My nine-year-old son is an early riser. He gets The Sun in the morning from the end of the driveway, dumps it on the floor and checks out the weather in the bottom right corner, under the fold.
He was born on Opening Day, 2002. Since then, the Orioles are a combined 674-904, having finished a combined 262 games out of first place. We have not been above .500 later than Aug. 23 in his lifetime. Last year, we did not spend a single day above .500.
This year, the Orioles pitching staff ranks 30th out of 30 MLB teams in earned run average, quality starts, earned runs, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, total bases and wins.
Spend a week in Bethany or Ocean City, and you will see kids wearing Halladay, Lee, Rollins and Utley jerseys; you will see Elsbury, Beckett, and maybe Jeter. You will not see Orange, and deservedly so.
The Orioles stadium is half-full on an average night, and that's being generous. We had a birthday party for my son there last year and not one employee was helpful — not one usher or concessionaire, not the ticket office and certainly not the guy who didn't return our e-mails describing the experience.
My son has no reason to check box scores, to check the standings. No reason to know who is on the hill that night. Never has.
Is it sad? No, it's worse than sad, because to a nine-year-old boy in Baltimore who loves sports, the Orioles are totally irrelevant.
John Busse, Lutherville