The Baltimore Orioles have not been well for a number of years. The last time they made it to the playoffs was 2016. The last time they made it to the ALCS, they got swept by the Royals and they have finished last in their division in four of the last five seasons.
Being in the difficult AL East doesn’t help. Baltimore isn’t playing particularly badly in 2022, with 35-40, the best of any team in last place in MLB this year. Hell, that win rate (.467) is also better than any other team in fourth place in MLB. It has been a long, arduous road filled with sadness, disappointment and… players calling Camden Yards a jokebut thankfully, the Orioles have just accomplished something they haven’t in nearly five years: winning more games than they’ve lost in a calendar month.
Yesterday, the Orioles won their game in Seattle, 9-2. That win pushed their record to 14-10 in June. With only two games left this month, the Orioles have officially achieved their first winning month since August 2017! Look forward to Baltimore! The Orioles may not fly high, but at least their feet are off the ground!
Is it a hollow victory? Yes, but it shows that the team is on the right track. I mean, you’d expect so much considering all the talent they’ve amassed over the years through trades and the draft, but no one thought it would happen this year. Sure, Adley Rutschman made his highly anticipated debut in late May, but he hasn’t set the world on fire. His OPS+ is currently at 107, good but not great. Cedric Mullins has certainly not been the same player he was in 2021. Everyone just expected the Orioles to move on and focus on rebuilding in 2021, especially with John Means sidelined for so long.
But they really aren’t. Despite massive interest from multiple teamsthe Orioles apparently have lost interest in trading their star players apart from maybe Trey Mancini, but he is also one of the oldest players on the team’s roster and will be the most expensive player on the Orioles’ payroll, uncredited Chris Davis in 2023. Boy, that’s still hard to hear.
Do the Orioles have a shot at the playoffs this year? Not really! However, it’s nice to see a team with no championship ambitions going for it. We’ve become so used to teams selling the farm to keep reloading potential customers. It’s one of MLB’s biggest problems. At the start of the season, there are only about a dozen teams left with a real chance at a World Series title. Everyone knows this, so the teams that don’t have a chance have no reason to try to compete, other than to see if they can get prospects from some of their better, older players with expiring contracts. Sure, every once in a while a team will come out of nowhere to make a playoff run, but those are outliers. I mean, there’s literally only one team in MLB above .500 this year that went below .500 last season, the Minnesota Twins. That is it. The other teams know they can’t win a title, so they make like Oakland or Cincinnati and sell all their best players to fuel their endless cycle of rebuilding.
But not the Orioles. They march head-on into the daunting AL East, bracing for impact, but welcoming it. You can’t help but support them. Who doesn’t want to watch the birds take down the Yankees or Red Sox? Who wouldn’t want to see a sloppy group of twenty-somethings play the best baseball their team has seen in years? Who wouldn’t want the Orioles to put their fences back to prevent home runs and it works?!
The Orioles have been making money moves for a while now and I think it’s time we gave them a little credit. Maybe not respect yet, but honor where honor is due.