Friday, August 24, 2007

The Baltimore Orioles make history again!

110 years is a long time.

In the past 110 years, the Ottoman Empire and its Muslim Caliphate were dissolved, two World Wars involving over 100 nations in toto were fought and decided, 20 U.S. Presidents have passed through the White House, six of whom were shot and two of whom were killed (the West Wing was not built until ~1909), the first production automobiles were sold (590 million now exist globally), powered flight and the escalator were invented, man harnessed the atom, narcotics were stigmatized internationally, world population increased four-fold, and humankind stepped foot on an astronomical body 240,000 miles away---the Moon---six times.

Nope, it's not a typo.

Perhaps it's somewhat less consequential, but do you know what else happened 110 years ago? A Major League Baseball team, for the first time in history, scored more than 30 runs in a single game. This rapacious feat was performed by the Chicago Colts against the hapless Louisville Colonels in 1897, with a final score of 36-7. Notice how you've never heard of either of these teams. So, how many teams since have scored 30 or more runs in a single game? Well, as of Wednesday, August 22, 2007, one.

That team would be the Texas Rangers, a team 15 games below .500 and with the 4th worst win percentage in the entire League, when they came back from a three-run deficit to beat my hometown team, the Baltimore Orioles, with a final score of 30-3 in Camden Yards, the O's home field. Loooong sigh. If I had known in advance, by divination or by Biff's anachronistic sports almanac, that an unknown baseball team would lose a game that night by 27 runs, I most certainly would have put my money on that team being my fucking Orioles. For a team that's spent nearly half a billion dollars on player salaries (actual > $400M) in the past decade, this shit will not pass.

It's only natural that the enfeebled, incapable Orioles were on the losing end of such a record. We always manage to outdo our own mediocrity somehow. Like it's not enough to have an entire decade of consecutive losing seasons. Like it's not enough to have an autocratic tyrant for an owner. Like it's not enough for the team to not have even reached the World Series in 24 years. Like it's not enough for the Orioles to hold the record for the most consecutive losses at the beginning of a season (1988). Like it's not enough for the Orioles to have had 6 different managers in the last decade. Sure, if it was opposite year the Orioles would be in great fucking shape. But we don't live in opposite town, and opposite year was 1989 ("Why Not?!"). How could all these comedies of error not be the end of Lord Mephistopheles' (pictured below) artful machinations? How could schadenfreude knows such infinite depths? After this game, I am utterly convinced that the Orioles are damned to persist indefinitely in underachievement or, perhaps by some grace, will finally achieve obsolescence and demise. Truly, for Orioles fans, the end is extremely fucking nigh.

One of Mephistopheles' fiendish doppelganger minions. And he hates steamed crabs.

In case I haven't yet been able to fully evoke the magnitude, rarity, and historic relevance of this defeat, allow me to try to put it in context:

  • The Orioles could have scored 27 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning, only to tie the game and go into extra innings.

  • The last time a baseball team scored this many runs, the Civil War was a more recent event than the Vietnam War is now.

  • The first American League no-hitter was pitched in 1902, 5 years later, by the Chicago White Stockings. 234 no-hitters have been pitched in all, and 17 of those were perfect games.

  • In 1897, the Cy Young Award would not be awarded for another 59 years.

  • 22 years after the Chicago Colts' victory, Jackie Robinson is born in Cairo, Georgia.

  • At the time of the 36-run game, the Louisville Colonels had a budding young shortstop on the roster named Hognus Wagner.

  • The knuckleball would not debut in the MLB for another 11 years.

  • And lastly... the first subatomic particle, the electron, was discovered that same year. It would be 35 years before the neutron was discovered and high school students would need to start worrying about p's, e's, and n's outside of the alphabet.
Sadly, this unfortunately-historic game was the first in a double-header on Wednesday night. If the 30-3 loss wasn't enough---and "loss" doesn't quite convey the true absurdity of the event---the Orioles also lost the second game that night 9-7, meaning that the Rangers put up 39 runs to the Orioles' 10 in a single night. When put in that perspective, the Rangers may as well have beaten the record for all I care.

Kevin Millar has never seen a ball hit that far that many times in so short a time. No one else alive today has either.

So how does this stack up against other baseball records? Well, it's quite difficult to compare these, right? How do you compare batting average with ERA records, or career no-hitters with career RBIs? Well, it seems there is one easy way to do so, and that is rarity. The less likely something is, the more of a feat it becomes. Sure, specific circumstances determine some records, like unassisted triple plays. But not this one. This game represents not only the unmitigated implosion of one team, but also the sudden impulse and collective synergy of the opposing team in response. Indeed, that is a rare thing. And 110 years is a long time.


F.J. Delgado said...

A wonderful analysis of the Orioles utter and absolute ineptitude. At least we're stashing some high draft picks, and maybe the misery will end in another decade or two.

Brice Lord said...

I'm not sure the Orioles can withstand another decade of this. Or put more bluntly, I don't think the fans can withstand another... I'd say much of the very forgiving fanbase is starting to give up. Thanks Angelos, thanks for everything.

Anonymous said...

On this page you can find variety of sports content, in which you can choose your favorite sport and enjoy the maximum, if you know more about sports visit ...

The best place for mlb tv, direct tv mlb, 2007 mlb rumor trade. For more information visit: