The Orioles turning point
The Baltimore Orioles look like they will finally end their long streak of losing seasons… not just that but they are probably going to make the playoffs. The Orioles are one of the hottest teams in the league since the All-Star break and find themselves in the hunt for first place in the AL East.
The thing I am going to do with this post is look to when the Orioles actually started turning things around. There are a lot of key moments that we can point to, like the signing of Buck Showalter. Some fans may point to the hiring of Dan Duquette, who has been nothing but amazing.
Andy MacPhail helped lay the foundation for the Orioles years before seeing success. Another moment may have been when silent leader Nick Markakis had a one-on-one meeting with owner Peter Angelos about the state of the team when he was fed up with the lack of moves.
On the field I look to one moment. The Kevin Gregg versus David Ortiz fight, years ago I said that the Orioles would need to get in a big fight with the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees to show they are not going to be bullied anymore. The Tampa Bay Rays got in a fight with the Red Sox in their break out year. Watch the video
Since the fight with the Red Sox in 2008 the Rays have done nothing but win. They went from last place to constant contender.
Remember last season? Enter Kevin Gregg, Gregg has been one of the least favorite Orioles among fans but give credit where credit is due. He made a stand against the Red Sox that no one else would have made. Ortiz blasted a home run off Zach Britton earlier in the game and showed up Britton, who was a young rookie, by walking around the bases as slow as possible. Gregg pitches inside and does not come close to hitting him. Ortiz pops out and you can watch the rest.
Notice the Orioles that were highly involved in the fight, Jim Johnson and Matt Wieters, Two important Orioles and two All-Stars. Johnson and Wieters were both drafted and brought up by the Orioles. They did not want to take any more bullying from the Red Sox. After the game the Orioles got the worse of the suspensions, because charging the mound after popping up is not ok compared to pitching a little inside.
The Orioles were in the middle of a losing streak during that fight, fast forward to the end of last season. The Orioles met the Red Sox seven times in the final ten games of the season. This time the Orioles had the better of the Red Sox, beating them five games out of seven. The Orioles were the reason the Red Sox did not make the playoffs. Watch and see how the Orioles celebrated.
Since that faithful game the Orioles have not been below .500, they have turned the tide not just on the Red Sox but they Yankees as well. Orioles magic is alive and well, if I was to pick a single game that turned the Orioles around it would be the Gregg versus Ortiz game.