Today I thought I would start a discussion that everyone could join in on my blog at wnst.net. In preparing for my 5 minute on-air spot today, I started to recall some of my best Orioles memories. That’s all we have had around here for nearly a dozen years. Now my frame of reference goes back a little farther than most of the other contestants, but I am sure all of you have some unforgettable moments in your memory. So here goes:
4. Attending game 6 of 1971 world series – my dad took me, I had just turned 9, and I was really starting to get into baseball. I had no idea at the time the greatness I was witnessing on the field at Memorial Stadium – Brooks, Frank, Palmer, Cuellar, Paul Blair, Boog, and on the other side – Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell. The Birds won to push it to Game 7, which didn’t turn out so well.
3 1979 Orioles Magic– Doug DeCinces hits a game winning homer in the bottom of the 9th, and Memorial Stadium erupts like I had never heard it before. Camden Yards in its 17 years has not come close. The fans refused to leave, Wild Bill was on the dugout, and soon the players came out on the field and started spelling O-R-I-O-L-E-S. DeCinces had taken a shower and came out in his street clothes to join the spelling bee. There was such a connection between that club and the city. It truly was a magical night.
2. final weekend of 1982 season. Orioles were down three games to the Brewers who had a great team that year with 4 to play. Remember the twi-night double header, the greatest bargain in sports, now extinct. They were awesome. Friday night the Birds in do-or-die win both ends of the twin bill. I can remember my dad and I had to drive out of town that Friday night, and we were on pins and needles with every pitch driving up I-95, as the great Chuck Thompson made us feel as though we were there. My dad and I were high fiving in the truck as Chuck shouted, “Ain’t the beer cold!!” We got back to Baltimore Saturday and went to the game that night, with the birds now down just 1 game with 2 to play. The O’s won AGAIN, against the Brewers, to tie it up so it all came down to 1 game for the AL East championship on Sunday, pitting two Hall of Famers, Palmer vs. Don Sutton. The Birds lost but the fans again refused to leave, as they said goodbye to Earl Weaver who was retiring, at least for the time being.
1. 2131 – the O’s were not doing well that year, but we had our Cal. It was actually amazing how some event as predictable as the sun rising was so exciting. The love that was flowing in Camden Yards that night was palpable. After the top of the 5th concluded, after Cal shook hands with half the crowd, My personal memory- before the game as I was walking through one of the tunnels in the Warehouse, a limo pulled up right next to us, and as the door opened, all I saw was a head full of pure white hair. As the person stood up, I saw it was Joe DiMaggio. Amazingly, when we left through the same tunnel at the end of the game, Joltin’ Joe walked out of the warehouse and back into the limo right in front of us again. It felt like one of the baseball gods had graced our presence.
We’ve gone through quite a drought the past 11+ years. When I was young the Orioles were the model franchise in all of professional sports. While we wait and hope for the club to turn around, hopefully before my one year old gets her learner’s permit, we’ve got to hang onto something. That’s where these memories come in. The Birds have some position players that can be the core needed to bring back the magic to the Yard – guys like Markakis, Adam Jones, Roberts, Wieders – if the young pitchers still in the farm system pan out, a big if I know – hopefully we can all add some new memories to go along with those from 20 years ago
I would love to hear about your best O’s memories. Please post your favorite times and we can get some good carma going.
Briefly, do the Ravens make a big play for Anquan Bouldin? I say if they could get him for our 1st and 3rd rounders, go for it. Derek Mason might only have 1 year left. The track record for 1st round receivers is the worst for any position. Bouldin is 28, is a beast with the ball, and although he doesn’t stretch the field the way a real burner might, his yards after catch would make up for that. We’ve got a true franchise QB – let’s give him the weapons to take us to the promised land.