Despite the fact that Scott and I open the mics and talk into the void of the internet for an hour(ish) each week, we really don’t like talking about ourselves. Bird’s Eye View is a venture where we share our thoughts and feelings on the Orioles, and connect with other fans. To pull a Carly Simon, this song simply isn’t about us. Which is why I have to beg your indulgence for the first couple paragraphs of this post.
We are incredibly flattered to have been nominated for the 2014 Mobbies, which recognizes great local online content creators (and us, apparently). Up for Best Pro Sports Blog and Best Twitter Account, it is clear we don’t stand a chance. But, we would like to thank the folks that nominated us, and hope that this little corner of the internet continues to be a fun space to gather baseless opinion and a lack of insight on the Orioles.
The Mobbies’ theme this year is the 1990s. Whereas the fact that the 90s are far enough behind us to generate nostalgia is depressing to this 30-something blogger, I’m intrigued by the Mobbies’ quesion: what would you bring back from the 90s? While the easy answer is a music television channel that actually plays music videos… that’s not what we do here at Bird’s Eye View.
Fine. We’ll follow the rules. We’ll make this about baseball. What would I bring back from the 90s? I would put the genie back in the bottle, and bring back baseball free of cynicism.
Sure, my memory of baseball in the 90s may be colored by the fact that I was a kid, and kids view the world with lenses that have yet to be disappointed by the world around them. But I don’t think being a kid had anything to do with being able to enjoy baseball in the 1990s without a healthy dose of cynicism.
Baseball fans at large put their heads in the sand and ignored the growing signs of a serious PED problem within Major League Baseball. Anyone who experienced the ludicrous McGwire/Sosa home run chase to 62 (then 70, and then a million) remembers that we watched the power surge without really thinking that something was wrong.
Those times are gone. Fans are determined not to be fooled again. They won’t abide some juiced-up athlete cheating their way to break records set by the sport’s demigods. To be honest, the reactionary sanctimony is silly, and anyone who won’t admit it is selling you something. But the collateral damage is that we’ve lost the ability to believe in anyone.
Can you image if Ken Griffey Jr. had begun his career in the aughts (00s), rather than 1989? We wouldn’t be able to watch his sweet swing or wall climbing catches without the inevitable “… I sure hope he’s clean.”
What would we have suspected about Randy Johnson’s unending heat? Or Nolan Ryan’s ability to keep his arm attached to his body while pitching deep into his 40s? We’d hope they were clean – but we’d never know. Through all the moments that wowed us, the doubt would lurk, barely contained beneath the surface of our enthusiasm.
The innocence of the 1990s has nothing to do with being a kid. It has everything to do with the fact that chemists and doctors are now major players in the game we love. The game we teach our kids. The game whose emerging stars are, though far removed for the Mitchell Report, will never be above suspicion.
Which is a shame. There is a lot to love about baseball today – here in Baltimore, and the game at large. If I could bring back one thing from the 90s, it would be watching baseball without having to worry about being let down. When I watch Mike Trout doing Mike-Trout-Things or (closer to home, and the heart) Manny Machado, I find myself wishing the genie back into the bottle, but knowing we’ve lost the cap.