Since the beginning of the 2012 season, the Baltimore Orioles have won more games than any team in the American League. While the bullpen, bombs and Buck have all been key for the first-place O’s, don't underestimate the value of team chemistry.
Baltimore's locker room -- which features pingpong, pool and shuffleboard tables right there out in the open -- plays more like a frat house than a clubhouse. Less pro, more prep. Speaking of high school, and given that we’re smack-dab in the middle of prom season, I recently caught up with reigning home run champ Chris Davis (and AL player of the week) and asked him to dole out class superlatives for his Bird brethren.
Most popular: "T.J. McFarland is the most popular. He is unbelievably witty. He does a lot of impressions. He's one of those guys that you just wanna go sit down at the table [with] because he's gonna do something that's gonna make you laugh. He does a great Harry Caray, which is fitting because he's from Chicago. He'll even do the Will Ferrell Harry Caray. So that's an impersonation of an impersonation."
Most likely to succeed: "[Mark] Trumbo's the first name that comes to mind, probably because he's freaking succeeding. Somebody asked me the other day who would be our presidential nomination, and I said Trumbo because he looks the part. He's big, square-built, very hard to read, but he's just a very focused guy. He takes a lot of pride in his preparation and what he does. He's kind of like an unopened book. You don't know what's on the inside until you open it up and get in there. He's a good dude. It's been impressive to watch him go about his work."
Class clown: "All of us. But if I had to pick one, I'd say [Darren] O'Day. He's an easy choice because he's so intelligent. The way he goes about pranking people, the jokes he makes, it’s all very clever. He's got an art to making people laugh. Very similar to T.J., but he's on another level. Plus he's been around for a while, he's a veteran guy, and he's a bullpen guy -- so he's got a lot of time on his hands. You're never safe around him. You think you're doing something that nobody's gonna see, so you're picking your nose or something like that, and lo and behold, the next day, Darren O'Day has a blown-up picture of you picking your nose at the most inopportune time. The eyes of O'Day are always watching."
Most talented: "I'd say Dylan Bundy. He shocked me in spring training. We have a talent show every year and he painted a picture. It was a horse, but it wasn't just a horse -- it was a silhouette of a horse with this unbelievable sunset in the background. It was shocking to me. It was like Bob Ross quality. We're all talented when it comes to baseball, but art, to me? I have no concept. I still struggle with staying inside the lines when I color. With Dylan, you think he's just a good ol' boy from Oklahoma, but he's got sneaky talent."
Teacher's pet: "Gotta be [Matt] Wieters. The reason I say that is he's like a coach on the field. He's the player that Buck [Showalter] will go to and say, 'What do you think about this?' And he actually knows the answer to it. Like he's really paying attention, as opposed to the rest of us here, who are just out here to have a good time."
Best dancer: "Mike Wright. Sneaky-hot dance moves. He's a big guy, but he'll pop a dance move every now and then, and you're like, 'Oh, yeah.' And then that's all you get. Just a little taste."
Best car: "Ubaldo [Jimenez]. He drives a Bentley. It's a like a pewter color. I feel like we all have cool cars, but he's got the ride that you're like, ‘Oh man, who's that?'"
Most likely to go to the principal's office: "Jonesy [center fielder Adam Jones]. That's just who he is: Here I am, love it or hate it. I mean, I feel like we could all go to the principal's office in that clubhouse. We police ourselves. We take pride in doing things the right way, but I feel like Jonesy as a kid was probably in the principal's office a lot. He was probably that guy that would go in there and be like, 'I know, I know, I won't do it again.' And then five minutes later, he's doing the same thing again."