From Orioles Magic to the Curse

The Baltimore Sun

People from all over the country have called and e-mailed to ask if I think the Orioles are cursed.

Well, of course they're cursed.

No team could have so many bad things happen to it for so long and not be cursed.

Let's look at the lowlights from the past couple of weeks, shall we?

First they signed their manager to a new contract and promptly lost 30-3, becoming the first team in almost 110 years to give up that many runs.

Then another team scored 11 runs in one inning against them.

Then another team's rookie pitcher threw a no-hitter against them in only his second major league start.

Then their best pitcher, in the running for the Cy Young Award, went down with a season-ending injury.

Then another promising pitcher went down with a possible season-ending injury.

Then another player was accused of receiving steroids and human growth hormone.

So, sure, this team has definitely been cursed.

Those kinds of things simply don't happen to a team unless it's under some sort of vicious supernatural spell. But despite the Orioles Curse, we O's fans have not given up on this team, no sir.

Why, sometimes 30, 40 or even 50 of us will show up at Camden Yards and sit among the usual 30,000 Red Sox and Yankees fans and root for our team. Oh, you should see us out there! Sometimes we'll get a "Let's go, O's!" chant going for three or four seconds before it's drowned out by the big Boston and New York crowds.

Then we tend to shut up for the rest of the game, since we're usually down 10-1 by the third inning and then the bullpen throws Sunoco Ultra 94 on the fire and soon we go home, crushed as usual.

That's why this whole business of Oriole players being linked to steroids is confusing to O's fans.

Because aren't steroids supposed to give you a competitive advantage?

Aren't they supposed to make you a better ballplayer?

Aren't they known as performance-enhancing drugs?

Then what's the deal with the Orioles?

If they're on the juice, the O's are the only team in the world that takes steroids and gets worse.

Let's just say the reports are true. So they take steroids and suddenly they can't hit, they can't field, they throw to the wrong base like Little Leaguers. Are they just getting bad steroids? Is that the problem?

Because think about what's been going on here.

The O's have had more than a half-dozen players linked to steroids over the past few years, way more than any other team in baseball.

And they're still staring at their 10th straight losing season.

And battling the mighty Tampa Bay Devil Rays for last place.

So how sad is that, if you cheat and you still can't get ahead?

In fact, the latest player linked to steroids, outfielder Jay Gibbons, was batting .230 with six homers and 28 RBIs. Boy, you talk about discouraging young athletes from using steroids.

They should hang a poster in every high school and college locker room in the country that says: "Warning: Steroids could make you play like the Orioles."

That'll take care of that problem once and for all.

Anyway, getting back to the Orioles Curse, yes, there's no question that a dark cloud hangs over Camden Yards.

Birds drop dead out of the sky during games.

Babies wail for no reason.

A damp fog rolls in when the O's are at bat.

When they're in the field, an inexplicable chill runs through the place, even on the hottest day. Or maybe it just feels that way.

I don't know what can be done about the Orioles Curse, either.

Sure, it's been 10 long years. But sometimes these things just have to run their course, like a bad virus. Sometimes you have to suffer to be a baseball fan in this town. We're good at that. We've had a lot of practice.

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