Well, whatever they did to keep away the New York fans and somehow get orange-colored sweaters into the seats worked. It was a major victory for the Orioles front office, keeping Opening Day from being ruined by a sea of pinstripers.
Then, of course, the outcome, a 10-5 win over the Yankees, didn’t suck either. And the WAY they won, right? A stolen home run with all of the imagery of Jeffrey Maier. They chased the Yankees big-money starter C.C. Sabathia in the fifth inning. The bullpen folded just to the brink of collapse but the offense led the way late in the game. It was a blueprint for how they’re going to win this year (if they’re going to win). Get a solid start. Give way to the bullpen. Hit the ball. Don’t kick the ball around. And take their chances.
No reason to do play-by-play here – I’m assuming you watched the game. Doesn’t everyone watch Opening Day? But the most compelling part of today’s game was the ability to stay into the game and it was a good dramatic start to the season and it gave Orioles fans everywhere some pride, a nice beatdown of the Yankees and Mark Teixeira on Opening Day.
My favorite memory will undoubtedly be the Teixeira boo birds. It was a classic “Welcome Home” for Tex, who said he didn’t expect anything like what he saw from his “neighbors” today.
Every time Mark Teixeira came to the plate, the crowd killed him. It was perhaps the most brutal “welcome” for a player in Oriole Park history. I don’t ever remember a specific player getting hammered quite so lustily by the crowd.
Here’s a couple of close ones, this side of John Elway, Denver, circa 1983: the night Pedro Martinez got the “whose your daddy” chant for the Opener in 2004, the night in 2004 when we brought 2,000 fans into the right field bleachers to razz Vladimir Guerrero (I think he had three hits and 6 RBIs that night) after he signed with the Angels, maybe Bill Hasselback after the fight, certainly Cito Gaston anytime after the 1993 All-Star Game. Sammy Sosa certainly got the great signs and scorn as a Cubbie when he came in town after getting popped with the “Scarlet S.”
But the Teixeira raspberries were right up there on Opening Day. It was well done by the disgruntled Orioles fans, even if you and I probably would’ve done the same thing and signed with the Yankees given the circumstances and the money involved and the notion of being an Oriole and working here with a perennial doormat team. But the Mt. St. Joe star got the ultimate “Baltimore cheer” at the ballpark today. Good for the fans!
Today’s win was a recipe for 2009 success. Get a decent starting effort – let’s say six innings or more. Be opportunistic on offense, even when you aren’t hitting home runs. Today, the Orioles strung together hits and walks and aggressive baserunning (did you see that Ty Wigginton tag on a fly ball to Johnny Damon in left field?) to beat the highest-priced team money can buy. Oh, and a few big late hits from Cesar Izturis and Aubrey Huff sealed the fate of the 0-1 Yankees.
They’ll need more efforts like today’s over the course of a long 162-game season. They outplayed the Yankees today, even without the help from that kid in left field who will be 2009’s Jeffrey Maier.
My favorite gaffes, events or notable random notes:
Jim Hunter, direct quote: “We’ve already experienced a lifetime of great memories here in this grand ballpark at Camden Yards.”
Speaking of Hunter, his predecessor was twice caught on camera by MASN, which must’ve flipped out the upper management.
First, Jon Miller was caught in the shot with Joe Angel and Fred Manfra, canoodling with his old chums before taking the ESPN assignment. Then, Miller was with Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer the instant the camera was on them like 60 seconds later. It was crazy and Miller twice went scrambling out of the shot so he didn’t piss anyone off. We all know he should’ve never left to begin with…
Early in the game, when Teixeira was getting mercilessly booed, the MASN HD cameras panned to a women who was nursing a Bud Light and clearly mouthing the words: “a—–hole”…kinda funny!
The “Yankees Suck” cheers early in the game were a nice sound to hear emanating from Camden Yards…
Is it just me or does Dave Trembley look like William Shatner in those goofy MASN commercials where he’s scolding “the media” with his wife as the audience in his living room?
So much to talk about. And it’s just the beginning. A great start to what we all hope is an interesting season for the Orioles.
And the best part? The return of “Oriole Pride” at least for a day. The crowd was eaily 80 percent orange, a major upset.
At least tonight Orioles fans go to bed in sole possession of first place in the AL East.
Let’s see what Koji Uehara can bring on Wednesday.
You really couldn’t ask for much more on Opening Day.