Year after year, its been the same old story for the Baltimore Orioles: Hope springing eternal during camp in Sarasota, followed by a plop to the bottom of the AL East standings when the real games begin.
The arrival of no-nonsense, veteran skipper Buck Showalter at the end of the 2010 campaign provided a tease with a sensational late-season finish. But after a promising start in 2011, the team that hasnt won 70 games since 2006 once again plummeted to the cellar
So whats the deal this year?
At least some of the answer: The deals made by general manager Dan Duquette this past winter have helped make Baltimore the surprise team of the AL East and perhaps all of baseball thus far.
And suddenly Orioles fans are dealing with a strange new reality: a month-and-a-half into the 2012 season, their team is playing like a powerhouse in what seems like a year of transition in the notoriously rugged division.
The offseason moves combined with standout play by such mainstays as catcher Mat...