The year that was…

Written by on January 4, 2012 in Orioles - No comments

The Orioles finished last (again!) in the AL East with a 69-93 record. But there were some good things to say about the season, and some hopeful signs along with the pratfalls, injuries and dropped games. So let’s take a last look at 2011 before we head toward spring training and the 2012 season.

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January 29, 2011… FanFest… You could feel a different vibe at FanFest. After a strong finish to the 2010 season, the Orioles made some moves to bring in players like Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, and Kevin Gregg to help keep them moving in the right direction. The atmosphere was very optimistic at FanFest 2011, and everyone was excited to get the season started.

February 18, 2011… O’s sign Vlad – After denying reports of talking with big time hitter Vladimir Guerrero, Orioles’ VP of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail signed the free agent slugger, giving Baltimore another big bat in the lineup.

April 3, 2011… Starting the year with brooms – Starting their season out on the road against the eventual wild-card winning Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore earned the sweep and allowed only one run in each game as they outscored the Rays 12-3 over the three-game series.

April 4, 2011? Home Opener… Baltimore came home in first place with their 3-0 record and faced off against the Detroit Tigers in front of a sellout crowd. Jake Arrieta pitched well and Brian Roberts hit a three-run homer as Baltimore won 5-1.

April 9, 2011: The start of things to come… Baltimore won the first game of their doubleheader against the Texas Rangers before dropping the nightcap 13-0. That loss was the beginning of an eight-game losing streak.

May 16, 2011: B-Rob’s Finale- After the Orioles lost to the Boston Red Sox 8-7, Brian Roberts went on the disabled list, where he would spend the rest of the season.

June 4, 2011: Reynolds Grand Slam – Mired in a miserable slump, Mark Reynolds fixed all of that with one swing. With the Toronto Blue Jays up 3-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, Reynolds came up with the bases loaded, and took care of business with one swing as he hit a grand slam to put the O’s up for good, 5-3.

June 28, 2011: Not again! Baltimore lost three games to eventual World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Then they lost two out of three to the Atlanta Braves. Then they lost nine in a row and when it was all said and done, they posted a record of 7-19 for June to completely kill any hope for the season.

July 12, 2011: Wieters becomes an All Star…Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters was selected to represent the Orioles in the 2011 All Star Game, and deserved every bit of his nomination. Wieters went 0-1 in the game but truly was an All Star.

August 31, 2011: Baltimore Trades Gonzo… Finally, putting the fans out of their misery, Baltimore traded reliever (and I use that term loosely) Mike Gonzalez to the Texas Rangers for Pedro Strop. The trade came a little under two years too late.

September 28, 2011: The O’s World Series… With Boston in town and needing to win to force a tiebreaking game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore found themselves down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning and facing star closer Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon struck out the first two batters, but then gave up a double to Chris Davis. That was followed by another double off the bat of Nolan Reimold to tie the game with a man on second. With the crowd on its feet and yelling, second baseman Robert Andino lined a single to left field which scored Reimold and knocked Boston out of the playoffs. “End of season like this, to make Boston go home sad, crying, I’ll take it all day,” said Dino after the game.

Here’s hoping for more moments like the last at Camden Yards this hear. Looking forward to Fan Fest on January 21. Pitchers and catchers report in a little over a month. Here’s hoping for better times in 2012!

by Andy Mindzak
birds@baltimoreguide.com

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