The last time the Baltimore Orioles took the field vying for their 10th consecutive win, Cal Ripken Jr. was starting at third base and Albert Belle was manning right field.
It was Sept. 18, 1999. The oldest player on the Orioles’ current roster was 9. Most were 5 or 6.
Yes, it’s been a while since the Birds have been the talk of baseball — at least for something other than losing 100 games, a dubious feat accomplished by the O’s in each of the past three consecutive — sometimes excruciating — 162-game seasons (excluding 2020’s shortened campaign).
But that run might be coming to an end in 2022 — thanks to a very different kind of streak from this year’s O’s.
“It’s been five years or so,” longtime Oriole Trey Mancini said of the last time the O’s had any kind of sustained winning. “You forget what it’s like.”
The Orioles are being reminded on a daily basis. The latest celebration came Wednesday, when they won their 45th game of the season, a 7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs (last year, the O’s won their 45th game on Sept. 8). It pushed their winning streak to 10, and their record above .500 for the first time this year. It’s the latest in a season that they’ve had a winning record since 2017.
Just before the latest series sweep, manager Brandon Hyde indicated his phone has been buzzing, as friends around the league share their excitement about his team.
“I’m hearing from ex-Cubs, other front office people and all my friends,” said Hyde, who was the bench coach for the Chicago Cubs when they made the postseason in four consecutive years last decade. “They’re happy for me and our team and to read something positive coming out of Baltimore where it’s been hard over the years.”
When Hyde was hired to manage the rebuilding Orioles in 2019, the team had finished last place in the previous two seasons. They had won just 47 games the year before, their lowest total since moving to Baltimore in 1954.