m. game against the Minnesota Twins at Ed Smith Stadium. 2013 marks the fourth consecutive spring training for the Orioles in Sarasota, and the third in the renovated Ed Smith Stadium.

Baltimore will face eight different opponents during the 2013 Grapefruit League campaign. The O’s will host the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates three times each and the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays two times each, with the New York Mets also making one visit to Sarasota. In preparation for this year’s World Baseball Classic, Team Brazil will come to Sarasota to play the Orioles, rounding out the 18-game home schedule.

The Orioles will play 16 games on the road during the 2012 Grapefruit League schedule. They will make four trips to play the Pirates, three trips to play the Blue Jays and Twins, two trips to play the Rays and Red Sox and one trip to play the Yankees and Phillies.

Fans interested in season plans, five-game flex packs or group tickets, or those wishing to receive additional spring training ticket information may call the Orioles spring training office in Sarasota at 941-893-6300.

The Orioles are also offering the official Spring Training Travel Package that includes hotel accommodations, rental car, game tickets, optional airfare through Southwest Airlines and other amenities. For more information or to order travel packages, fans should visit or call 1-800-892-7687.

Single game tickets for all 18 of the Orioles’ Grapefruit League Games at Ed Smith Stadium will go on-sale January 26, 2013. Pitchers and catchers will report to Sarasota February 12 and position players will report on February 15.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday musings

-Buck Showalter has been voted Manager of the Year by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Good for Buck, he deserves the love and the hardware. It is unfortunate that he came up short in the nationwide vote but Bob Melvin’s team did end up winning the AL West, even if they did get a ton of help from a Rangers team that folded in the last month.

-The Red Sox signed Jonny Gomes to a two-year $10 million deal. The Orioles were linked to Gomes briefly but the Red Sox have picked up the journeyman outfielder as they try to patch together a team from the ruins of 2012. Gomes offers them some power that should play well in Fenway, even though in 31 career games at the Fens he only has three homers. Gomes’ deal does have an impact on the Orioles and their decision surrounding Nate McLouth.

McLouth came to the Orioles midway through last season and quickly became a favorite. He plays a great leftfield and has the ability to play all outfield positions in a pinch. With Nick Markakis returning to the lineup in the Spring, and hopefully for the entire year, McLouth could bat second allowing the Orioles to have a very solid one-two punch of OBP at the top of the order. Allowing JJ Hardy’s bat to be moved down in the order where it will play a lot better. Gomes’ two-year deal will probably be a solid starting point for the Orioles, but it will also depend on how much faith Dan Duquette will put in the, latest, return of Nolan Reimold.

Reimold has recovered from neck surgery and looks primed to, once again, reclaim his spot on the Orioles’ roster. Reimold has always been a fan favorite but, to me, there is simply no way you can rely on him to stay healthy. He is just getting older and has yet to put together a full season of solid play. McLouth also plays a much better outfield and his bat is much better than an occasional back-up player.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Andino Traded

Evening everyone. I’ve not been hearing much on the market concerning the Orioles and free agency as of yet, despite murmurs of them being interested in a number of players.

However, today, the Orioles made a trade. It saddened me as a fan to read the details a while ago, but the deal they made was prudent and hard to argue with.

From the Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles today announced that they have acquired OF TRAYVON ROBINSON from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for INF ROBERT ANDINO.

Robinson, 25, batted .215/.272/.330 (62-288) in 90 major league games over the past two seasons with Seattle. The switch-hitter appeared in 46 games (39 starts) in left field for Seattle in 2012. Robinson hit 73 home runs and stole 169 bases in 754 games over eight minor league seasons after being drafted in the 10th round of the 2005 First Year Player Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Robinson was traded to the Mariners on July 31, 2011 as part of a three-team deal that sent ERIK BEDARD to the Boston Red Sox.

Andino, 28, appeared in 360 games for the Orioles over the past four seasons, batting .239/.302/.326 (263-1100) with 16 homers and 80 RBI. In 2012 for the Orioles, Andino batted .211 (81-384) with a career-high seven home runs and 28 RBI. Andino was acquired from the Florida Marlins prior to the start of the 2009 season.”

