Something magic REALLY did happen.
A team that for nearly a generation had failed to finish over the .500 mark suddenly made believers out of Baltimoreans who long ago labeled the Orioles nothing more than a welcomed distraction until Ravens training camp.
The numbers were staggering.
* 76-0 when leading after 7 innings
* 16 consecutive extra inning wins
Many times I counted them out. After any 2-game losing streak there it was, lingering in the back of my mind – here comes that annual downward spiral.
But it never came. Time after time after time this club got up after a knockdown, dusted off and then went back to work.
The resiliency of Buck Showalter’s team was simply O’mazing.
And then last night it came to an abrupt end.
After the O’s failed to capitalize on their 8th inning bases loaded situation when they had CC Sabathia on the ropes, I went into what I refer to as, “decompression mode.” It’s a place I go to, to help me cope with the pending disappointment. It’s where I spent the month of February after the Ravens loss in the AFCC Game.
But this was different.
Maybe it has to do with my expectations for the O’s when they started the 2012 campaign. I actually had them down for triple digit losses. I didn’t believe.
Thankfully they did, the team did – in themselves and in each other.
So decompression didn’t last long because at the end of the night I looked at the loss not as a setback, not as a numbing defeat, but as a stepping-stone to bigger and better things in 2013.
Back during the last game of the 1999 season, the Ravens had a chance to make the playoffs for the first time if they could beat the Patriots on the road. That didn’t happen but the team used the loss to fuel their motivation, build their resiliency and set the stage for a more successful 2000 season.
The Orioles now have a chance to do the same thing. To once again dust off, learn from their 2012 experiences and take that next step.
To BUCK and his boys…thanks for providing us with an unexpected and sometimes surreal ride through the 2012 MLB Season. It was a blast and I’m glad you came.
You’ve provided lasting memories and you’ve reminded us how thrilling it is to experience playoff baseball again here in The Land of Pleasant Living.
Today we conclude a chapter, but the story is far from over.
BUCKle UP for 2013!
Spring Training is just 128 days away.
(Enjoy the video…I know I did)