My home team, the Baltimore Orioles, have just traded away one of their strongest pitchers, Andrew Cashner to the Red Sox, for a pair of unknown 17 year-old “prospects.” Holy cow. I know they’re at the front end of rebuilding a losing team, but would it hurt to win a few games along the way? You know, balance things out by keeping a few really good players during the rebuild, instead of pinning their hopes on unknowns who may or may not develop into something two or three (or four) years down the road?
I read in the paper this morning that the O’s had an option to keep Cashner through 2020. He’d only just come on board in February of 2018. Damn, damn and double damn. Maybe they’ll trade away Trey Mancini as well? That way, they’ll lose both their best pitcher and their best hitter. What the hell, they might as well? Bring on the 17 year-old unknown prospects from the Dominican League. Who needs a winning team now? That beautiful stadium is gonna get pretty empty if the losses keep piling up.
The truth, is that the Orioles have everything but pitching. So what do they do? They dump a guy who is arguably their strongest pitcher. I am beyond unhappy. All those years in L.A. ignoring the Angels and the Dodgers. Then, I come back and buy into supporting my old team, the O’s. This is what happens when you allow yourself to become emotionally invested in a sports franchise – not a local team, mind you, a local business enterprise. Ah, the folly of mixing human tribalism with free trade!
For me though, it goes beyond even that. The Orioles were my alternative to politics and Trump. Something to focus on other than the daily political madness. And now the guys managing the team have left me with nothing. I can’t stay with a team that does something as mindless as booting Cashner for a couple of unknown teenagers. But what the hell, I’m only a fan. Even though I was “christened” an O’s fan by Orioles’ superfan Wild Bill Hagy himself, who placed an O’s cap on my head with his very own hands back in 79. I’ve been stuck on the Orioles ever since.
Don’t know if you ever heard how Wild Bill left the Orioles? He would always bring a cooler of beer to the stadium for his friends in section 34. Stadium managers decided to stop fans from bringing beverages to the games, including Wild Bill, who kept bringing in his cooler anyway. When they told Bill that either his cooler would have to go or he’d have to leave, Bill got angry and threw the cooler down onto the field and left, never to return except for an appearance when Cal Ripkin broke the record for most consecutive games played. The “roar from 34” has never been the same.
Hagy, a cab driver from Arbutus, is in the Orioles Hall of Fame. The people who manage the O’s get kudos for that. But not for trading away Cashner during a rebuild when what they really need is better pitching. Makes no sense. None at all. But then, what do I know? Could be their computers are spitting out some magic formula for winning at some point down the road? A formula that involves dumping the best they’ve got and betting on what? That their fans will still be there win or lose?
(William Grover “Wild Bill” Hagy died at his home in Arbutus, in 2007 – RIP)