Robert Andino did whatever the team asked him to do and filled in valiantly with Brian Roberts being out. The man proved he is a major leaguer; however, when given extended playing time, Andino did get overexposed and at times showed why he is a valuable super sub.

No one will ever forget what Andino did against the Boston Red Sox in the final game of 2011, plus he was one of the few Orioles who contributed at the plate in the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

The ALDS Starts Tonight for the Orioles.

The past few days have been memorable for us as fans of the Baltimore Orioles. After running into a roadblock against the Tampa Bay Rays to finish up the season, the Orioles entered the post season for the first time in 15 years and played the Texas Rangers on the road in the Wild Card play-in game.

They shocked the baseball world by defeating the Rangers, 5-1, on Friday night and now face the New York Yankees in a best-of-five American League Divisional series. Few expected the Orioles to send the Rangers - who had been in the previous two World Series - to an early vacation.

The Orioles grinded it out and were able to get going against a tough Yu Darvish for the Rangers on the mound and got on their bullpen later on in the game. Joe Saunders - who started for Baltimore on the mound - did not instill a lot of confidence in Birdland when it was announced that he would be on hill Friday; however, manager Buck Showalter had total trust in his southpaw.

Saunders went five-plus innings, and the Baltimore bullpen - which has been excellent all season - came through again late.

With that said, the dream season continues for the Orioles on Sunday against the Bronx Bombers. Jason Hammel - who has been sidelined due to injury, his knee - will start game one of the ALDS. The Bombers have announced that C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte will start the first two games for them.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Playoffs Are Here...

Now, the playoffs are here for the Baltimore Orioles and everyone in Birdland. Never did I think this would come; however, by Saturday morning, we will all know whether the Orioles will take on the New York Yankees or go home.

Whether the Orioles win or lose of Friday, a franchise that was pretty much moribund has had life injected back into it thanks to a winning season.

Although people look for something into sports that may or may not sometimes exist, the Birds have brought a community of like-minded fans back together and their success has made us all believe more is possible.
The future for the Baltimore franchise is brighter than it has even been over the past two decades, and they matched up against the big boys of the American League East in 2012.

Many people don’t believe that a manager makes a difference; however, it is clearly evident the influence Buck Showalter has had with the Orioles. He’s changed the culture with the franchise, given his players confidence, accountability, but most important – has given them a winning mentality.

Joe Saunders takes the hill against the Rangers on the road in Arlington, Texas, and the season for Baltimore will ride on how his arm. Yu Darvish toes the rubber for the Rangers, and although he struggled in July and August, the tall Japanese hurler has done the job in September.

>>> Read More

Monday, October 1, 2012

Press Release: Orioles announce potential tiebreaker ticket sale

Orioles announce potential tiebreaker ticket sale

The Orioles today announced that tickets for a possible tiebreaker game to be played at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday, October 4 will go on sale tomorrow, Tuesday, October 2, exclusively online at

Full and 29-game Season Plan Holders who paid their postseason invoice have already received tiebreaker tickets along with their postseason tickets and will be charged only if a tiebreaker is played.

Beginning at 10:00 a.m. until noon, 13-game Plan Holders will receive their first opportunity to purchase tiebreaker tickets and all Full and 29-game Season Plan Holders will have an opportunity to purchase additional tickets. Tiebreaker tickets will be available to Plan Holders at the Season Plan Holder discount only during this exclusive two-hour window. A unique passcode will be required and is being sent via email today.

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The Orioles Clinch a Playoff Spot!

I never thought I'd see this day so soon, but last night the Baltimore Orioles clinched a playoff spot as the Los Angeles Angels lost to the Texas Rangers in game two of their doubleheader. Who would have thought all of this would happen back in Spring Training? I would have been happy with a .500 record and seeing a breakout player come through the organization, but the playoffs and a chance at the World Series?

For the first time in 15 years, the Orioles will be playing in the post-season! It's been a long time coming for everyone here, and the losing culture that we've seen hopefully is vanquished from the organization for good.

