Watching my beloved Baltimore Orioles take on the villainous Jan-Kees of Neue Amsterdam in the first two games of the 2012 American League Divisional Series has been scarcely believable, like those dreams you sometimes have where you’re a grown-ass adult with graduate degrees but yet find yourself back at your high school sweating on a final exam for an Advanced Placement Spanish class for which you were registered but never attended.
You don’t even know where the classroom is, but you do know that your chance of performing well on this final is roughly equal to the square root of fuckall. Passing the class will determine whether you’ll get to go to the college from which you’ve already graduated, so the pressure is enormous. It’s made worse by the constant chorus of “ARRRGH THIS IS BULLSHIT, I COMPLETED HIGH SCHOOL IN 1999!” that grows and grows until it snaps you out of your retro nightmare with a refreshing combination of cold sweat and mental exhaustion.
That’s how I’m feeling watching this iteration of the Os, back in the playoffs for the first time since 1997 when they were dumped out of the AL Championship Series by the aforementioned yánquis and a little twelve-year old shithead named Jeffrey Maier.
To put it charitably, I haven’t kept up with the Orioles for a while. I even had a misguided grad school flirtation with the Boston Red Sox but hey, it could have been meth and METH IS THE DEVIL, you guys.
Wait what? No, that’s just what I heard… Nuh-uh, my body is a temple. Whatever I don’t care what you think anyway!
/runs to another room
When I last paid attention to this team, Mike Mussina was in the starting rotation and Cal Ripken, Jr. had just made his eleventy billionth consecutive appearance at shortstop. Who are these new guys, these upstarts coached by a former Yankees manager? Their uniforms look legit, kickin’ it way back to their last World Series® victory in 1983 when I was an infant and not mature enough to care about the outcome of meaningless sporting events.
I haven’t had any real connection to the mid-Atlantic area since the Clinton administration; the instinct to cheer all out for those Birds at every pitch never died, but it sure was dormant. Until recently, like less than a week ago, I could not have named two players on this Os team. That is shameful and has already been rectified. See, look: The O’s starting pitcher for Game Three tonight will be the 28-year old rookie (to ‘Merican baseball anyway) Miguel González from Guadalajara, Messico. The internets told me so, and they never lie about anything.
I blame Peter Angelos (the bottom-feeding owner of the Orioles) for my coveting of other mens’ base ball teams, because he demolished my Os through bad front office moves and later was content to make a profit fielding uncompetitive teams, living off Major League Baseball’s soshulist revenue-sharing schemes, and transparently extorting the league and the Washington
Expos Nationals with the full power of baseball’s antitrust exemption for a cut of the Nationals’ TV deal.
Deep down I think Mr. Angelos is annoyed that his Orioles punched above their weight all season, because now there’ll be a reasonable expectation that he’ll spend money to make the team a contender next season. He knows better than anyone how expensive it is (on average) to build a superior ball club and he’d almost certainly make more dough by allowing the Orioles to recreate the hapless Cleveland Indians in the film Major League every year until he dies of acute douchebaggery.
The Orioles take on the Yankees in the third game of a best-of-five series tonight from the palatial new Yankee Stadium in scenic The Bronx, New York City. First pitch is scheduled for 7:37pm Eastern time. Unless you were born & raised in the tri-state area you should root for the Os. If not, you’re just a ME-FIRST GLOREE BOY and I will hunt you down, tie you up, and tickle you with Oriole feathers until you are dead.