Mike Elias is the Personal Trainer Birdland Needs

by fitness journalist

As we sit here on the eve of another Opening Day in Birdland, the feeling is a bit different than that to which we’ve become accustomed around here. Generally, as recent seasons approached, sentiment around Birdland ran from one end to another of a pretty short spectrum: MOST fans found themselves in one of two camps: either “they didn’t do enough to build upon last year” or “this is the year they finally take that next step!”

There was a third group though. A minority, to be sure, but a vocal and pervasive one: fans who were convinced that the other shoe was about to drop and the Orioles would be terrible, that Dan and Buck’s house of cards was about to come tumbling down.

Those folks were out every single year after 2012. In 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 they were forced to hang their heads in shame. In September of 2017 though, they perked up. Entering 2018, they were louder than ever. And, alas, they were finally vindicated, probably beyond even their wildest dreams. It was the worst season in Baltimore Orioles history, at 47-115. Not only had the house of cards fallen, it had collapsed into a flaming pyre, the proverbial dumpster fire to end all dumpster fires, embers of which could likely be seen from even the other best ballpark in baseball, way out in San Francisco.

If it had to happen, we can at least be thankful that the timing worked out. While the previous regime could have certainly helped out the organization’s long-term outlook by dealing some of their assets, such as Zack (h?) Britton or Manny Machado, earlier, the fact that the contracts of Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter were expiring was fortuitous. As was Mike Elias having not yet been snatched up by another organization. Throw in Elias’ right-hand man, Sig Mejdal, realizing that he enjoyed building a team more than he does keeping a really good one contending, and it was quite a thick silver lining, all things considered.

“I realized that I very much enjoy the start-up phase more than the status quo,” Mejdal said. “That was becoming clearer to me as the year went on. The internal dialogue was like, ‘Are you crazy, Sig? This is arguably the best team in baseball, and they’re expected to arguably be again next year, and I’m not completely satisfied?’ But the feeling didn’t go away.”

The Orioles could certainly be considered to be in “the start up phase,” wouldn’t you agree?

Elias as Personal Fan Trainer

I’m going to force an analogy here, and you’re all just gonna have to deal with it. Since we’re approaching swimsuit season, it should hit close to home with many of you.

The “Buckle Up Birds” under Dan and Buck were just the sugar rush that this fan base needed to reengage, but it was never part of a balanced breakfast, as it were. The new regime won’t be feeding us espresso shots and sugary cereals to keep us going.

Meat, potatoes, and plenty of green vegetables are on the menu, Birdland, and as anybody trying to “eat clean” knows, that healthy food can be hard to stomach for a bit, when you’re used to cookies and donuts.

That’s what we’re going through now. The easy, sugary option in this metaphor would have been to start the 2019 season with guys like Austin Hays, Chance Sisco, and Tanner Scott on the roster. To give we fans a “reason to watch the team.”

Sorry, everyone. That might make the figure in the mirror look a little better for a while, but you just know as soon as you look at a bakery display, that muffin top is gonna pop right back over.

If we want solid long-term results, we’ll have to do this the hard way. Shopping and laborious meal prep. Daily exercising. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator. And watching players who most definitely won’t be part of the next great, or even good, Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

As our own Dillon Atkinson wrote this week, Elias and crew aren’t here for the quick fix. Don’t believe Dillon? Listen to Elias himself:

“We’re doing things the right way, the way that they need to be done. The end goal here is not to cobble together a one-year wonder, .500 club that could be a disaster if it doesn’t work right and we spent a few years digging out of that hole. We want to put together a perennial contending organization. And we’re initiating that process. We know how to do it. We’re going about it the way you need to go about it.”

Leaving aside the fact that that’s a pretty obvious shot at the previous regime, it’s clear that Elias is just the personal trainer/nutritionist we Orioles fans need. He’s not going to give us cheat days, or even cheat meals. He’s not going to let us skip that last set of burpees. And he’s not going to ignore Hays’ lack of AAA experience and run him out there on the MLB club just to give us something pretty to look at this spring.

Elias is getting this organization in shape, but he isn’t thinking about the upcoming swimsuit season. Mike wants the Orioles happy, healthy, and thriving well into the future.

It’ll be painful. But it’ll be worth it.

Let’s put down that bag of chips and get to work.

The post Mike Elias is the Personal Trainer Birdland Needs appeared first on Baltimore Orioles News | Eutaw Street Report.

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