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Improbable is close to happening: The Orioles are closer to a playoff spot...

This year has been one hell of a ride for us fans, and on Sunday, the Orioles closed out their final regular season game at home by defeating the Boston Red Sox, 6-3. The Orioles would complete a weekend sweep of the Red Sox, who have been nothing short of a train wreck.

In front of a crowd that numbered over 41,000 – the vast majority in orange – the Birds of Baltimore put themselves in reach of a playoff spot as Nate McLouth, J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis all homered.

Joe Saunders – who on the afternoon – came through on the mound, pitching 7 1/3 innings and giving up three runs in a workman-like performance; thereafter, Jim Johnson got his 50th save.

With a win, the Orioles earned their 92nd victory on the season – a feat that I think few people even envisioned in March. As well, if the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lost either of their two games in a day-night doubleheader, the Orioles secure a playoff spot.

The Orioles finished off the Red Sox, and the players along with the coaching staff took the field and watched the scoreboard. Like everyone else in attendance, the Orioles were watching the scoreboard waiting to see if the Angels would lose to the Rangers in game one of their doubleheader.

It was going to be a picture-perfect moment, the players would see the Angels lose in the ninth inning, and they would get to frolic and celebrate in front of the fans. Everyone left in the stadium was waiting for a magical moment; however, it would not come.

The Angels would score twice in the frame, and the Rangers did not come back.

When all was said and done, the Angels would keep their faint playoff hopes alive. Fans at Oriole Park left somewhat disappointed; however, almost everyone was amazed by what they saw and have faith that they will come out of Tampa Bay and secure a playoff spot.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Not Luck, It's Buck - 91 Wins

The Orioles beat the Red Sox.

They are tied for first.

A win tomorrow and an Angels loss means the Orioles are in the playoffs.


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90 Wins for the Orioles...

The Orioles won their 90th game today.

90 wins. Let that sink in for a moment.

With a decisive, dominant, deafening win over the Boston Red Sox tonight the 2012 Orioles became the 19th Orioles team in Baltimore history to attain a 90 win season; they lowered their magic number to three and remained one game behind the New York Yankees for the AL East title.

Tonight was just amazing.

Sitting in the pressbox is rather indescribable. When you are there you are at the game but you are focused, you are working. There is no cheering and you get a very focused on what you are doing. You see the game a different way, the vantage point is second-to-none allowing you to see the shifts and movements of everyone on the field. The big thing is, you can't cheer.

That was hard for me tonight.

When Ryan Flaherty hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first I looked directly at one of the pressbox attendants. He knows that I am not a journalist by any means. I do not have the steely resolve of the professionals around me. We both smiled and I raised my hand, shaking as if to say: "I am about to explode with excitement right now."

The Orioles went on to embarrass the Red Sox with a 9-1 drubbing. Chris Tillman pitched eight innings of enlightened baseball, retiring the last 14 batters he faced and only allowing two walks after the leadoff single that started the top of the first. The Red Sox looked dead, lifeless and they seemed to sleepwalk through the game. When Bobb Valentine removed Aaron Cook after the first inning he walked very slowly to the mound a man who knows his fate.

As exciting and amazing as the win was, the Orioles work is still not done. The Rays lost tonight, but the Yankees and Angels both won. The Yankees however may have lost something greater as second baseman Robinson Cano was hit on the hand and will have x-rays in the morning. It was an ugly injury that was reminiscent of the injury that would sideline Nick Markakis for the rest of regular season. IF the Yankees lose Cano for the next few games then their lineup looks a lot more pedestrian than before and it could have massive implications for the playoffs. The Orioles are currently still sitting in a very strong position and are three games away from sewing up a playoff spot.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Orioles vs Red Sox: Pregame thoughts

Here I sit in the pressbox of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I am not a journalist, I'm just a teacher, a 29 year-old lifelong Orioles fan and I am here. 30 minutes before game time the groundscrew is cleaning up the field and the crowd is starting to file in. I'm sitting here, still in my work-clothes from today, wondering one thing: How did I get here?

