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Reflections on the 2012 Baltimore Orioles

The true impact of the 2012 Baltimore Orioles won’t be known for several years. What felt like the return of Major League Baseball to Charm City could turn out to be a remarkable run of good fortune. Whether the Orioles simply got lucky, as suggested by Bobby Valentine and Keith Law, or have evolved into a legitimate contender remains to be seen.

As a lifelong Orioles fan, the 2012 season was glorious from start to finish. The O’s incredible ability to win one-run and extra-innings games created a sense of confidence that permeated throughout the ballclub and the fan base. It’s been said that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher; for the 2012 Orioles, momentum was last night’s game-winning hit.

The job of keeping the positive energy on the Orioles’ side resides with Dan Duquette and Buck

Photo of Dan Duquette taken from Google Images

Showalter. I was critical of Duquette’s hiring , and his offseason moves, but the veteran front office man fielded an entertaining, ever-changing, winner. The ability of Duquette and Showalter to expertly manipulate the 25 man roster gave the Orioles incredible depth and roster flexibility. The question now, as the Orioles search for offensive upgrades at first and second base, and left field, is whether or not Duquette will sacrifice that flexibility to sign high-cost free agents.

Peter Angelos, the Orioles’ long-time embattled owner, spoke glowingly of the club following the postseason run. He even threw down the gauntlet at the New York Yankees saying that the Orioles would be back next year. Now Angelos must allow Duquette the free reign over baseball operations that was denied so many front office men before him. The Orioles don’t have to break the bank to be a contender in 2013, but if Duquette wants to make a run at Josh Hamilton or Nick Swisher to improve an offense that stagnated in the playoffs, Angelos should let him.

The 2012 season held special meaning for me because my children, ages 6 and 3, really got into baseball this season. Every night before bed, we would watch the previous day’s highlights on the Major League Baseball Ipad app. My daughter watched Manny Machado take a shaving cream pie to his face 17 nights in a row. We went to the ballpark for Game 1 of the American League Division Series versus the Yankees, the whole family covered in orange and black from head to toe, my daughter screaming “Let’s Go O’s” at the top of her lungs while my son waved an orange rally towel high above his head. This season reminded Baltimore what was great about baseball. The sense of community and civic pride, warm hot dogs and cold beer, late-inning heroics, sunshine on a summer afternoon, family bonding on a chilly autumn night; the Orioles gave us all of those things in 2012. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to do it again in 2013.

How many days until spring training?

Dan Soderberg is a Baltimore native and lifelong Orioles fan. You can read some of Dan’s other work at http://dadstimeout.tumblr.com/ Follow Dan on Twitter @dadstimeout

 

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