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It Helps To Love The Game When Your Team Goes Belly-Up in April

I didn’t have many hopes for the Orioles in 2018. Too many looming free agents on the field - Manny Machado, Adam Jones, reliever Brad Brach among the key ones. And off the field contracts of both manager Buck Showalter and gm Dan Duquette are also over at end of season.

But as a friend wisely noted as I went through a divorce back in the 1990s, “You can see a Mack truck coming but it still hurts when it hits you.” At 6-17 after a 2-1 loss to the Indians on Monday night April 23, the O’s may well never get to .500 in 2018.

In baseball’s confounding ways Orioles’ starting pitching has been better than expected. Dylan Bundy has emerged as a true ace, Kevin Gausman pitched confidently in the 2-1 loss last night, and newcomer Andrew Cashner has been reasonably effective (though he seems clearly a backend-of-rotation kind of guy, not able to get the really big outs when you need them).

The other newcomer highly-paid Alex Cobb has glaringly shown the rust of missing most of spring training. Erstwhile former semi-ace Chris Tillman is getting every chance to regain his form of two years ago with mixed results.

It is the hitting or lack of it that has done in the Orioles so far. Its once proud defense has also fallen apart. None of this is pleasant to watch and Baltimore fans are staying away in droves from Camden Yards.

The frigid weather has certainly played its part in the ultra-cold bats. MLB just broke a record for the most rainouts ever in April. But finally FINALLY it looks like spring has arrived in the Northeast and we can at last put away our winter clothes.

To add to my woes as a fan, I was counting on my Columbia Lions to make another Ivy League championship run in 2018. Losing two out of three at home to Princeton this past weekend makes that outcome more difficult though not impossible.

Except for a Lions pitching meltdown in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader, the games were exciting and well-played. Leaving 15 on base and blowing a 4-1 7th inning lead in the Sunday 7-6 loss was a bitter pill to swallow.

But if baseball teaches you anything, it is the importance of a short memory. Two three game series are still left for Columbia in Ivy League play - at home this Friday at 3p and Sat. doubleheader starting at 1130a against perennial contender Penn having a down year. And then after final exams, three more at Cornell during second weekend in May.

With rainouts having to be made up in the 21-game league season, the standings are:
Defending champion Yale 11-4, Columbia 9-6, Princeton 7-5, Dartmouth 6-5-1, Harvard 6-6, Penn 6-8-1, Cornell 4-8, Brown 4-11. Only two teams make the May 19-20 playoff for the right to go to NCAA tourney of regionals and super-regionals with Omaha’s College World Series the dream from June 15-26.

One last baseball note - The Red Sox were flying high with a 15-2 record when Saturday night they were no-hit by Oakland A’s lefty Sean Manaea definitely the first pitcher of Samoan ancestry to hurl a no-hitter. What better example of baseball’s glorious unpredictability!

That’s all for now Always remember: Take it easy but take it!
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