Orioles Twitter was a bit of a roller coaster this week. In this early portion of the season, fans are up and down – and drastically so. And I get that. Being a sports fan can be emotionally complicated. Specifically, the constant tug-of-war between optimism and pessimism can drive a person insane. In 2011, I was sure that the Orioles would begin to turn the corner, and lift themselves up from their position as the butt of every MLB joke. Instead, their record was even worse than the year before, and I officially lost hope. Going into 2012, I predicted the Orioles would lose 100 games, and spent the rest of that magical summer nervously watching for that other foot to drop.
The end of the 2014 campaign was tough, because I thought it was the Birds’ best chance to make it to the World Series during this window of competitive baseball (in fact, I still feel this way). Since that “so close I could taste it” summer, I viewed Orioles baseball through the lens of watching the orange sand slip through the hourglass. How much longer can they hold on to the good years?
This led to an admittedly less pleasant 2016 fan experience. I became easily frustrated with the team, more pessimistic during games, and took losses harder. Looking back, I think I was steeling my heart away against disappointment.
This, my friends, is no way to experience baseball.
I needed a break. I took the offseason, well… off. I didn’t follow the team as closely as I had in years past. We recorded fewer episodes than we might have (hey – we don’t promise “weekly” outside the season!), and my blogging ground to a halt.
When January arrived, I got the familiar itch, but I cautioned myself not to fall into the trap of negativity that had plagued me in the 2016 season. I care (too) passionately about the wins and losses. And there will be times when I blow my stack this season; I lack the self-control to promise otherwise. But I’m going to save the freak outs for deserving moments. That’s right, I’m trying something unprecedented in 2017: Proportional Fan Response.
When I look back on 2017, I hope I remember that I enjoyed a good season. Whether or not the Orioles cap off this window of competitive baseball with a World Series victory, I agree with Buck – we’ll look back and realize that these were the good old days.
So try to enjoy it everyone. Yes, you can freak out on social media, but we know what this team is about. Know that Ubaldo Jimenez is going to blow some incredible leads. Expect that the defense will occasionally disintegrate before our very eyes. Make peace with the fact that the offense will go cold for long stretches. And remember to stop and enjoy the good times.
We’re seven games into the season. Now is the time to fool ourselves into thinking we can be rational human beings.