One of the things I’ve learned in doing this job for as long as I have – make that two jobs, actual sportswriter and fake bartender – is that fans like to complain almost as much as they like to cheer.
Heck, some like complaining more. That’s fine with me.
I want you to be engaged, so that I can still feed my family and all.
So, cheer, complain, bitch, moan, whatever, but keep real reading and fake tipping.
That’s my mantra.
Another thing I have noticed over the years is that Orioles fans are most engaged when the club is good or when it is incredibly awful.
Mid-level stinkage usually doesn’t cut it.
But astonishingly bad — the way the Orioles’ rotation was last year or the way the entire club is this season – well, that holds a certain level of intrigue. It’s like driving down the baseball highway and craning your neck just to see the Orioles offense crumpled on the shoulder.
I’m not judging. I can’t help myself, either.
I keep looking at ways to demonstrate how awful this year is.
Like this factoid: The Orioles are further out of fourth place (10 ½ games behind the Toronto Blue Jays) than 14 teams in the majors are out of first place. That includes the entire National League West.
Or this one: No major league team has scored fewer runs than the Orioles and only three teams have allowed more runs – that’s rather complete ineptitude.
I recently tripped over one of the most amazing stats I’ve ever uncovered, and, of course, it has to do with Baltimore’s continual whipping boy, Chris Davis.
So far this season, the tortured slugger has more strikeouts (86) than runs scored, singles, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, walks, hit-by-pitches and sacrifice flies combined (78). It is incomprehensible, but true – Davis has struck out more times this year than all the positive things he’s done offensively combined.
In a painful comparison, add those categories up for Manny Machado and you get 194 with 41 strikeouts; for Adam Jones it is 142 and 46 strikeouts; the struggling Jonathan Schoop is at 92 and 46.
My point here – and it’s not to kick Davis while he’s down — is that because things are so crazily abysmal, these Orioles are still interesting, albeit sadistically interesting.
To me, they’ll continue to be that way through July, until we see who they’ve traded and acquired, and then potentially again in August and early September, when the assumption is that a couple of those new players – and some current minor leaguers — will take the field at Camden Yards. And there may be extra intrigue in September, courtesy of a race against infamy and the most losses in franchise history.
Yet, because of that ineptitude, more and more fans have told me that they are having a hard time watching these guys this year. And, obviously, the home attendance reflects that.
So, I’m bringing this question to get your opinion. It was sparked in part by a discussion we had Thursday in the comments section.
Obviously, some fans will love and follow the Orioles no matter what. And some like to complain when things are bad, but don’t really pay much attention anyway.
Then there is most everyone else in this fan base, energized when the Orioles are good and disgruntled when they are bad. This question is primarily directed at those of you in that group.
Tap-In Question: What do these Orioles have to do in 2018 to keep you interested?