Play Ball

April 02, 2014 | Tom Federline

That’s how an Opening Day is supposed to feel. Beautiful weather, food on the grill at the stadium, 98% Oriole fans at the Yard, a win and legitimate hope that the Orioles are going to be in post season play. That – ladies and gentlemen is a Maryland Day. National Holiday? Sure go for it. State Holiday? You’re darn right it should be. Or maybe it should be just left the way it is. Screw work – you head “Downtown” – Petula Clark, to where every Oriole fan should be. Either within the confines of or within 1/4 mile of Camden Yards. I believe Monday was my 30th Opening Day. If you’re from Baltimore, if you’re from Maryland, if you’re an O’s fan……… should be you’re own self-proclaimed Maryland Holiday.

“The Boys are Back in Town” – (Thin Lizzy) and the weather broke. That’s good enough for me. The sea of Orange & Black in the foreground of the Camden green stadium with the bright blue sky as a back drop was a nice touch. Buck-Buck taking his cap off and swirling it in a motion as to entice the crowd for more noise was encouraging. Buck-Buck greeting each player as they were introduced after running down the Orange carpet was a nice sign of unity. I think Buck likes this place, Baltimore! The stadium vibrating during the resounding “Oooooooo” during the National Anthem, set the stage. A drama filled, “Baseball purist” type game. Solid defense. A HR by a newcomer. A save from our new “closer” and beating the Boston Red Sux – icing on the cake.

Opening Day is a Spring ritual, no matter what the outcome or the weather. In Baltimore, it is the unofficial beginning of Spring. After this harsh winter, Monday was the cleanest breathe of fresh air Baltimore has had in the last six months.

The Orioles have a shot for the playoffs. Yes, we can say that without hesitation. There was many a year I would say, “They have a shot at .500” and that was pushing it. This team just may have “IT”. The pieces are there, they have a manager, they have pitching, they have offense and I think they have the old “Oriole Way” of defense. Machado is out, not to sure on the “closer”, second base is “open” for the time being and cross fingers that this Lough guy becomes solid in left and as a leadoff hitter. There are some questions, as there should be. But man, the potential is there. You can feel it.

Opening Day wasn’t entirely without a few “shaking my head” moments. Camden Yards audio –  they should be playing all baseball related tunes one hour prior to game time. Just before the opening ceremonies we were hit with some hip-hop/rap jumbled garbage and the theme from Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters? Instead of “Centerfield”, Paradise by the Dashboard Light or Glory Days. I did hear Glory Days but that was early in the day. Then there is the First Edition Orioles Magazine/Program with Ubaldo-more Jimenez on the cover. Nnnnnno! Dude hasn’t pitched one inning for the Orioles and some numbnut places his mug on the Opening Day cover. Nnnnnnno! I like the acquisition. He may be “one” of the links the Orioles needed. I would like to see his picture on the cover of O’s Magazine………….. in September. They should have had Jones, Weiters and Markakis on the cover. Or just Buck. That’s the heart of the ball club. Those are the elder statesmen of this revitalized ball club. They are the ones that will lead the Orioles to the promised land after 31 years.

Welcome back Birds. Everyone strap yourself in. Think it may be quite the roller coaster ride. Opening Day ignited the spark. I guess the only thing that would have made it better, is if some former Oriole would have had a discouraging day in another uniform. Wait-a-minute, it DID happen. Jimmy (JJ) Johnson BLEW his first save attempt as an Oakland A. Have to be careful while casting stones, but …good luck Oakland, he’s your now. You go, Tommy Hunter.

O’s fans should be in a countdown mode already. Adam Jones needs 10 more hits for 1000. It’s going to be a good year. GO O’s!