What have I necessarily done to deserve this treatment? I mean honestly, I made some shirts, got noticed a bit, and here I am doing call-in shows for sportstalk stations in Long Island and sitting here, in the pressbox watching my team try to put an exclamation point on the most amazing season I have ever experienced.

I am in awe.

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Press Release: Orioles Host Fan Appreciation Celebration, Sept. 28-30th

As a “thank you” to fans for their support throughout the 2012 season, the Orioles will hold their annual Fan Appreciation Celebration during their last series of the season when they host the Boston Red Sox for three games, Friday, September 28 through Sunday, September 30 at Oriole Park.

The three day celebration includes many opportunities for the Orioles to give back to their fans. Celebrations on Friday, September 28 include randomly selecting a fan to throw out the first pitch, randomly selecting nine fans to take the field with Orioles starters for the National Anthem, and post-game fireworks for all fans in attendance.

Fans attending the game on Saturday, September 29 will be eligible to receive various prizes that will be given out throughout the game. Prizes include 2013 Opening Day tickets, a 13-game 2013 season ticket plan, and several autographed items.

On Sunday, September 30, the first 20,000 fans 15 and over will receive a J.J. HARDY Fans’ Choice Bobblehead, presented by AT&T. The “Shirts Off Our Back” Ceremony will also take place on Sunday, in which a randomly selected fan will be chosen for several members of the Orioles team to join the players in a pre-game ceremony on the field. These fans will receive the autographed jersey of their assigned player at a later date after the season concludes.

Fans are encouraged to wear Orioles clothing and arrive at the ballpark early each day.


On Saturday, September 29, Hall of Famer BROOKS ROBINSON will be the sixth and final Oriole honored as part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series. A larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Robinson will be revealed in a ceremony in the Legends Area beyond center field beginning at 5:15 p.m. All gates open at 5:00 p.m., and all fans in attendance will receive a replica of the sculpture. Robinson will also be honored in an on-field ceremony and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.

Earlier this season the Orioles honored FRANK ROBINSON, EARL WEAVER, JIM PALMER, EDDIE MURRAY and CAL RIPKEN JR. Fans are encouraged to visit for more information on the the unveiling ceremonies.

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Bring Me That Horizon

The Orioles were off today. Today was the "evening" of the schedules as every team that matter to the Orioles now has only six games left. The idle Orioles could have been in a much more precarious position, or a much more advantageous one. It would all depend on who lost and who won.

So far today the Yankees, Athletics and Angels all lost.

What that means is the Orioles sit in the first wild card seat with a one game cushion over the A's and three games ahead of the Angels. But most importantly the Orioles now sit only one game behind the Yankees for the AL East title with six games remaining.

The important thing at this time of year is not to look at the wins, but rather the losses.

Orioles - 67
Angels - 70
Rays - 70

The Rays are currently playing the White Sox in a close 2-2 game. If they were to lose that game then they would have 71 losses heading into the final six and giving them a very tough road to hoe. If the Orioles can go 3-3 over the next six it forces the Angels and Rays to play perfect baseball to simply tie the Orioles and force all sorts of Rube-Goldberg Device tie-breaker machinations and play-in games. One would assume that the Orioles have a very good shot of at least winning three of their last six, and if they can't win three of their last six then they really don't deserve to make the playoffs and this magical season would deservedly come to a bittersweet end.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Orioles Split Series With Jays; Win 89th Game...

After losing three out of their last four games, the Orioles needed a win in the worst way in game 156 of the season. With a Yankees win earlier in the afternoon, and the Rays, Angels along with the Athletics having won as well on Wednesday, another loss to Toronto would have added more angst to those in Birdland.

However, the Orioles got their swagger back as they went all-homer happy on the Toronto Blue Jays, snapping a two-game skid and defeating them, 12-2.

Baltimore tied a franchise record with seven homers, and both Manny Machado along with Chris Davis – who also had five runs driven in – each hit two. Nate McLouth, Jim Thome and Mark Reynolds all homered to join the party. Each one of the Orioles’ runs plated on Wednesday night came via a long ball.

