Monday, August 5, 2019

Orioles Victory Card Number 38: Always look for the good things in a bad season

Baltimore Orioles Victory Number 38: 6-5 over the Toronto Blue Jays

2012 Topps Nolan Reimold

Even at their absolute best this season, the Baltimore Orioles will most likely lose 100 games. Despite a post All-Star break record that is reasonably ok, they struggled so much over the first three months that history will not remember this season fondly, kind of like 2011.

Pictured above is Nolan Reimold. Back in 2011, when the photo for this card was taken, he was in his third season with the Orioles, a 27-year-old outfielder who had shown some promise with a strong rookie year in 2009, but one who had struggled with injuries since then. The Orioles were struggling through their sixth consecutive 90+ loss season.

On the last day of the season they were playing the Red Sox for the seventh time in their last ten games. Boston was fighting with the Tampa Bay Rays for a spot in the wild card, but the Os had been a thorn in their side going 4-2 in their previous six match-ups. However, with a win and a Rays loss, Boston would still slip into the playoffs.

Enter Game 162, the greatest night in MLB regular season history.  We've gone over that night in previous posts (I'm pretty sure we did, but don't feel like looking it up). To sum it up, Nolan Reimold doubled in Kyle Hudson to tie the score in the ninth and then scored on Robert Andino's soft line-drive to left to win the game. Evan Longoria homered in the 12th down in Tampa to beat the Yankees and the Red Sox were eliminated.

That was a good moment in an otherwise disappointing season.

Yesterday, the Orioles had another one. They were hosting about 4,000 scouts from Great Britain, because that's what you do when there is a big international scouting convention in your city. The young boys and girls were situated in the left field stands and for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, but most likely due to proximity, they adopted leftfielder Anthony Santander as their favorite player. They roared in approval at any catch he made, cheered him as he threw balls into the stands, bought his jersey, and even came up with a soccer-style chant for him.

Did it mean anything to the final score? No. Did it mean anything in the grand scheme of the season? No. Was it something spontaneous and fun that happened around a sporting even? Yes.  That's what can be good about sports. Even in a dismal season something can happen that makes everyone happy. Santander got a kick out of it. The Orioles enjoyed it  (endorsing the kids as the official charter members of the Anthony Santander International Fan Club) and the fans enjoyed it.

Things will quickly delve back into negativity I'm sure (especially with the stretch of tough competition the Orioles face over the next ten days), but at least that memory will remain, in fact it may end up as one of the top moments of the year for the team.

So when people ask me why I watch sports, or why I pay attention to a team that is more than 30 games out of first place, I'll just send them a clip of Santander's smile hearing his name chanted by thousands of strangers. 

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