Wednesday, April 6, 2011

0 and 5

0 and 5 is a pretty depressing opening  for the Red Sox. I've seen it before,  We lived in Baltimore in the late 80's when I was the Program Director of Mix 106.5.  I went to a lot of Orioles games and always rooted for them except when the Red Sox were in town.

On Opening Day in 1988 the O's, who had won the World Series only 5 years before, had a tough day at the old ballyard. The Milwaukee Brewers pounded them, 12-0.  They also lost game 2 to Milwaukee, then went to Cleveland and dropped three straight, making it 0 and 5.  At that point a friend of mine named Bob Rivers, who worked at a competing radio station named 98 Rock, announced that he was going to stay on the air until the Orioles won.  Excellent promotion, made even better by the O's dropping that night's game, making it 0 and 6.  The manager was fired.  Not just any manager, either.  His mame was Cal Ripken, Sr.  Father of the star shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. and his brother Billy Ripken, who played 2nd base. 

People drove around with their headlights on during the day to show support for Bob Rivers. At the ballpark it was depressing. Everyone on the team slumped simultaneously.  They didn't even post batting averages on the scoreboard because they were all below .100.  First baseman Eddie Murray, who had just signed a big contract extension, insisted on being the DH at home to minimize his exposuere to booing. 

And on it went.  After that fourth loss to Cleveland they went to Kansas City and dropped three, then came home and lost three more to Cleveland.  Back on the road they dropped three in Milwaukee, another three in Kansas City and three more in Minnesota. That made it 0 and 21.  The all-time worst season-opening record in the history of Major League Baseball.  And they weren't even playing the tough teams. 

On April 29, a windy night at the old Comiskey Park in Chicago, the Orioles finally put up a W, beating the White Sox, 9-0 in front of 14,000 fans.  Bob Rivers took a long nap after being on the air for some 425 straight hours.  The O's dropped the next two in Chicago, then came home with a record of 1 and 23.

On May 2 it was Fantastic Fans night at Memorial Stadium.  Bob Rivers was given a full Orioles unform - his name and the number 98 on the back - and threw out the first pitch from the mound (a very unathletic throw) to the cheers of over 50,000 fantasic fans.  The 1 and 23 Orioles took the field and made it a night by beating Texas, 9-4. 

The fans in Baltimore are really great.  Despite that horrible season they stuck with the team. Five years later the Orioles moved into Camden Yards - my choice for the best new ballpark in America.

So let's not get worked up about 0 and 5.  Even if the Red Sox lose tomorrow and are 0 and 6 when the Bronx Bombers come in for the Home Opener, it will mean the Sox have the Yankees the way they want them.  Overconfident