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Should teams like the Orioles be punished for tanking?

Should teams like the Orioles be punished for tanking?

Sure, as fans it stinks to watch our favorite teams tank.

But it doesn't mean that we need a crackdown on tanking teams. Sometimes, tanking happens and it's not necessarily on purpose. (Okay sometimes it is, but not always!)

Sports Illustrated published an article Tuesday that proposed the idea of instituting a relegation system to punish baseball teams that tank too bad. (Think Premier League, but for MLB). 

The argument hinges on a number of teams who are currently playing some not-too-pretty baseball, with a specific focus on the Orioles. 

Yeah, in a three-game series earlier this week Baltimore gave up 32 runs and 16 homers to the New York Yankees.

And yeah, there were some pretty rough moments over those three games (as there have been over the course of the season. 

But isn't calling the Orioles "a group of kindergarteners masquerading as a baseball team" as the SI writer did going a little far?

Yes, watching teams like the Orioles go 39-81 (with a -242 run differential) isn't fun for fans (except of the opposing team. The same goes for watching the Tigers go 35-81 and the Blue Jays and Royals possibly put up their own 100-loss seasons. 

The thing is, when teams tank it makes those rare, illustrious wins that much more fun to watch. (Like when Rio Ruiz hit that walk-off bomb against the Astros on Sunday). And gives fans hope for the future (we're looking at you Adley Rutschman).

Teams already take a hit from tanking. Just look at how much attendance at Rays and Orioles games has declined.

And, as mentioned in the article, creating a system for relegation in MLB isn't really feasible. (The plan SI proposes would involve the three worst teams from the AL and NL each being sent down to Triple-A). 

Sure, that would make it a lot more interesting to see MLB-level (and salary) players face those players who make their careers in the minors. 

But we already see enough of that as is. Just look at that Orioles-Yankees series from earlier this week. 

Even announcer Gary Thorne was fed up with the level of play Baltimore produced. And that level of play in turn provided with one of the funniest moments of announcing this week--that Thorne call of Gleyber Torres' 13th home run against the Orioles.  

So, sure, it's not fun when pro teams tank. But it's also part of the game. And honestly, it can be pretty funny. 

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The most unbelievable catch of the Orioles' dismal season came in the team's final game

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The most unbelievable catch of the Orioles' dismal season came in the team's final game

It's not how you start, it's how you finish, and boy did Orioles right fielder Steve Wilkerson make sure the team went out with a bang against the Boston Red Sox.

Bottom of the eighth, game knotted at four, Jackie Bradley Jr. sent what seemed to be a moonshot to right field...

But what happens next is arguably the best catch of the entire MLB season. 

This catch by Wilkerson is nothing less than spectacular. Not only did he possess the focus to track the ball beyond the wall, but the athleticism to make the catch while almost tumbling over backwards into the crowd. 

This year may have been a huge let down for Baltimore, but here's to a bright spot heading into the offseason. 

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Orioles Roundup: Baltimore topples Blue Jays, 11-4

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Orioles Roundup: Baltimore topples Blue Jays, 11-4

The Orioles are now five games better than last season's woeful 47-115 record. While they continue to win meaningless games late in the season, their poor season won't go away. 

Player Notes:

Dylan Bundy gave up only two runs in seven innings pitched against the Blue Jays, bringing his season's ERA down to 4.79. 

Also, Trey Mancini went a perfect 5-5 in the Orioles win Tuesday night. He's now batting .373 against Toronto, hitting 25 of his 94 RBI this season against Toronto. Dwight Smith Jr. also impressed with a 3-4 showing, hitting a homer and three RBI of his own. 

Injuries: 

OF Mason Williams, knee, out indefinitely

RP Hunter Harvey, biceps, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Josh Rogers, elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

SP Alex Cobb, back, 60-Day IL, 2020

Coming Up: 

Wednesday, Sept. 25: Orioles at Toronto, 7:07 p.m. at Rogers Centre

Thursday, Sept. 26: Orioles at Boston, 7:10 p.m. at Fenway Park

Friday, Sept. 27: Orioles at Boston, 1:05 p.m. at Fenway Park