Tillman and Gonzalez have reeled off quality start after quality start in the last month.

Norfolk manager Ron Johnson said he watched such players improve, fueled by a belief that if they were good, they would not be forgotten by the decision makers in Baltimore.

"The guys who aren't doing well are going down," said Johnson, a former major league first baseman. "The guys who are, are going up. … It's the message you send up here and we just feed off it."

Built to last?

Those outside the organization have noticed the culture perpetuated by Duquette and Showalter.

"You watch them, and they just play hard," said Ricciardi.

Shapiro has observed a team and manager operating with great urgency, perhaps understanding that chances to win the AL East don't come along often.

"I look at the way Buck is managing, and I think he understands that," said the Indians president, a Baltimore native. "They have not let many opportunities slip by this season."

It feels almost uncouth to ask the question with this delightful season still in progress, but are these Orioles built to last?

"They could be pretty good," Shapiro said. "I'd say the biggest challenge is not the team but the division."

Duquette is optimistic. Most of the team is likely to return next year, with Reynolds, McLouth and second base looming as obvious questions.

'"It should be a pretty good club for a couple of years," Duquette said. "I think the fans can look forward to a competitive team. I think we have the core group."



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