They used a five-run fifth inning (after trailing 2-1), along with scoring two runs in each of their final three frames to march to their 89th win. Toronto’s pitching seemed to be serving up batting practice in the second half of the game and Baltimore sent their starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva – who gave up six runs in 4 2/3 innings – to the showers early. Their bullpen didn’t do much better and the Orioles feasted on it.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Orioles Lose Again to Jays, Each Game Matters Now...

For the second straight game, the Baltimore Orioles lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, this time by a score of 4-0.

Overall, the Orioles were held scoreless by Jays pitching, who only allowed six hits on the night. They didn’t have many opportunities to even do much on the scoreboard, and when they did – nothing much happened.

Joe Saunders was decent on the night on the mound for the Orioles, but obviously didn’t get the help he needed from the bats.

Aaron Laffey – who started the game for the Jays on the mound – stifled the Orioles offensively throughout his outing as he induced groundball after groundball, keeping the ball out of the air. Baltimore got a few solid hits off of him, but overall, they were no match for Laffey on the night.

After Laffey left the game in the sixth inning, the Toronto bullpen also kept Baltimore at bay.

Saunders tried to match Laffey on the mound, pitch for pitch, but a few mistakes did him in. He and the Orioles perhaps deserved a better fate on the night, considering they are trying to do their best to keep pace with the Yankees with the number of games dwindling along with maintaining their Wild Card standing.

Saunders lasted 6 1/3 innings on Wednesday, and gave up four runs - three earned.

The first third of the ball game was very well-played by Baltimore; however, the Toronto took a 1-0 lead off Yan Gomes’ RBI-single in the first inning and added another in the fourth with Adeiny Hechavarria’s single to left. They added two more in the seventh off runs driven by Colby Rasmus and Edwin Encarnacion.

The Orioles had chances in the first and seventh innings as they had two men on base and could have started a rally, but they could not capitalize.

J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters did have two hits for Baltimore.

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The Race Tightens for the Orioles

The Orioles split their double header against the Jays yesterday, lost a half a game against the Yankees but saw no real movement in the wild card. As the season winds down every single game matters with the Rays and Angels knocking on the door of the playoffs with both teams within four games of the Birds with eight games remaining. The Orioles are still in the driver's seat of their playoff destiny but with every game carrying so much weight Baltimore is in a tizzy as it deals with emotions the fans simply haven't had to deal with in a very long time.

The Orioles' loss yesterday, as frustrating as it was, has sent many fans into a bit of a defcon-3 frenzy. The Orioles sit only 1.5 games behind the division-leading Yankees but many fans now see that as an insurmountable feat. Meanwhile, even though the Orioles' playoff cushion is currently three times the size of that gap, scenarios are being devised that see the Orioles missing the playoffs in a sort of 1989 "Why Not?" heartbreak.

As I type this entry the Orioles' bats have been silenced thus far by the Blue Jays, a stark contrast from the last couple of days and an equally stark reminder that on any night anything can happen.

An Orioles' loss tonight could result in their lead in the wild card being reduced to half a game over the A's with the Angels and Rays sitting two and three games back respectively, with seven games left to play. It certainly would make the Orioles' job a bit more difficult and the last week's worth of games would be insanley tense but still in a very solid position.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Birds drop finale in Boston, 6-3 road trip

The Orioles finished their last multi-city roadtrip today with a 2-1 frustrating loss to the shambling corpse of the Boston Red Sox. The Orioles finished the roadtrip snapping a season-long six-game winning streak that has allowed them to keep pace with the seemingly endless New York Yankees.

Despite the Yankees frustrating inability to lose a game right now, they have helped the Orioles out a bit this weekend by way fo their victories over the Oakland Athletics. The Orioles now hold the first wild card spot with a one game lead over the A's. Behind the A's are the Angels who sit 3.5 games back and the Rays who sit 4.5 back. With 11 games left the Orioles are still sitting pretty despite losing a game today that could easily have been won.

