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The current Orioles think they are about to do something special.  The ancient Orioles believe so too.  – Denver Post

In the Oriole Park home dugout at Camden Yards for the first time, outfielder Brett Phillips praised the team he joined at the trade deadline. When he looked across the field as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles seemed like an energetic bunch. Now that he’s in Baltimore, the feeling is clear.

“I recognized that we have a group that is hungry here,” Phillips said, “and a group that is ready to improve and wants to win, regardless of past circumstances.”

Those circumstances have been three 100-game losing streaks over the past four years as the Orioles have undergone a rebuild that began with a midseason sale in 2018. But that rebuild is starting to pay off, the vice said Wednesday. -Executive Chairman and Managing Director Mike Elias. “it’s takeoff from here” despite swapping two major plays at the deadline.

About an hour before Phillips voiced that idea at the clubhouse on Friday afternoon, several former Orioles had lunch inside the B&O Warehouse. And when they met the media ahead of Camden Yards’ 30th anniversary celebration on Saturday, a few – like Hall of Fame pitcher Mike Mussina – admitted they don’t watch much baseball.

Others, however, feel the club’s energy from afar. It reminds some of them of the olden days, when they walked into Camden Yards during playoff pushes and heard the roar of fans dressed in orange. Maybe those times are about to become the norm again.

“I’m really happy for the city,” said right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez, who played in Baltimore from 2014 to 2017 as part of the last Orioles team to qualify for the playoffs. “They deserve to have a team that they can cheer on and hope to win. Youngsters, they have a lot of energy. You can see that every night. They play hard. They don’t really care about play in one of the toughest divisions. They go out there and they win.

At this point, almost all of the Orioles alumni returning to Camden Yards this weekend are not following the day-to-day events of the team they played for. Mussina, a 1990 Baltimore first-round pick who made his five appearances with the Orioles, said he “saw a lot of games in 18 years” so he had “other things going on.”

But they all noticed – no matter how far – that the Orioles entered Friday three games above .500 and two games out of the last wild card spot. At his Southern California home, one of former Orioles player Jay Gibbons’ teenage sons frequently reminds him that the Orioles are playing.

“Like, ‘Dad, they’re playing really well,'” Gibbons recalled. “I’m like, ‘Come on, now.’ And then of course we have this young talent starting to come together.

In Gibbons’ seven years playing in Baltimore between 2001 and 2007, the Orioles never made the playoffs. But he returned to Camden Yards in 2012 and experienced an October vibe.

“You could just see the passion from the fans,” Gibbons said, “and I kind of always thought, ‘Man, if we won, people would be like this every night. “”

Jiménez thought back to the crowd in 2014, when the Orioles swept the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers with Delmon Young’s brace, which cleared goals, punctuating a Game 2 win.

“As a player, it’s the type of atmosphere you crave,” said Jiménez. “When we were winning, every time you came to the stadium, you knew you were playing for something and all the fans would support you. It was an amazing experience. And I hope they can experience that kind of atmosphere. These people deserve this.”

On the pitch Friday, inside a stadium that hasn’t changed much in the 30 years since it opened – apart from a deeper, taller left-field wall that Jiménez said he wished was there when it launched in Baltimore – the atmosphere was alive, even with a nearly two-hour rain delay.

For the first time since rebuilding began, Baltimore has a competitive team. And if the local club’s current players believe in the way forward from here, the former Orioles who laid the groundwork at Camden Yards are also in on the game.

“It’s going to happen again here,” Gibbons said. “It’s just a matter of time. And when it does, I think the city will accept it.


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