Wednesday was a hard day in Birdland. The rumors of Tuesday turned to doubts Wednesday morning, with headlines that the trade of Manny Machado was far from a done deal. I’d almost come to terms with the fact that Baltimore’s Beloved Manny would be going to Los Angeles, but the gut-wrenching fear that he could still end up in one of my not-favorite teams started all over again.
A little after 7 pm Wednesday night, however, it finally became official: Manny Machado had been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for Manny. He deserves a better team. But I’m sad for Baltimore and Orioles fans. We deserve a better team, too.
Manny Machado was supposed to be the second coming of Cal. The heir-apparent to Cal Ripken was signed in the first round of the 2010 draft. He played a handful of games in 2010 in the rookie leagues and short season A before being assigned to the Orioles low- and high-A affiliates in 2011. He spent most of 2012 in double-A before being promoted to the Orioles on August 9, 2012. After that point Manny and O’s fans never looked back (except for the 3-game rehab stint with the Frederick Keys in 2014).
Baltimore loved Manny. We still do. That’s why its so hard to say goodbye.
I was irritated with the O’s in 1992 when they released Billy Ripken, but I understood. I was sad in 2001 when Cal retired, but he’d earned it. I was annoyed in 2013 when the O’s traded Jake Arrieta, but I got over it. I was mad in 2014 when the they failed to re-sign Nick Markakis, but I forgave. I was angry when they traded or failed to resign prospect after prospect, but each time I let it pass. But this time, I’m furious.
This time it feels like the team that we’ve stood by for the last three decades, while they pulled themselves up from their 54-107 1988 season (which included that 21-game losing streak through most of April) really doesn’t care about the fans. The astounding lack of decent pitching, while constantly signing outfielders, is bad enough. Signing aging guys who were good on other teams is annoying. Constantly bringing guys up and sending them down again is frustrating. But trading Manny away is almost enough to make me give up on them once and for all. It might very well be unforgivable.
This time, the Orioles are going to have to work really hard to make it up to us – as well as to the remaining players. Because they deserve better, too. Yes, we still have Adam and Jonathan and Trey. But don’t they deserve to play on a good team, too?
Have the Orioles relied on the fans’ good will for too long? Has it become painfully obvious that they never loved us, like we loved them? Is it time to break up with them once and for all?
Its definitely time for a break. At least for the next few months, I’m totally a Dodgers fan.
Next year, I might have to follow the Yankees. (That’s how mad I am.)