Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. Last March, ESPN’s Buster Olney picked the Orioles to finish 5th in the American League East. Not only that, but he described the team’s best case scenario as “Baltimore fails to win 70 games.” Yes, that was the best case. What was the worst case scenario for the Orioles according to Olney? You might want to look away if you are squeamish – less than 55 wins. Olney’s predictions indicated that he felt the Orioles were the worst team in baseball heading into the season.
Buster was clearly not a believer.
Even when the Orioles made it into August of this past season in playoff contention, Buster was not quite ready to accept Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette as his baseball Messiahs. The Orioles made the playoffs and still, Buster did not believe. Even earlier this winter Olney was reluctant to embrace the Orioles (and all that they offer), writing about how the team is primed to make a flashy statement and seeming somewhat perplexed when they didn’t.
On February 27th, 2013, Buster Olney’s world would suddenly and dramatically change – he would become a believer in the Baltimore Orioles.
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
The site of the conversion was Sarasota, Florida – the Spring Training home of the Orioles. Olney had traveled there with his ESPN and Baseball Tonight brethren, no doubt looking for further reasons to disparage in the Orioles chances in the upcoming 2013 MLB season. Instead, Buster was changed in a profound and permanent way.
Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
After meeting with Buck Showalter, Dan Duquette, and some of the Baltimore players it all suddenly became clear – the Orioles were not a bad team that got lucky. They were not a bad team at all. This was a good, confident organization with enough talent to contend in the competitive American League East. At last, Olney’s eyes had been opened. He had seen the light. Just like that, Olney began speaking and writing much more positively about the Orioles chances in 2013.
At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
Olney took to the airwaves, spreading the gospel of the Baltimore Orioles to any who would listen. He preached to the masses about the team’s chemistry, their strong pitching depth, and talented core. On March 14, 2013 – almost a year after Olney predicted the Orioles would be in for a historically awful season and dim future – he took the praise and step forward and proclaimed on his ESPN podcast for all to hear:
“In the American League, I got the Orioles winning the American League East. We’ve been talking about on the podcast how impressive the Orioles have been in Spring Training and how there is this great sense around the team. And for all we talk about their run one decisions and success in those games last year, there were a lot of things that didn’t go right for them last year. I think they are going to be the best of what should be the most competitive division in baseball.”
Welcome, Buster Olney. Welcome to land of Baltimore Orioles believers. And God Bless.