A Baltimore Orioles team does meh-to-great in the regular season. If they make it to the playoffs, they get demoralized by a "Cinderella" team that no one expected to be as epic as they were in the post-season. The Orioles team is jacked to the brims with talent, but has a few big free agents leaving. And during the off-season, some of the "heroes" of that squad sign elsewhere. The Orioles enter into the Winter Meeting period and don't really make too many moves, and fans start to panic--since the Yankees, Red Sox, and whomever else you want to throw out there have been spending money like it was going out of style, even snatching up (now-)former Orioles.
This happened in 1998 (1997 was the year they lost in the playoffs, 1998 was the year they lost a lot of players to free agency). And, a lot of Orioles faithful are panicking now that it's happening to a degree now. This off-season, the Orioles have missed out on many trades and free agent signings. They've also lost Nick Markakis (Atlanta), Andrew Miller (New York Yankees), and Nelson Cruz (Seattle). However, one thing sticks out to me that didn't happen in 1997 or 1998.
The Orioles, in the later-Andy McPhail and throughout the Dan Duquette years, haven't really gone all that crazy over "big, free-agent signings." Instead, they've opted to homegrow talent, trade for it when needed (Adam Jones, Chris Davis, etc.), and sign the ocassional "big name" when it fit. Markakis, I love the guy. But, he's a liability injury-wise with those neck injuries. Plus, as much as I respect him, I don't see him being worth as much as Atlanta paid for him. Miller was pretty much always going to be a rental. And Cruz, while amazing, can (at least on the power side) be replaced if Chris Davis finds his magic again (which he probably will, since he knows not to just swing all crazily now).
|2015: Crush Returns.|
|In Dan (and Buck, and Manny, and...) We Trust|
Will they win the division again? Only time will tell. But, I say this, fellow Orioles fans:
|Because Oriole Magic isn't just a one-time thing.|