While you can talk about Bundy’s performance—he went five-and-a-third innings surrendering three runs, two earned, and three strikeouts—what Orioles fans should choose to focus on is the fact that it is August and people are still excited about Orioles baseball.
On a Tuesday night, 2,982 people flocked to Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie to see a pitching prospect—someone who hasn’t event made it to the majors yet. Meanwhile, former Bowie Baysox Manny Machado was named Co-American League Player of the Week after his stellar major league debut—all of this occurring in the same week.
Last year, the most exciting thing to happen to the Baysox was the fact that the honorable protégé Bryce Harper played in Bowie when the Baysox took on the Harrisburg Senators last July, and he plays for the Nationals.
What I’m getting at here is that while you could say Bundy lacked control at times—walking three and throwing a ball or two in the dirt—what is perhaps more important than the statistics and the numbers is that fans gave him a standing ovation when he came off the field in the top of the sixth.
What Bundy’s Double-A debut offered was hope. It didn’t matter that he gave up two earned runs, and it didn’t matter that he wasn’t throwing 100 mph fastballs. Bundy gives Orioles fans a reason to hope that this year’s successful season wasn’t a fluke—there’s more to be excited about.
Between Bundy and Machado, the Orioles are proving they have a dominant youth presence. And while people were excited about Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman in the past, maybe this year’s young guys will pan out.
Some people, myself included, were disappointed when the trade deadline came and went and the Orioles didn’t sign a high profile player. Well maybe, that all-star was here along, just waiting for his chance.
Say what you want about Bundy. Whether you think he will become a pitching sensation or whether you think he will be another flop, you can’t argue that he is giving fans a reason to be optimistic. A reason to think that even if this year’s success fades; next year’s might be brighter.
Bundy and Machado—the new faces of the Orioles? Maybe not. But they are certainly giving us something to talk about now. That’s more than you can say for last August, or the one before that. And given that, I’ll take the hope and the optimism any day—no matter the end result.