No. 64: Baltimore Orioles

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 6, 2012, 5:56 PM ET
By Eddie Matz | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 67
Title track: 74
Ownership: 108
Coaching: 24
Players: 67
Fan relations: 81
Affordability: 45
Stadium experience: 10
Bang for the buck: 44

Believe it or not, in the two decades since Camden Yards opened for business on April 6, 1992, no fewer than 20 other major league stadiums have made their debuts. Still, O's fans give their park madder love than ever (stadium experience: 10, best among AL stadiums). Chalk it up to colorful duds (black jerseys on Friday, orange on Saturday, and the return of the cartoon bird), a new PA announcer (26-year-old Ryan Wagner, third voice in Oriole Park history), and the season-long Orioles Legends Celebration Series -- a one-by-one unveiling of six bronze statues commemorating the club's greatest Hall of Famers (Brooksie, Frank, Jim, Earl, Eddie, Cal). Of course, it doesn't hurt that the home team is headed for its first winning season since 1997. What's more, the Baltimore Orioles are doing it in dramatic fashion: Through Sept. 4, Baltimore was an MLB-best 24-7 in one-run games and had posted 12 straight extra-inning wins, the longest such streak in 17 years. So why didn't the Orioles fare better than middle of the pack in our rankings? Because Peter Angelos is still signing the checks (of all his transgressions against Baltimore sports fans, the most egregious may be that he's a -- gasp -- Pittsburgh native!), and his new VP of baseball operations, Dan Duquette, is a guy who A) had been out of baseball for nearly a decade, and B) last worked for the division rival Red Sox. Ouch.