Without a team in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, we Phillies fans don’t quite know what to do with ourselves right now.
How do we act this month? What do we do with all this spare time? Do they still run regular television shows at night in October? How productive will we be at work this month without the nagging weight of migraine headaches and nervous ticks ravaging our bodies?
If you’re like me, you’re going to miss all those things over the next 30 days.
But have no fear! There is one team in baseball that Phils fans can and should be able to rally behind, if only because they harken back to one of the most beloved Phillies teams of all time.
The 2012 Baltimore Orioles are the 1993 Macho Row Phillies… only without the mullets and anabolic steroids.
(OK, that steroids thing is just speculation on my part, but someone’s going to have to explain to me how Lenny Dykstra, Darren Daulton and Dave Hollins all managed to have the two and three-year bursts of uber-production they had in the early ’90s.)
This comparison popped into my mind when Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra wrote this blog on the Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette. It seems as if Duquette is getting a lot of props for bringing players like Nate McLouth, Jim Thome, Omar Quintanilla, Randy Wolf and Joe Saunders on board.
And while those moves have all panned out, I’m pretty sure not even in Duquette’s wildest dreams did he ever imagine he’d get the kind of production he’s gotten from those players. However, many of the folks leaving comments on his blog seem to think Duquette deserves a ton of praise for those moves, prompting this tweet from Calcaterra…
Commenter giving Duquette kudos for McLouth, Thome, Wolf and Saunders moves. Yes, success, but how often do those moves = playoffs?
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) October 1, 2012
The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t happen a lot.
The best example of Duquette’s good fortune is embodied in the smallish frame of outfielder Nate McLouth. In 52 games with the Orioles this year, McLouth has an OPS+ of 118. In 2010 and 2011, he had an OPS+ of 79 with Atlanta.
A turnaround like that just doesn’t happen that often.
The reason you should be rooting for the 2012 Orioles is that, like Duquette, Phillies general manager Lee Thomas lucked out on some similar low-end players in the 1992 offseason.
Thomas brought aboard Pete Incaviglia, Milt Thompson, David West, Larry Andersen and Danny Jackson, all of whom were major contributors to the Phils’ unlikely World Series run. None of them were acquisitions that anyone thought would be worth a darn.
Yet Incaviglia hit 24 HRs in just 402 plate appearances. Thompson played spectacular defense in left field as Inky’s platoon mate, and provided decent pop with that bat. West and Andersen both posted 2.92 ERAs out of the bullpen and Jackson came out of nowhere to pitch over 210 innings to a 3.77 ERA.
The ’93 Phils, like the ’12 O’s, were not the most talented team in the league, not by a longshot. But they had a decent nucleus in Dykstra, Daulton, Hollins, Kruk, Schilling, Greene and Mulholland. And the O’s have a decent nucleus in Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis (although he’s injured) Jason Hammel, as well as one of the best bullpens in the American League.
And, like the ’93 Phillies, lady luck has been on the Orioles’ side. They are 28-9 in one-run games, and an unreal 16-2 in extra innings. They have not lost a game this year that they have led after seven innings.
So, if you’re looking for a team’s bandwagon to jump on, please get on board and join me on the O’s wagon before it’s too late.
Enjoy a glimpse of the current day 1993 Phillies, only without the mullets, tobacco juice and bubbly personality.