A Tale Of Two Cities And The Midsummer Classic

Greetings From The Booth!

It’s great to be back in The Booth after a relaxing week of vaycay at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. There’s nothing like the slow pace of “lake life” to get one recharged and refreshed. I could get used to hot tubs, reading the latest Grisham novel on the deck, boating and hiking , and of course, good food and drink.

One of my favorite things about the annual week at DCL is talking sports with my nephew TJ, who is a huge UVA and Baltimore Oriole guy, and one of the most knowledgeable sports fans I know. In addition, we both wallow in our misery at being Commanders (Redskins) fans. As I am a suffering Nats fan, we spent some time comparing the situations of our respective teams, the O’s and Nationals.

Unlike the Nats, who, at the All-Star break, are on pace to lose about 110 games, the young Orioles go into the break on a 10-game win streak and are just 2 games out of the final AL Wild Card spot. In reality, the Birds are a few years away from their plan of contending once again, but don’t tell these youngsters that they are not supposed to win NOW. Winning begets winning, and there’s nothing like a 10-game skein to boost a team’s confidence. And, there’s that intangible thing called chemistry. I’ll admit, TJ had me singing the old “Oriole Magic” song all week. It was stuck in my head. The O’s may eventually fade in the dog days of August, but if the front office doesn’t make any greedy moves this year, it looks like this team is headed in the right direction.

40 miles away are the Washington Nationals, who despite players like Josh Bell and Juan Soto, don’t appear to have that chemistry, and almost surely will lose 100-plus games this year. It’s hard to recognize a team that is just 3-years removed from winning a World Series. Granted, most of that group is gone, but it’s hard to see Mike Rizzo’s plan for this club. Injury has certainly played a part, but the Nats look like a rudderless ship that has sunk to the bottom of the NL East, a place usually reserved for the Miami Marlins. Although not his fault, Manager Davey Martinez may take the fall (he recently received the kiss of death–a one-year extension) for another bad year in DC. BTW, there are plenty of seats available at Nationals Park…

Finally, just a few words about (at the time of this post) tonight’s MLB All-Star Game. The Midsummer Classic for me has lost some of it’s luster over the years, and I didn’t even watch last year when the game was politicized and moved away from Atlanta. But thinking of the All-Star Game takes me back to my youth, a time when I kept a scoresheet for the game, players wanted to play, and the teams wanted to win (remember Pete Rose crashing into catcher Ray Fosse to win the 1970 edition?). I don’t think it’s the case anymore, but that being said, the MLB All-Star Game is still sports’ purest: the Pro Bowl is a pillow fight, the NHL version is unrecognizable, and the NBA All-Star Game is a defenseless layup and 3-point exhibition with scores like 173-168.

Enjoy the Midsummer Classic, and until next time from The Booth, GO NATS & O’s!