They are kings with clubs. They are wizards on the diamond. The pitchers are throwing like aces. They show a ton of heart no matter what the score. And they are gathering up wins in spades.
Today it’s twenty-one, like a great hand in blackjack, the Orioles are that many games over .500.
Twenty-one. A nine-game division lead. Ten games left to go in August. Thirty-six games left in the season. Thirty-one years since their last World Series.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, or maybe it’s OK to dream. There’s a lot of baseball left to play, and this IS BASEBALL, so anything can happen. The soap opera which plays out over six months is just that, a soap opera, with more twists and turns, ups and downs than any heart should have to endure. Yet we do. And this year, you might be starting to believe.
I know I am. Though I’m scared, anxious and giddy all at the same time. Got to keep a level head, don’t get carried away, because danger could lurk at every turn. But then I think, why shouldn’t I enjoy a ride this big? Why shouldn’t I savor every moment?
It’s been a long time since the O’s have had such a huge cushion in the division, won so many series, been this dominant. And it’s not like they are getting in anybody’s face, or taunting, or showing bravado…it’s a workman-like effort, led by a stoic, well-prepared, if not brilliant manager. If Buck Showalter teaches us anything, it’s all about preparation, it’s about sticking with the hot hitter who’s thriving, (so keep him thriving), it’s about defense and pitching and it’s about taking it slow and easy, because victory in every game, one game at a time, laser focus on the task in front of you, adds up to victory. And there is nothing quite like a view from the top.
It’s a good place to be, then again, it’s a lot like life. Every day a new adventure – be prepared, be disciplined, work hard to ride high, face every challenge and don’t forget where you came from because if you take it for granted, it can all be stripped away from you… and fast.
Back on May 31st the Orioles were a game below. 500, now they are the beasts of the East, having just completed a sweep of the White Sox in Chicago with Orioles fans nearly outnumbering the Sox fans in the stands.
And just wait until they hit Wrigley field. Up next, the Cubs. Three day games in one of baseball’s greatest meccas – it’s hard not to get excited. It’s hard to keep working tomorrow afternoon without one ear to the radio, one eye on the TV, and the other on the stats on my iPhone. It’s not even the post-season… yet… but the orange and black is riding a wave like few of us have seen and some of those much younger have never seen from this team. And I know for me, the memories of those great teams come trickling back now, making me feel like a kid again. That is baseball.
So I will enjoy the ride with my heart beating fast, whether in my chest or in my throat, hoping for the great play, the big at-bat or trying to survive the ninth inning drama of another game hanging in the balance. It’s a beating I’m willing to take to see my team go all the way. It’s baseball, it’s life, and while it might not be part of my Why… it’s part of my life, so like the O’s slogan from ’89, Why Not?
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
Mark Brodinsky, Author, Huffington Post Blogger, Financial Services
The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
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