Our starters consistently got battered and our batters couldn't get started. As we contemplate this dismal finish for the Birds, here's an "out of left field" suggestion for the Orioles brass for 2018 and beyond. Relegate the Happy Bird logo, which currently adorns the players' caps, to nothing beyond toddlers' T-shirts.
Of course no cartoon logo will strike fear in any opponents. But this is not about the competition. It's about the Orioles' own competitive temperament.
There's no continuity in the two Orioles bird logos. They should be Heckle and Jeckle, but, instead, they're Jekyll and Hyde. One is the face-only Happy Bird. The other is the full-bodied, beady-eyed Scowling Bird clutching a bat in his right hand (wing?) and staring down the pitcher with a menacing "I'm gonna make you wish you picked a different occupation" look as he struts up to the plate.
In the dugout, our guys can't help but constantly see their teammates' caps throughout the many hours of 162 games. No warrior goes into battle with a goofy grin. Does the Happy Bird psych-up the players? Please. Does the Happy Bird embarrass the players? My guess is yes. The only other cap attire is the one with "O's" instead of Happy Bird. That's no good either. Toward the end of the season, it reminded too many of us of how many runs our boys scored each inning … or worse, each game!
It's said that, for the player, 90 percent of baseball is mental. That being the case, if the Scowling Bird helps even few players lean just a tad into a more determined frame of mind during a tense game situation, that grain of resolve and killer instinct certainly couldn't hurt. OK, perhaps this is all completely trivial. But perhaps not. It's a long season. Just a few extra hits here and there and who knows?
And one last thing, Warehouse. Consider the fans who are longing for a tough change of pace and after so many seasons wouldn't mind a change of face as well. I say forget Dr. Jekyll and hire Mr. Hyde.
Either way, until springtime when we all bleed orange anew, for now it's "wait 'til next year!" Once again.
Joe Pachino, Baltimore
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