The Baltimore Orioles fanbase has been through a lot in the last six years. After the O's missed out on their brief window, which included their first playoff appearance in 14 seasons in 2012, their first ALCS appearance in 16 seasons in 2014 and an appearance in the Wild Card Game in 2016, the franchise has fallen on hard times. They've missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons, finishing last in their division both times and posting a franchise-worst record of 47-115 in 2018. Oh, and did we mention their franchise player is (at some point) going to sign a long-term deal elsewhere, and possibly with a division rival? Did we also mention they pay Chris Davis $23 million a year to strike out 200-plus times and bat .168? Yeah, so things are going well.
The last thing these poor O's fans needed in this already dreary month of February was to be reminded of one of the biggest daggers in franchise history. This is the part where we tell you that that's exactly what happened to them on Thursday.
The dagger in question came during the infamous 2016 American League Wild Card Game, in which the Orioles went to extra innings with the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. With the scored tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 11th, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter decided to call upon Ubaldo Jimenez rather than All-Star closer Zack Britton with one out and none on. After giving up a pair of singles on four pitches, Showalter stuck with Jimenez as Edwin Encarnacion stepped to the plate. We all know what happened next:
Aaaaaaand SEE YA.
Showalter's move is one that will be questioned in Baltimore until the day they get back to the postseason, which doesn't look like it's coming anytime soon. Britton, now a member of the New York Yankees, has not forgotten that Showalter left him in the pen in that crucial spot, as you can see in this Twitter exchange below. Cover your eyes O's fans:
Britton later claimed there was no "hidden message":
Sure thing Zach! I mean Zack.