Originally posted on SportsBlooded  |  Last updated 3/29/12

If you’re living in the Northeast part of the county, you know that spring is finally here. Temperatures are starting to rise, flowers are starting to bloom and the Major League Baseball season is here. Technically, the first MLB game was played late Tuesday night with the Seattle Mariners defeating the Oakland Athletics 3-1 in Japan. If you ask me, the real MLB season doesn’t begin until the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals take on the Miami Marlins in their new stadium on Wednesday, April 4th at 7pm on ESPN. That’s the real start of the season.

It’s definitely one of my favorite times of the year. We all know that the NFL is king and they will continue to be king for a long, long time. But the MLB comes in a strong second for me. You ask the majority of casual sports fans out there about baseball and they feel that the game is just too boring for them. Not for me. Baseball is exciting. From the one-on-one batter/pitcher battles, to how one pitcher can dominate the best hitters in the world for 27 outs, to the beautiful movement of a well executed double play, baseball has all the excitement that I need. There is only one big problem for me, my team stinks.

Growing up in the Baltimore metro area, I’ve been an avid Baltimore Orioles fan since the day I was born. I was spoiled when I was younger, getting to watch Hall of Famers Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken hit back-to-back in the Orioles lineup. I’ve seen a couple playoff games, Ripken break Lou Gehrig‘s consecutive games played streak and Murray hit his 500th HR. After loosing to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS in 1997, there hasn’t been too much to root for.

Since 1997, the Orioles have fell into a bit of a funk. Failing to win more games then they’ve lost for the last 14 years. Every year, I get excited for the new season and I think that things are going to change. 14 years running, I’ve been wrong. As I get ready for the beginning of the 2012 season for the Orioles, I’m trying to find something to be excited about. There’s usually at least a player or two brought in during the offseason to add some excitement. The best they were able to do this year was to bring in two pitchers from overseas, left handers Wei-yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada. Both players have struggled during spring training and time will tell if they can make any type of impact in the bigs.

How are the Orioles going to break out of their funk and have a winning season? The only way this is going to happen is if almost everything goes their way. Starting pitcher Brian Matusz needs to continue his spring success and bounce back from a horrible injury-plagued 2011 season. Nolan Reimold needs to take advantage of playing everyday and hit 20-25 HR’s and drive in 80-90 runs. And a whole lot else needs to go their way.

Is their hope for the Orioles this season? Maybe just a glimmer. Sometimes a glimmer can be enough. Sometimes, teams can come out of nowhere. Is a .500 season to much to ask for? I’m not asking for the World Series. I’m not even asking for the playoffs. I’m just asking for 81-81. The Orioles will be respectable again in my lifetime. I can guarantee that. I just hope that I don’t have to wait too long. Regardless, I’ll be watching and rooting all along the way. I’ll be there no matter how bad they are, because they’re my team and I’m not going anywhere.

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