The Baltimore Browns? What happened to my Orioles?
I started writing this post with the Orioles down 10-2 in the third inning of the second game of a doubleheader. Hooray! They’re now within 10-6 after a home run off the bat of Oscar Salazar, a 30-year-old with 57 career major league at bats entering the contest. The “kids” are gonna be alright.
If the Birds lose this game, it will mark their 82nd loss of the 2008 campaign, ensuring an 11th consecutive losing season for the team unofficially known nationally as the “once proud” Orioles. Considering I was born early in Baltimore’s 17-year run of winning years, that’s painful. Pirates fans deserve their misery for the unfair joys they experience in 1971 & 1979, but I’m accustomed to the glorious O’s, not some bumbling outfit that belongs in a big league glory hole.
You see, the way I understand the story, Baltimore welcomed the godawful St. Louis Browns in 1954 and –in just over a decade- the American League’s perennial doormats largely outgrew their pedigree of shame and ineptness. The Browns, in business from 1902-1953, lost 100 or more games eight times (before the schedule increased to 162 games) and managed one measly pennant…in 1944…when a good chunk of the league was away fighting World War II.
However, it chills me to realize that the Browns longest string of losing seasons was 12 straight years (1930-1941). Full disclosure forces me to note that after winning more than they lost three times in four years from 1942-1945 with the war in full swing, the Brownies wrapped up their time in St. Louis with eight more losing seasons, and three more after they set up shop in Baltimore. If Pearl Harbor hadn’t happened, they may have been losers for more than a quarter-century straight!
But they weren’t. A dozen years without a winner was as bad as it got for Browns fans, though they had to stomach long stretches of bottoming out such as 316 total losses from 1937-1939. The Orioles aren’t as historically bad, but if they don’t get over .500 next year, they’ll have 12 straight years of suckitude to call their own. Andy, Dave & the boys: don’t let it happen to us!