In 1983 I watched the Baltimore Orioles win the World Series over the Philadelphia Phillies from 1000 miles away in my new home here in Florida. The following year, on a trip to Baltimore, I stopped by the team’s offices, looked at the World Series trophy and picked up some championship stickers to put in my car window.

In 1997 my beloved Birds won the American League East with a .605 win percentage. They went on to beat the Seattle Mariners for the Division Championship but ultimately lost the League Championship to the Cleveland Indians. To date, it was the last time they made the playoffs. Hell, it was the last time they had a winning record.

Until this year.

It’s easy to be a fan of a winning team. Root for the Yankees (please don’t, this is only an example) and you can be relatively assured that they’ll keep your interest going for the majority of the season. Being a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, which I most assuredly am, takes a degree of commitment normally seen only among religious fanatics and/or masochists. Over the past 14 years I have lost many bets over who will win the East, usually well before the All-Star Break. My interest in baseball is optimistic in March and April. By May it’s fearful, and by June I’m usually waiting for the NFL season to start. For the past few years before each season I signed up for automatic text alerts to my phone that keep me up to date in real time to the O’s game scores and standings. Usually I cancel the service well before our nation’s birthday.

Until this year.

We finished last year pretty well, but still came up below .500. I told myself, and anybody who would listen (oh so true), that I’d be happy if they finished above .500 this year. Set your sights low and you won’t be disappointed. To say that I’m not disappointed as I write this is a world-class understatement. We’re tied for 1st (with those hated Yankees) with 4 games left in the regular season and they’re about to guarantee themselves a post-season spot. Holy crap!

Whatever the post-season brings, I’m a happy guy. A trip to the World Series would be great. The right to put one of those 29 year old stickers on my truck? Well, there’d be a really happy Baltimore ex-pat in Florida.