Orioles Looking To Make Another Run In 2013
By Paul Folkemer
It sounds too good to be true. But could both Baltimore's football and baseball teams play for a championship during the same calendar year?
The Ravens have already done their part by reaching Super Bowl XLVII. And if the Orioles have their way, they'll be playing for their first World Series in 30 years come October. If you ask them, in fact, they'll say they could've done it last year.
"I was very disappointed [with how last year ended] ," outfielder Lew Ford said of the Orioles' five-game American League Division Series loss to the New York Yankees, which ended their magical 2012 season. "I felt like that we could have won every game. I think all the other guys did, too.
"We were every bit as good as the Yankees were. That's how I felt about it. It's a long road to get back to that position again, but we've got a great group of guys here, and that's what we're all going to be striving for."
Several of Ford's teammates echoed his comments at FanFest.
"For me, I didn't watch the [AL Championship Series]," first baseman Chris Davis said. "I was upset about the way things ended up. We could've gone a lot farther. But we did a lot of positive things last year, and I think this offseason is really about looking ahead and being excited about what we have."
Utility man Ryan Flaherty chimed in, "We have a lot to feel good about last year, but at the same time there's a lot of unsolved business at the end of the year, so come into camp and get ready to go."
The Orioles hope their 93-win 2012 season will springboard them to even more success in 2013.
"Definitely, I think for the team it's kind of [carrying] over the momentum that we have," starting pitcher Zach Britton said. "Obviously we ended not how we wanted to, but we did a lot of great things last year as a team, and we're bringing back pretty much everybody."
Catcher Matt Wieters said he was excited as well, especially because most of the team remains intact from a year ago.
"The chemistry we had last year, we feel like we can keep that going into 2013," he said. "We're using last year as a starting point. We want to keep improving off that. It set the bar for us, and hopefully everybody comes back ready to go and hope we can improve on it."
Outfielder Nate McLouth agreed.
"Having a good portion of the team back -- almost everybody back -- from last year," he said, "the team that pushed the Yankees to the fifth game in the Division Series, that's a good team."
For several members of the Orioles' young core, 2012 represented their first postseason experience in the major leagues. That's a fact that shouldn't be discounted, outfielder Nick Markakis said.
"With the postseason, it's all experience and not getting caught up in the moment and just taking deep breaths and taking it pitch by pitch and out by out," he said, "and I think a lot of guys gained that. I gained a lot just being on the bench. We're looking forward to it, and hopefully we can get back to where we were and go a little further this year."
Outfielder Adam Jones said the O's would compete every day and put together another strong year in 2013.
"It's not going to be easy in 2013," Jones said, "due to the fact that the Blue Jays amped up, the Yankees are going to be good, the Red Sox are going to be good, so we're going to go out and compete. We proved that we can compete against any team."
Certainly the expectations for the Orioles are greater this season than they were a year ago, when many baseball pundits and fans predicted a last-place, lost-cause season for the Birds. But the Orioles insist even though the stakes have been raised, nothing has changed about how they'll play the game.
"[Last year] people may not have thought that we were supposed to win or anything, but we did," pitcher Steve Johnson said. "We felt we should. We felt we had the team to [win]. We proved a lot of people wrong. We have the same idea this year. People might say last year was a fluke, but we don't believe that. So there's no more pressure than there was last year to win each game we can."
And if all goes right, Baltimore sports teams will be looking at a clean sweep of the 2013 championships in the NFL and MLB.
Posted Jan. 22, 2013