Felix Dorubont perplexed the Orioles bats all game, and Chris Tillman had a similarly easy day. The game was tied 1-1 going into the eighth inning when during the Red Sox' half Luis ayala gave up back-to-back doubles allowing the Sox to take a 2-1 lead. Suddenly, Orioles number one prospect Dylan Bundy was summoned to get the last out in the eighth. Let it be known that Dylan Bundy recorded his first major league out retiring Ryan Lavarnway on two pitches and a line-out.

The Orioles had a chance to equalize in the top of the ninth but were unable to push a run across a run despite having the tying run on third with less than two outs.

All in all, one really can't complain about the Orioles last road trip. The three losses sandwiched between a six-game winning streak that saw the usual Orioles script. Thrilling extra-inning wins, clutch hitting and the solid reliable bullpen.

Tomorrow the Orioles begin their final homesatnd of the regular season with a single-admission true-doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays are playing absolutely terrible baseball recently. The Jays have lost nine of their last 11 games, they have looked dead in the field and seem to have been playing the role of fodder for competing teams in the last 10% of the season. The Rays have abused the Jays to allow themselves to stay in the race as the we come to the final ten games of the year.

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BUCKleUP - The Orioles are in the driver's seat

The Baltimore Orioles won their 86th game of the season last night as they defeated the Boston Red Sox, 4-2.

Matt Wieters drove in three runs, Miguel Gonzalez had another solid start and earned a win; meanwhile, Jim Johnson got his 46th save and now holds the team record in that category. 

It's startling to see the difference between the two organizations from this point last year. The Orioles were on a hot streak to finish up the year and have been flying high in the win column ever since; meanwhile, the Red Sox have been your proverbial train wreck.

Watching on the action with some friends at the BUCKle up event in Hunt Valley yesterday, the Orioles looked like a confident team knowing they have their destiny under control. The Red Sox on the field resembled a squad hating their professional careers right now and waiting out the string.

Jon Lester - who started for Boston - and has owned the Orioles for seemingly forever, took the loss and just didn't look like he gave a damn on the mound. With the exception of Dustin Pedoria and a few others vying for a job next year, the arrogance and swagger the Boston squad had is gone.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Press Release: Orioles Announce Series of "Buckle Up" Rallies

The Orioles today announced a series of rallies to generate excitement for the team's push for the postseason. Rally sponsors include Bank of America, Coca-Cola, ESSKAY, Miller Lite, Old Bay, Ollie's Bargain Outlet, Stuggy's and Von Paris Moving and Storage.

A "BUCKle Up" street team will travel throughout Baltimore and surrounding areas for the rest of the month, including appearances at Silver Spring Mining Company in Cockeysville, presented by Von Paris Moving and Storage on September 21 and Geresbeck's on Eastern Avenue, presented by ESSKAY, on September 22. The BUCKle Up team will also be at Ravens Walk prior to the Baltimore Ravens' home games on September 23 and 27.

The rally schedule also includes a joint event during the Orioles game in Tampa Bay at Pickles Pub and Sliders Bar & Grille on Monday October 1 from 6-8 p.m. presented by Miller Lite. The rallies will conclude with an appearance at Power Plant Live!, also presented by Miller Lite, on Tuesday, October 2 from 6-8 p.m.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Orioles Do It Again...

Well, the Baltimore Orioles seemingly are now a team of destiny. They’ve pulled out amazing win after another, and some of them seem utterly incomprehensible. One night after their amazing 18-inning win over the Mariners, they did at again this morning.

Once again, the Orioles played an extra inning game – this time, only 11 innings – and they defeated the Mariners again, this time, with a 3-1 victory. Adam Jones’ two-run homer in the 11th put away his former team, and Jim Johnson earned his 45th save.

Johnson’s save tied the team record, held by Randy Myers, who set it in 1997. He allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach base on hits; however, whatever God the Orioles pray to saved them. A double play later, along with an amazing scoop by Johnson, a walk, and a runner caught stealing base thanks to Taylor Teagarden’s throw to end the contest, Baltimore earns their 85th win of the season.

Even crazier, the Orioles have won their 15th straight game in extra-innings. I guess if the Orioles go more than nine innings, the opposing team will lose.

