People who know that before entering the ministry I worked for the Baltimore Orioles and that I’m still very much an Oriole fan may be wondering why I haven’t commented on the fact that they are now running neck and neck with the New York Yankees atop the American League East.
The reasons for my silence are rather complex, but let me try to explain. First of all, as one who has suffered through fourteen straight losing seasons with “them Birds,” I have to admit that I’ve been holding my breath throughout the summer in anticipation of another collapse, like the ones that have occurred in recent years after the Orioles have got off to a good start. I was enjoying it while it lasted.
And then it looked as if it were going to happen again, when the O’s started falling off the pace in mid-season and soon found themselves ten games behind the red-hot Yankees. Meanwhile, the pesky Tampa Bay Rays were hanging tough, and Oriole fans like me were thinking, “Here we go again!”
|Adam Jones hits an 11th inning two-run homer on|
September 19 to give the Orioles a win over the
Seattle Mariners and their 15th straight extra-inning
victory. (Ted S. Warren AP Photo)
So why not write about it? Having been an Episcopalian for thirty-one years before realizing that I was predestined to become a Presbyterian, I must confess that I have never completely lost touch with my Anglican roots. Many Episcopalians like me are a bit superstitious, although we won’t admit it. So we resort to various euphemisms, like not wanting “to tempt fate” or “to presume we can know how the future will unfold” or “to impose our will on God.”
But all baseball players are superstitious, and as a former player as well as an erstwhile Episcopalian, I didn’t want to jinx the Orioles by glowing about how well they are doing. And as a committed Presbyterian I certainly do not believe in gloating about it! Not that my writing about it would precipitate a disastrous losing streak, but too often it just seems to work out that way.
So I’ve held off—until now! Regardless of what happens the rest of the way, the O’s have given their long-suffering fans something to cheer about. Whether or not they win their division or secure a wild card berth, it has been an amazing season for the Baltimore Birds. And Buck Showalter has my vote for “Manager of the Year” for the way he has turned around a team that with a few exceptions is made of up no-names, has-beens, yet-to-be’s, with players coming and going throughout the season, including a parade of twenty-six pitchers!
So, allow me to put in writing what I’ve holding back for too long:
GO, ORIOLES, AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!