SARASOTA, Fla. -- Lots of people are unimpressed by the Orioles. Just ask Jayson Stark.
In a poll of 16 baseball men, he writes on ESPN.com, the Orioles finished third in the most “unimproved” American League team. They finished behind Houston, new to the AL and the Yankees, who are not.
The Orioles got five votes, but they were just ahead of the Rangers, who had four and both the Twins and White Sox with three.
The teams that the baseball guys thought were most improved? Toronto, Kansas City and Los Angeles.
Two years ago, manager Buck Showalter said he just wanted to have a team that was hidden, but that the media wouldn’t allow it. After a surprising season last year and perceived inaction this winter, it may just suit the Orioles fine to be ignored.
The Orioles train about 90 minutes from the Blue Jays and about an hour from the Yankees, so they’ll not escape visiting national media. There’s no controversy on this team. Dan Duquette and Showalter pride themselves on the culture that was pervasive last season and they’re not looking for drama.
It’s just fine with the Orioles if Toronto is the “it” team this year. Everyone always wants to talk about New York, and if they want to talk age and infirmity, that’s fine with them.