Joe Saunders pitched a great game, as he went eight innings and only gave up a run. Five relievers helped keep the Mariners off the scoreboard, and Luis Ayala earned the win, his fifth of the season.

Adam Jones and Nate McLouth had two hits; meanwhile, the Orioles held their own against Felix Hernandez who was on the mound for Seattle. Hernandez only gave up a run – off a Reynolds’ RBI in the fourth inning – but the Orioles Saunders’ matched up well with him on the mound.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Orioles announce Postseason Ticket Options - Press Release

From the Baltimore Orioles...


The Orioles today announced three options for fans to purchase postseason tickets, which will be available exclusively online. Fans are encouraged to visit for a postseason seating chart, schedule and additional ticket information. All three options are for fans to purchase Wild Card and American League Division Series tickets (ALCS and World Series tickets will be made available for sale at a later date, if necessary).

Option 1

Fans will receive the opportunity to purchase postseason tickets before the general public by placing a $250 per seat deposit on a 2013 full or partial season ticket plan, including 13-game plans. Fans who place a deposit by midnight tonight will have access to an exclusive online-only pre-sale on Thursday, September 20 at 2p.m. Beginning tomorrow, 2013 deposits will no longer guarantee fans an opportunity to participate in this pre-sale.

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Dylan Bundy Promoted to the Orioles

The Orioles pulled out a fantastic 4-2 victory out west over the Seattle Mariners in game that went 18 innngs and ended a tad before 4AM ET.

The pitching came through late, and with that being said, the Orioles need arms. I didn't think this would happen; however, this morning they promoted highly touted youngster Dylan Bundy to the majors.

This was a huge surprise, as I didn't think the the Orioles would bring him up this year. The Orioles are now tied for the Yankees with the AL East lead, and have a three-game advantage over the Los Angeles Angels for the final playoff spot. It looks like the team is taking advantage of the expanded rosters now and promoting Bundy.

From Ken Rosenthal: BREAKING: #Orioles, in need of a fresh arm following their 18-inning victory, have promoted their top pitching prospect, Dylan Bundy, 19.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Orioles win their 82nd game and salvage series in Oakland...

Today, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Oakland Athletics, 9-5, and clinched their first winning season since 1997.

After losing the first two games of the weekend series, the Orioles rebounded on Sunday as Matt Wieters hit two homers, Endy Chavez plated in two runs and Chris Davis’s eighth-inning homer put the game away late.
Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds and Robert Andino also drove in runs.

According to Roch Kubtako of MASN Sports, the Orioles had lost 16 out of 18 games on the road in Oakland – an astounding piece of information. That should tell you how huge Sunday’s win for them was on the left coast.

Randy Wolf – in a spot start – pitched four strong innings, giving up two runs; meanwhile, Brian Matusz earned the win as pitched two clutch relief innings. Jim Johnson earned his 43rd save, coming in for an ineffective Pedro Strop.

Oakland took an early 2-0 lead; however, the Baltimore offense came through for the pitchers on the mound.
With their win, the Orioles (82-64) still trail the New York Yankees by a game in the American League; meanwhile, they hold a 2 ½ game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the final wild card spot.

They could not afford another loss in Oakland, and they head onto Seattle for yet another important series.

Afterwards, they head back east to face the Boston Red Sox on the road to finish out the road trip.
Baltimore had rebounded from a close loss on Friday and a miserable one on Saturday due to one bad inning. Although they didn’t look great overall this weekend (blowing scoring opportunities, loading the bases, confounding pitching at times), the Orioles are still in a fairly strong position and still control their destiny. I’ve got a feeling they still make the playoffs; however, they will probably face Oakland out west in the wild card game.

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The magic number

The Orioles lost last night, meaning they have only 18 games remaining in their remarkable season to get to the next level. To me the magic number is 90 wins, meaning the Orioles need only go .500 the rest of the way to meet my playoff threshold.
The scenario as I see it.

This is, of course, barring any unforeseen nonsense or any team getting ridiculously hot/cold. 

