Two birds fly together from Baltimore to Ohio. When they hit the state border they go their separate ways. A couple days later they find themselves flying together again on their way back. One bird looks at the other and asks, “How was your trip?” The other replies, ” I went to Cleveland and it was horrible, but the good news is I probably won’t have to come back to this dump in October. How was your trip?” The other bird replies, “I’m sorry to hear that, I usually love Cleveland this time of year. I ended up in Cinci, met this guy whose hair looks a lot like yours and he showed me a fantastic time.”
Ok, so if you’re a bird truther you’ll probably read that anecdote and tell me that the birds would take different paths to Cinci and Cleveland and afterwards, since the one bird was heading from Cleveland to Toronto, they wouldn’t cross paths. I’d tell you that birds fly wherever the hell they want. The birds were talking to each other for Christ sakes so worrying about flight paths is a pointless exercise. Also, no one has even read this yet so maybe I’m just having an internal struggle to justify a stupid ass analogy. Whatever, the point is clear. The Orioles and Ravens had very different experiences in Ohio this past weekend.
For the Orange Birds, they picked the wrong time to go to Cleveland. The Indians are in the midst of an historic win streak and seemingly don’t plan on losing anytime soon. The Orioles, who are clearly in desperate need of wins, could only muster four runs in three games. The bats have gone cold and after the last night’s loss in Toronto, the O’s have lost six in a row and have dropped to 4.5 games out of the second wild card. The dreams of playoff baseball this October seem to be dwindling but If I’ve learned anything about dreams in my 29 years, they can change quickly. You can go from trying to reach cereal on the top shelf at the grocery store to being completely naked in the streets of Mexico City pushing your dead grandmother, who suddenly turns into Rosa Parks, in a wheel chair as you flee a group ice skating Canadians who work for the Cartel. So basically, what I’m trying to say is, if the O’s can reel off a few wins in a row, we will be back to dreaming of a wild card once again. But it better happen quickly. I can’t avoid the Cartel for much longer.
The Ravens had a beautiful start to the season in Cincinnati. The game looked like a replica of the early 2000’s Ravens teams; suffocating defense that forced 5 turnovers, a punishing run game, one huge play in the passing game. The patchwork offensive line did a much better job than most expected, keeping Joe upright for the most part and providing enough push for the Ravens to methodically run the ball and the clock as needed. The offensive game plan included a good amount of draws and slight misdirection run plays that kept the Bengals off balance. But the game really came down to the Ravens’ defense forcing Andy Dalton into 5 turnovers and shutting down the Bengals’ passing attack. The revamped secondary looked fast and physical. CJ Mosley’s second quarter interception in the endzone might have been the turning point of the game. Terrell Suggs looked the best he’s looked in a few years with a dominating two sack and one forced fumble performance. But hey, if you watched the game, you know all of this already. I was in Las Vegas this weekend for a bachelor party so the Ravens game was on at 10am my time and I was already four beers deep at kickoff after only sleeping for about two hours the night before so some of you might have a more nuanced appreciation for the x’s and o’s of this Sunday’s game. I can tell you for sure that the Ravens were well represented at the Beer Park at the Paris hotel in Vegas and the few Bengals fans there had far less of a pleasant morning than we did.
So Jason and Jerry assigned me some homework this past week. They wanted me to write a little bit about my very brief experience as an Orioles clubhouse attendant. So here it goes.
I’m not going to bury the lead here. Jim Tyler is one of the most miserable human beings I have ever met, and if he is reading this, which I’m 100 percent sure he is not, because there is no way he knows how to work a computer or has time to do anything except pound soda and smoke cigarettes, Jim, I badly wish there was a hell. For those of you who have no clue who he is, which I assume is almost everyone, he is the son of Oriole’s longtime umpire’s assistant, Ernie Tyler, who was known for not missing a day of work in 50 years. Apparently the Oriole’s organization succumbs to nepotism no matter how miserable the offspring is. Jim was the clubhouse manager and, very unfortunately, my boss for my very short tenure as Orioles clubhouse attendant.
I was living in New York, when a good friend of mine, who has worked in the Orioles’ clubhouse for a long time, called me and asked if I’d be interested in taking a job as a clubhouse attendant. I decided that it would be a really cool opportunity as I was a huge Orioles fan and thought it would be awesome to work inside the clubhouse and essentially, in a very small way, be a part of a big league team. Turns out I was right. It would have been a really cool opportunity except that Jim Tyler exists and I’m pretty sure it was his goal to make everyone around him as miserable as possible. I could write paragraphs on end about Jim, but I’ll spare you and leave you with one story that pretty much sums up my experience with this prince. It was my first week there and Adam Jones asked me to get him a new pack of slider shorts from the supply closet. I went and asked Jim for the key and he muttered something about wasting his time and being busy but reluctantly gave me the keys. I went and fetched Adam some fresh Under Armour undies and brought them over to his locker. Adam, looked at the pack and said, ohh sorry man, I wear Nike’s. Turns out Jim was standing right behind me at the time and he pokes his stupid little head and in and says, “you really f***** that one up didn’t you,” and as he walked away muttered a homophobic slur under his breath. Adam Jones looked at me and said, “don’t let him talk to you like that.” I shrugged it off but then two weeks later I was about to head into work and I got a text from my friend that said ‘Jim told (another clubhouse attendant) to tell me to tell you that we don’t need you to come in anymore.’ So to recap, the spineless bastard couldn’t call me or tell me to my face that he didn’t want me working there anymore so instead he told one clubhouse attendant to tell another to tell me. When I inquired as to why I was let go, the message was similarly relayed to me that they were overstaffed. They had too many people and not enough underwear to fold.
A quick story about actual happenings in the clubhouse related to players. In 2012 I was working when Ryan Flaherty got his first major league hit. Brady Anderson had recently started working in some type of capacity for the Orioles and was in the clubhouse after the game. I was sitting and eating dinner with Brady and Flaherty and a few others. It was about 11:30 pm on a Thursday. Brady looks at Ryan and says, ‘Well you got a your first MLB hit tonight, you want some ladies?’Ryan looked slightly confused and a little shy to the idea but he somewhat reluctantly said sure. Brady whips out his phone and makes one call and says to whatever lucky lady was on the other end, ” My boy Ryan got his first major league hit today, come out and bring some friends.” And that was that. I have no clue what happened the rest of the night but I’d bet Flash remembers that more fondly than his bunt single. I said to Brady, ” I folded my first pair of major league underwear tonight, got anything for me?”