Orioles Classics – Good For the Soul

March 29, 2010 | Tom Federline

For Oriole fans over the age of 35, there are many Oriole “Classics”. For the unfortunate younger generations, “Classics” have been to few and far between. We all know the last time a World Championship Year was experienced in this town (1983 for those younger than 35). There have been a few “Classic” games – (a 30 -3 loss comes to mind, Ouch). There have been a  few “classic” moments, i.e. the last weekend at Memorial Stadium, the first game at Camden Yards, a couple of playoff years, Cal’s run to 2131 and that’s about it.

That is why you MUST catch the “Orioles Classics” tapes being shown on MASN. This has been going on for some years now. It’s nice to see that they have picked it up a bit, since it is Spring Training and another year of baseball approaches. MASN appears challenged at times, but they do have these old Oriole broadcasts nailed down. Somebody is thinking or did have some intelligent thoughts at some time. Whatever the case…….It Is Good! MASN lets the rebroadcast tape of the game speak for itself. While interjecting commentary between innings from old Oriole players who were part of those games. The original broadcasts of the games are “classics” within themselves. From the primitive video production, the camera angles, the announcers, to scans of the crowd – fans attire, men wearing hats (not ball caps) and people smoking in the stands. The entire production and quality of play, can be classified as “Classic”.

I had the pleasure of stumbling onto the “Orioles vs. Reds – 1970 World Series – Game One – from the New Riverfront Stadium – with synthetic turf”,  the other night. I haven’t been glued to the set like that since ESPN’s 30 for 30 Series or the last time I caught an Orioles Classic. How does afternoon baseball, second week of October, with Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek calling the game? Let’s throw in…….the game(tape) is in black & white, the players are not wearing batting gloves, they are all under 200 lbs. (except for Boog), no evidence or talk of steroids and the predominant camera shot is from behind the plate. Bowie Kuhn throws out the first pitch, the “Jackson Five” sing the National Anthem. Still not intrigued? Are you breathing? How about this for a line-up: Buford, Blair, Powell, F. Robinson, B. Robinson, Hendricks, Johnson, Belanger, Palmer and some guy named Weaver as manager. I shouldn’t of even had to type that line-up, you all should know it………but it just felt good, doing it. Classic!

MASN has played all the O’s World Series games and their associated playoff series. Along with other sporadic “Oriole Classic” moments. Yes youngsters, the Orioles were good, real good. Throw in the announcing teams of Chuck Thompson, Bill O’Donnell, John Lowenstein, Mel Proctor and some guy named Jon Miller………I get chills. The game and stadium affair seemed to have a different pageantry. The game seemed more innocent. A more “baseball purist” approach, which we all know is, “Long Time Gone” – (Crosby, Stills and Nash).

Do yourself a favor. Catch an O’s Classic. It’s worth your time. It’s worth your effort to research and find out when one is coming on. Get with your dad or mom. Get with an old friend. It’s an excuse to soothe the soul. Of course, I wish they could play classics from within the past 5/10/15/20 years, but those are limited. Anyway, baseball was laced with 75% steroid use, (don’t get me started). The old stuff, is the good stuff. Especially if you experienced it.

T-minus 11 days to Baltimore’s Opening Day!