Buster Olney has a real long piece about the Baltimore Orioles in his blog this morning. As you can probably gather with the little bit I have below, the team is making strides; however, it may be a while -- as we all probably have fathomed -- before (and that's an if) the Orioles contend in the American League East.
It's going to be tough this season; maybe even in 2010, but things are looking up.
It has been more than a decade now since the Orioles made the playoffs, and almost that long since they've been truly relevant in the AL East race. Their goal this year, he says, is to play meaningful games in September.
They are making strides; Trembley sees it, and he feels it. The club's culture has changed, a tone rooted in the words that MacPhail spoke to the team on the first day of camp. "Do you know how fortunate we are to be doing what we're doing?" MacPhail asked the Orioles. "People are going to be making sacrifices to come out and see you this year. There should be no excuse for a lack of energy and enthusiasm as you do your work."
They will do their work this year believing that there are better days ahead, and within reach.
I don't want to rain on the positivity, but the Orioles could be basically the Toronto Blue Jays of this decade, even if everything works out. Think of it, you've got the Yankees and Red Sox who could outspend everyone in free agency, as well as the upstart Rays and the always competitive Toronto organization.
The American League East is a brutal division -- perhaps even the most competitive in sports, and who knows what will happen in the next several season with Baltimore.
Well, I do think the Orioles are making strides -- I think they have made several -- but they will also need a lot of luck, and hope that their prospects pan out. Remember, it took the Rays ten years of losing and everyone breaking out at the same time to make them into what they were in 2008.
The Orioles will need more personnel, talent, along with luck, but Andy MacPhail needs to stay with the plan, and with the way he's handling Matt Wieters and the young arms, he's doing just that.