One wild card will come out of the west. At this point I think the Orioles west-coast cousin Athletics will make the playoffs in some capacity. The Angels are trying valiantly but I think their inconsistent play will sabotage them going forward during the remainder. The A’s are doing their damnedest to catch the Rangers, but they seem too powerful to be caught.

That leaves the Yankees, Orioles and Rays all vying for two playoff spots. At the start of play today the Birds and the Yanks are tied for first both three games ahead of the Rays. The Rays will take on the Yankees tonight and the A’s are, of course, hosting the Orioles – each will play two more games this series.

To get to 90 wins the Yankees and Orioles both need only to win nine games, the Rays need to win 12. All teams only have 18 games to play.  While it is very reasonable to imagine the Orioles and the Yankees going .500, the Rays getting to 90 might be a bit more troublesome for them.  The Rays have only had two stretches of 12-6, or better, play this year; Once at the beginning of the season from April 12 – May 29 (14-4) and again from August 7 – August 24 (14-4).  While their pitching is simply second-to-none their offense continues to struggle to score runs consistently.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

The Number 81 and a Winning Season...

The Orioles on a gorgeous afternoon in Charm City won their 81st game of the 2012 season. Obviously for us fans, their victory over the Rays not only completed a three-game sweep, but also have now vanquished an ignominious past.

For the first time in 15 seasons, the Orioles will at finish a campaign at or above .500.

No team aspires to be mediocre; however, it happens. Then again, most organizations do not have prolonged stretches of losing like the Orioles have had.

Through umpteen players – the high-dollar free agents, the good, the bad, the call-ups, the overhyped – along with managers, team executives, and like, the Orioles have never had anything for us to rally and cheer about.

Until now.

This team is a product of what Andy MacPhail started and Dan Duquette have continued to build on.

Although the players do it all on the field with their arms with their bats, you seriously cannot discount the job that Buck Showalter has done as not only a manager.

If you have read the numerous articles written online about Showalter, you can see he’s not only the on-field general manager, but a mentor and a motivator.

It’s amazing what Duquette and Showalter have done with the resources available to them. They don’t have the money of the New York Yankees or Red Sox, but they’ve been creative with their moves and acquisition of players.

For all the talk of potential moves at the trade deadline, the biggest moves the Orioles have made came from within their system (i.e., Machado) and finding available players with track records who have contributed in one way or another (Nate McLouth, Lew Ford, Taylor Teagarden, Joe Saunders.

It’s like the magic run that the Orioles have had in the past has returned this year and at this point, I expect nothing short of the playoffs for the now.

I’m sure most fans agree now. Back in March, a .500 season would have been a cause of celebration; however, I’m looking forward to October.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

The doorstep of redemption for the Orioles

The Orioles have won their 80th game.

What else is there to say. With a sweep today the Orioles will finally end the 14-year losing streak that has plagued this team, its fans and the city of Baltimore. Confederate money, 30-3, Jeff Maier, Raffy–gate, Mazzilli, The Mother’s Day Massacre, Armando Benitez, Omar Dhal, BJ Ryan, Kurt Ainsworth – all will be wiped away. The Orioles can no longer be lumped together with the laughing stocks of sport. No longer can sports writers wax philosophical about how much a “tragedy “ the Baltimore Orioles are. With a win today the Orioles can finally close a deplorable volume in the history of this team and begin to write a new one; most certainly a better one.

There is no real way to describe what I am seeing. It’s been stated a million times before: “this team shouldn’t be here,” “they simply can’t keep doing this,” “They are lucky.” Yet here they are, the Orioles are one win away from breaking the losing streak. These Orioles remain tied for first place with their biggest rival, they are locked in a tight race for the AL wildcard and they just keep winning series after series.

Nick Markakis goes down for the rest of the regular season? They overcome. Jason Hammel seems to have suffered another knee injury? They overcome. Yankees? Rays? The best teams in the AL? Every test that has been thrown at this team they have met and passed. It hasn’t always looked pretty, and even I can think of at least four games where luck was definitely on the team’s side but that is all in the past. Where this team is, right now, is on the doorstep of history

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