On the precipice of redemption.
Yesterday the Orioles reached somewhat of a milestone. The Orioles won their 61st game on August 10. In 2005 the Orioles were mired in a horrific tailspin at this point in the season and had to fight back to get to 60 wins on August 17, game 120. In 2005 the Orioles went 14 and 28 over the final 42 games and limped into the offseason broken, defeated and embarrassed.
The 2012 Orioles won their 61st game last night marked their sixth win in their last seven games. It saw their top prospect call-up announce his presence with authority as Manny Machado collected four RBIs with two no-doubt homeruns into the left field seats. Miguel Gonzalez, the Mexican League signing, continued to surprise and act as a much needed stabilizing force in the rotation with another stellar performance.
The cynical among us will roll their eyes and say "Royals." Well, these Royals torched the Orioles' best pitcher the night before and had won seven of their last eight before last night. The Orioles can not afford to "overlook" anyone nor will they because of one man - Buck Showalter.
As this season goes forward, the play, the dedication you can see what Buck has meant to this team. The Orioles continue to defy logic and assumption largely because of Buck Showalter's system and management ability. I'm not necessarily talking about the button-pushing and lever-pulling aspects of the job, rather, the personalities the people. You have a sense that Showlater has every member of that team buying into every last word of his philosophy. If you don't believe me, look at the record. Still not convinced, Adam Jones stayed here long term because of Showalter. It has been reported that Jones decided to stay here because Showalter assured him that he was going to be here for awhile.
Showalter is the perfect man for this team, he was the perfect man for this job and because of that the Orioles are sitting at the precipice of redemption as they look to sweep away the demons of the past with one glorious season.
There is still plenty of time left. The Orioles still need to put up a solid performance over the next 49 games. The Yankees are still the Yankees, the Rays look to make a surge and the Red Sox are still lurking not quite dead yet. Oakland is holding on, The Tigers and Angels aren't going anywhere and the White Sox continue impress. But, just for fun consider the following:
On September 8th the Orioles will honor Cal Ripken Jr on his Legends Day, against the Yankees. That game will have playoff implications.
On September 22nd the Orioles will honor Brooks Robinson on his, delayed, Legends Day against the Red Sox. That game will have playoff implications.
Could the Orioles ask for a better script? Honoring two of the most beloved Orioles of all time fighting division rivals against the backdrop of massively significant games in September?
It's not over yet, they have a lot of work to do but the shadows of the recent past may finally be receding in Baltimore.