You may have gathered this has not all been said dispassionately. I grew up in Baltimore. When I was a little boy my father took me to see the smoldering ruins of Oriole Park the morning after it burned down, and, ten years later, I was in Memorial Stadium the April afternoon on which the Orioles returned to the majors. For a couple of summers I sat right next to the Oriole dugout, working the tarp. You got in for free, plus they paid you a dollar at the end of the game—and another buck if it actually rained and you had to jump up and roll out the tarp. Sports journalists are supposed to be hard-bitten and not root for anybody, but, for goodness' sake, who could ever forget his first home team?
Now that the Erstwhiles are finished, it's something of a relief, because I no longer have to stay up late to get the scores or comb the agate in the Sunday paper. This is good, I've decided. It gives me more time to read great books, make lists and otherwise imitate what adults are supposed to do. You see, when your team wins all the time, you don't really grow up. I'm 30 years behind a lot of guys my age—especially the poor slobs in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.
Still, Lord, I'll miss the Orioles. There was so little left in this world that you could depend on. The Old Orioles of the 19th century were remembered as clever rascals, short-cutters, and now we can forever recall the Erstwhile Orioles as perfect examples of the other extreme. The Orioles were as good at doing a day's work as any team ever.