Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Breathe Deep The Gathering Gloom

I should be working right now.

I have a pile of paperwork that isn't getting any smaller and a report that my boss wants yesterday staring me in the face and I just don't care. Why? Because barring a miracle the Orioles season will be over soon, possibly today, and that is all I can think about.

When the playoffs started there were two teams I had no problem with playing and beating and two teams that I felt like, if my team had to lose I wanted it to be to one of these teams. I was all for playing and beating the A's and the Angels. The A's because of all the drama between us this year and the Angels because it feels like they are trying to become the Yankees / Red Sox of the West. I wasn't as gung ho about facing the Tigers or the Royals. The Tigers because while they have spent money and they have had success they haven't won the World Series since the year after we did and because if ANY city could use something to rally around it is Detroit, and the Royals because they reminded me of the O's. Scrappy team with young talent, fighting to break through against some big money teams, a long playoff drought, and passionate fans. If the O's weren't in the playoffs I would have been the biggest Royals backer in the mid-Atlantic. But now things have changed...

It's a lot of little things that have me so distracted. The biggest thing is how close these games have been. Mental errors cost us Game 1 and Games 2 & 3 could've gone either way. I think I'd rather lose by 6 than by 1, because in the close losses you keep looking back and thinking "if we had just done this ONE THING we would've won". When you get blown out you just tip your cap and say "it wasn't our night" and move on. It still hurts to lose, but not nearly as much (at least not to me). But the bigger thing is how the Royals have been acting. I get that Jarrod Dyson is young and I know sports have changed from when I played and trash talking is commonplace but I was surprised that none of the veterans pulled him aside and told him to dial down the rhetoric. Even so, it wasn't nearly as hurtful to me as a fan as the shirt that Jeremy Guthrie had on in the post game press conference last night. In case you are the one fan who hasn't seen it, here it is:

It just feels like such a slap in the face to O's fans, especially since so many of us have been supportive of him even after he was traded to the Rockies a few years ago. I and other O's fans have interacted with him on Twitter and he has acknowledged the love we have continued to show him. I have to think he still has some friends on the O's roster. I know it is a business to the players and they don't have our passions for our teams but still that has to be a slap in the face to Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Chris Tillman, Nick Markakis and who knows who else. I think more than anything I am disappointed in him. I expected a guy who wears his faith as such a badge of honor to not slap a fan base in the face and he is a smart guy who knew exactly how we fans would react. Jeremy Guthrie lost a fan last night. I have no doubt that my statement is as impotent to him as the patron who declares "I will never shop here again" when they don't get what they want from a store, but it is what it is. I was a Jeremy Guthrie fan regardless of uniform because I saw him give everything he had every time he took the mound for my team. Last night he spat in my face.

If a miracle happens (and it could) I will be watching every inning of the World Series. If it doesn't, I will likely take a break from baseball for a while. I am sure with some distance from the season I will look back and have some good thoughts on what has so far been an incredible season and a resilient team that refused to believe what everyone outside of Baltimore thought about them. I will look at the preseason predictions and smile because pretty much no one thought we would be any good this year. But I will need a few weeks at least before I can accept perspective. It's too raw right now.

Like I said last night: The problem with living and dying with your team is that dying REALLY hurts.

But some deaths hurt worse than others.

EDIT: Guthrie has since come out and apologized "if anyone was offended" by his shirt. According to the Baltimore Sun, he also said:

"My positive feelings for the Charm City, O's organization, my former teammates and O's fans is well documented," Guthrie tweeted, according to the Sun. "Nothing I wore [Tuesday night] changes that."

According to the ESPN story that second tweet has since been deleted from Guthrie's Twitter account.

I guess it is up to those of us who were offended / bothered / saddened by the whole thing to decide if we think he meant it last night or this morning.

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