Here's also hoping we don't see much of these horrible, horrible orange uniforms this season from the O's. Maybe the idea was to draw attention away from the O's mediocre pitching, mediocre lineup, and their destiny to finish, at best, fourth in the AL East. Unfortunately, it probably won't work. As depressing as it must be to be a D-Rays fan, I'd take them over the O's any day.
Here's what O's fans have to look forward to: a continually disgruntled Miguel Tejada; a Corey Patterson who's infinitely more valuable in fantasy lineups than in real-life lineups; 400+ at-bats for both Jay Payton and Kevin Millar, guys who will contribute next to nothing; guys in Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora who will most probably futilely struggle to regain their career year forms (2003 and 2004, respectively); a bullpen that can't possibly live up to their ridiculous contracts (they've committed $41.5 million over the next 3 years to Danys Baez, Jamie Walker, and Chad Bradford); a rotation consisting of erstwhile Yanks albatross Jaret Wright, oldster Steve Trachsel, youngster wildcards Adam Loewen and Daniel Cabrera, and a staff "ace" of Erik Bedard; and last, but certainly not least, 50+ games against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. Yikes.
The bright spots in Baltimore are considerably less numerous: Chris Ray has emerged as a potentially great closer (we all know how fleeting that kind of success can be, though); 23-year-old Nick Markakis came out of nowhere to have a pretty promising rookie effort last year; Brian Roberts may be more fully recovered from elbow surgery this year; Ramon Hernandez just may continue to be a really productive catcher; and Jay Gibbons reminds me of past fantasy baseball victories. Sadly, none of these things will fix a franchise that Peter Angelos has driven into the ground.
The bottom line is that the O's are moving in the wrong direction in the toughest division in baseball (I know Hawk Harrelson and many others will fight me on this, but I still would much rather play in the AL Central than the AL East), particularly when you consider that the Yanks, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and D-Rays are all getting better. The O's will be lucky to finish fourth this year. And that's just plain embarrassing. Where, oh where have you gone, Cal Ripken?