I woke up this morning convinced that the day would move at a much slower pace than yesterday. We're back on a standard schedule.
Get out of bed, check the blog comments and file my first entry. Arrive at the ballpark around 3 p.m., fire up the laptop and check the blog comments. Enter the clubhouse at 3:35 p.m. and copy the lineup. Run up to the press box and post the lineup. Go back down to the clubhouse and talk to a few players. Head for the interview room at 4 p.m. for the manager's pre-game media session. Run back up to the press box, file quotes and notes from the session and check the comments. Go down to the field for the end of batting practice and re-enter the clubhouse until it closes to the media at 6 p.m. Return to the press box and check the comments. Eat dinner with a few of the other writers and make fun of each other. Return to the press box and check the comments. Wait for the first pitch and check the comments.
(That's the slower pace)
That takes us into the evening, when I'll try to convince myself that the offense is ready to bust loose. The three-run homer hasn't been outlawed. City police won't taser a player at home plate. He won't be charged with public endangerment for hitting a baseball into the stands.
"I mean, we are struggling at the plate," Adam Jones said. "I think we are all trying to do too much right now. We have run into some bad luck. We hit some balls hard right at guys. You can't do nothing about that.
"It sucks right now. We got our (butts) handed to us tonight. We haven't been playing our best baseball lately. But that's why we have so many games. I don't think that one person comes in here every day not thinking that we are not going to walk out with a W. We still run down the line; we still play the game hard. It's just nothing is going our way right now, and sometimes in baseball that happens."
You saw the stats that I posted in last night's final entry. The Orioles were shut out for the fifth time. They've scored eight runs in their last seven games. They've been held to one run or fewer in six of the last nine games.
Grow the arms? Check.
Buy the bats? Yes, please.
Hit the ATM hard. Package a few young pitchers and make a bold trade. Don't worry about "blocking" a prospect. That should be the least of the concerns.
I'm running out of patience, which means nothing to the Orioles. I'm also among the least of their concerns. And I'm not saying that the entire "Plan" should be blown to smithereens. The intent is right on many fronts: Stockpiling young arms; upgrading the amateur, professional and international scouting; finding a new spring training home; building a new Dominican facility.
And yes, buying the bats.
It's the execution that's lacking.
"I have no doubt whatsoever that not only we are on the right path, we are on the only path that we can take if we are serious about ever being a contender in the American League East," president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said during yesterday's news conference introducing Juan Samuel as interim manager. "I wish it was easier, but going the way we were going about it wasn't going to get it done. We needed to skew young.
"I wish it would come faster. I truly do. But there's not one scintilla (of doubt) in my mind that this is what we have to do."
There's also no doubt that this team desperately needs a presence in the middle of its lineup. Big bat, big attitude. I don't know who, I don't know where and I don't know how, but I know the Orioles aren't going to compete in this division - or the Appalachian League - by working nine innings to manufacture one run.
No more projects. Some guys can't be cured. Heed the downward trends.
Find a slugger and build the lineup around him. And if that means opening up the checkbook, for the love of God, let the pages fly.