When Dan Deacon arrived in Baltimore a decade ago, he not only found the musical community he’d been missing in New York, he found his team, too: The hometown, hard-luck Orioles, then in the midst of a 14-year funk. Of course, with the arrival of new manager Buck Showalter during the 2010 season – and the contributions of several young stars – the franchise’s fortunes would begin to change: By 2012, they were a playoff team once again.
Last year, the Birds made it all the way to the American League Championship Series before getting swept by the Kansas City Royals (“I don’t want to talk about it,” Deacon sighs), and some seem to think they’ll take the next step in 2015, bringing Baltimore back to the World Series for the first time in more than 30 years. And count Deacon, who released his latest album, Gliss Riffer, in February, amongst those expecting big things this season. Here’s his take on the 2015 Orioles.
I moved to Baltimore a little over 10 years ago; I grew up a Yankees fan on Long Island in the ’80s, which wasn’t easy. They were terrible; Mattingly was my hero, so I didn’t know the Yankees were known as the “Bad Guy” team, because to me, the Mets were that. They had just won a World Series, I didn’t know anything about their history. But then I moved to Baltimore, and I was like, “Woah, everyone hates the Yankees.” I would go to games when the O’s were playing, like, the Royals, and it was fun, but then I went to a game where they played the Yankees and the stadium was entirely full of Yankee fans, and I was like, “What the hell is going on? Fuck this. I’ve been rooting for Darth Vader this whole time!”
People love the Ravens here; if the mayor were to come out and be like, “We are painting the city purple,” everyone would be like, “Hooray! I will volunteer my time!” The O’s have that too, but there’s a bit of tragedy to it, because there have been so many racing-to-the-top-to-slide-back-down moments with this team. It’s a major identifier with the city. And I love how their logo is like the least-tough logo in sports, and when you see someone wearing it, no matter where you are, I know they have a connection to the city. And you don’t get that with any other team. Baltimore is a weird town.
I definitely wasn’t that invested in this team when they were losing 90 games a year, but tickets were so cheap that you could go with a huge crew. It was a lot of fun to go to games even if the team sucked. Camden Yards is like two miles from my studio. But when Buck Showalter came, I started paying attention, because I feel like he got screwed in New York. I think his management had a lot to do with last year’s success. I think of it like an orchestra: you need the parts to be there, and you need a conductor to bring those parts together, otherwise it’s chaos. It takes an overseeing entity. And maybe as I get older, I identify more with the managers than I do the players. Showalter plays the long game, this isn’t a one-season thing for him; it’s like farming avocados: you can’t plant a bunch of trees and expect to make a fortune next year, you’ve got to wait for those trees to bear fruit.
I’m sure we’ll feel the loss of [Nelson] Cruz and [Nick] Markakis, but, much like when a band loses a key member, the best way to fill the void is to build something parallel to it. I think they’re going to put together a team that works best for them; you need balance. I like Chris Davis a lot, and I think he got a bum rap getting suspended for that shit; but I also think he was an idiot for not just getting a prescription. It’s 2015. Does Adderall make you better at baseball? I don’t understand.
And yet, despite that, and all the injuries, the O’s won 90-something games and their division. We swept the Tigers in the playoffs, and then we ran into the fucking Royals and lost. It was tragic; it sucked. I felt like the whole time the announcers on TV wanted the Royals to win. The O’s had so many people out, and they just couldn’t bring it. It will look like they were beaten to death, but they were in all four of those games!
Famous Fan Fearless Forecast: I tend to be a psychopath, so I’m going O’s all the way. So we’re gonna go 161-1. No, I think it’ll be similar to last year, and they’re in a tough division, so I’ll say they win 96 games, and with Buck, anything could happen. I would hate to play Risk or Monopoly with Buck Showalter.