First off, let’s applaud the 2012 Baltimore Orioles. They overcame preseason doubters, empty seats, season long injuries, and the competition to make it to their first postseason since 1997. No one predicted this team would win 81 games, let alone amass a total of 93 victories during the regular season. They played with heart, guts, and determination unmatched by any other Orioles team in the last 15 years.
What makes this feat even more unbelievable, is the fact that they accomplished this with a lot less talent then other “high-priced” Major League teams who didn’t make the playoffs (the Angels and Dodgers come to mind). The Orioles lacked a true staff ace, a lead-off hitter, and a middle-of-the-order slugger (as no single Orioles player hit the 100-RBI mark). Throughout the course of their magical season, Baltimore mix-matched a roster of 52 different players, using Major League castoffs, Minor League veterans, and young, unproven rookies.
This was a TEAM effort in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, they came up a little short in their efforts to knock off the deep-pocket Yankees in the ALDS, but they made October baseball meaningful again in Baltimore….and for that we say Thank You!
Now to ease the pain, Baltimore REALLY needs the Ravens to come through and beat the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow afternoon. They will be a tough opponent as Dallas needs this win as much (if not more) than the Ravens do. Last week, in a battle of field goal kickers, the Ravens barely beat the Kansas City Chiefs 9-6. The Chiefs were able to run the ball at will on the Ravens for the entire first half of the game.
Dallas and running back, DeMarco Murray, will try to do the same this week, but the Ravens defense is a proud bunch and will be ready for the challenge. The Ravens are healthy, at home, and most importantly will be playing with a ‘chip’ on their shoulder. Look for the Ravens offense to come out firing fast and often this week. The Ravens receivers have ‘something to prove’ after dropping 5 perfectly thrown passes last week. I am expecting a big day from Joe Flacco and company tomorrow at M&T Bank Stadium.
For Baltimore, the baseball season usually ends by the start of Ravens’ training camp (or sooner). This season, Orioles baseball played on through week #6 of the NFL season. It’s now time to give the Ravens 100% of our focus again. Let’s hope these Ravens can return the favor and get us all the way to the Orioles next spring training in February. Now, wouldn’t that be the perfect scenario? For a two-sports town like Baltimore….isn’t that the way it ought to be?