The 2020 Baltimore Orioles team will probably suck. In other news, grass is usually green and I still make decent mid-fi hip-hop (shameless plug). However, it wouldn’t be fun to just accept defeat for 162 games. People play the game to win, even if they fail to do so at a rate that’s “acceptable.”
Instead, I’d like to think of this year’s team as Why Not 2020? The Orioles are a plucky team who play better than their record indicates. They’re not world beaters, but they’re not as inept as the 2018 and 2019 seasons would indicate. They have taken better teams to the brink, even playing spoiler at times. That’s just the blue-collar nature of the team and the city they represent. These Orioles are gritty as hell, the epitome of “never say die” (even when they’re half past dead) and at least somewhat fun to watch.
Maybe I’m letting my hometown bias beam through but eff it. I’m a believer in the Mighty O, even when they are subpar.
Speaking of mighty, Chris Davis’ spring so far has been otherworldly—by late-career Chris Davis standards, mind you.
That ball is GONE 💣 pic.twitter.com/hqn1miXbqC— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) February 29, 2020
The 34-year-old has struck out just once headed into today’s match up with the Marlins. Out of the 17 plate appearances he’s gotten, he’s walked in six of them, hit during 5 of them, and collected three homers along the way. It’s too soon to say “CRUSH BACK”—especially considering these are still Spring Training games. Nevertheless, it’s fun to see Chris Davis turning back the clock a bit. As one of three Orioles left from the 2016 team (Mychal Givens and Trey Mancini are the other two), seeing Chris Davis perform at any level above his 2017-2019 levels is excellent.
Regarding the younger generation, things look bright. While we may not see Adley Rutschman cracking 30 homers in an O’s uniform this season, the minor league system is deeper than it’s been in a while. The fire sales the team went through in 2018 may start to present some results soon. I’m still not convinced on Yusniel Diaz being the outfielder of Baltimore’s future. Then again, being the centerpiece of the Manny Machado trade comes with its own set of pressures. Any sort of big league contribution—even something that’s a sliver of Manny’s time in Baltimore would be nice. Everyone can’t be a superstar.
I’m not expecting the minor league system to be GOAT status right off the bat. I do, however, see a good-to-great future there. Ryan Mountcastle included. Austin Hays as well. Richie Martin? Maybe with some Triple-A seasoning, he’ll add to his defensive abilities. All in all, I’m excited for the future.
For now, though, let’s just enjoy the ride there.
I mean, why not?