Tag Archive | "Cal Ripken"

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Reaction to the passing of Orioles manager Earl Weaver

Posted on 19 January 2013 by WNST Staff

“Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball. This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans.

Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Marianna, and to his family.”-Orioles owner Peter Angelos, via a team release.

“Every time I look at an Oriole, it’s going to be missing a feather now without Earl.“-Orioles manager Buck Showalter 

“Earl was such a big part of Orioles baseball and personally he was a very important part of my life and career…and a great friend to our family. His passion for the game and the fire with which he managed will always be remembered by baseball fans everywhere and certainly by all of us who had the great opportunity to play for him. Earl will be missed but he can’t and won’t be forgotten.”-Cal Ripken Jr. 

“I would say that Earl Weaver had the greatest impact on me as a baseball player-more than anyone else. He was tough to get along with and only cared about winning, but he is the reason why Oriole baseball is what is today. Earl was a genius and a Hall of Fame manager, and the closest that’s ever got to that is the man we have right now in Buck Showalter.”-Former Orioles catcher and MASN broadcaster Rick Dempsey.

“It’s a sad day for Orioles fans and all of baseball. Earl certainly was one of the greatest managers. To me, his greatest strength was his ability to get his players to focus on playing the game on a daily basis. The results were many wins, and a Hall of Fame career.”-Former Orioles OF Ken Singleton, who played for Earl Weaver from 1975-1982.

“O’s and MLB family lost a great leader yesterday. Earl Weaver wasn’t blessed with height but if u measured his HEART he was a 7 footer.

The man lived a great life. I think it should be a celebration. 82 years is a remarkable feat.”-Orioles OF Adam Jones

“[Earl] was a strange, intense but unforgettable man…a big part of my youth.”-Broadcaster and longtime Oriole fan Roy Firestone.

“It’s a sad day, obviously. Earl was a terrific manager and I have to be grateful that Earl was with us for the Legends Series and we got a chance to spend time with him for every single statue ceremony unveiling. He is terrific. His simplicity and clarity of his leadership and his passion for baseball are unmatched. He’s a treasure for the Orioles and we are so grateful we had the opportunity to work with him this year.” -Orioles Executive VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette

“Really sad to hear about that today.  He meant a lot to this city and to this organization.  You wouldn’t want to be anywhere else for today to spend all day with Oriole players and thousands of Orioles fans just to remember everything about him.” -Steve Johnson, Orioles Pitcher

“It was the perfect relationship. We won, he was tough, we got our World Series checks. It worked…you don’t ever forget an Earl Weaver. And not just if you were an umpire. Fans, players, everyone…Earl was about winning and that was what he did.

It’s a sad day for any of us that knew Earl but it’s also a sad day, I think, for anybody that has been involved with Orioles baseball. We were lucky to have him here because he did end up in the Hall of Fame. He managed some marvelous teams. But I think now we all share the pain of him being gone.

Earl never wanted to be your friend because I think he thought it would detract from his ability to be a manager.  But the one thing he did want to do — he let you know that he was loyal to you by putting your name in the lineup. You can’t really ask for much more than that.

One of the great stories is Mike Flanagan came up to me and said ‘One year you had pitched 5 innings. It was your second or third time out at spring training and you were running foul line to foul line. He (Earl Weaver) called me over to the bench and said you see that guy out there? And Mike said you mean Jim Palmer? He said yes, just do what he does and you will be fine here in the big leagues’. Mike would always tell me that and I almost wanted to call Flanny to tell him that Earl had passed away. But he (Earl Weaver) said if you do what he does things are going to take care of themselves. Couple of years ago up at the Hall of Fame, the night before the induction I told him that story and said one of the biggest compliments you ever paid me, not directly to me, was what you told Mike Flanagan.  He looked at me and said I just didn’t tell Flanagan, I told everybody…” -Former Orioles Pitcher Jim Palmer

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Harbaugh grateful for support of Showalter, Orioles at Thursday’s game

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Harbaugh grateful for support of Showalter, Orioles at Thursday’s game

Posted on 28 September 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Enjoying their final day off before the last six games of the regular season, manager Buck Showalter and some of the Orioles took the opportunity to attend the Ravens’ 23-16 win over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.

What the Orioles skipper didn’t expect was the thunderous ovation he and several of his players would receive when they appeared on the M&T Bank Stadium video screen in the second half. Nearly 71,000 fans exploded into a “Let’s go O’s!” chant and provided a standing ovation as the Orioles in attendance watched the game from Cal Ripken’s suite.

“That was fun. I know the players were buzzing about it,” said Showalter, who was sitting elsewhere before deciding to stop by the suite to say hello to Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and a few others before leaving for the night. “I think it even surprises them sometimes, the reaction that our city and our fans have to what they’re doing this year. I think it’s good, and I’m trying to stay in the background.”

While obviously focused on the task at hand of beating the Browns for the ninth straight time since becoming the coach in Baltimore, John Harbaugh shared his appreciation for the support shown by Showalter and Orioles players and offered his thoughts on what’s happening with Baltimore’s other professional sports team this year.

“I think the world of that team,” Harbaugh said. “I love Buck. I think he does a great job. They play fundamentally-sound baseball. This is a special team.”

An avid college football fan, Showalter was trying to leave the suite as his players and stadium personnel urged him to stay, obviously with the plan of showing the manager and his players on the video board. As fans erupted into loud cheers, Showalter wanted the energy to assist the Ravens in protecting their closer-than-expected lead over the winless Browns.

“They were trying to time it,” Showalter said. “I guess they needed a big defensive stand there or something. They thought it’d be a good reaction to the players on the board. I was hoping and praying it was going to be three-and-out afterwards. Otherwise, we’d never be [invited] back, but I think it was. And that’s when I left. I’m leaving in a hurry [after that].’”

Harbaugh offered high praise of the Orioles’ historic success in one-run games and extra-inning contests this season as they’ve already secured their first winning season in 15 years and are on the verge of earning their first postseason berth since 1997 as well.

The Orioles entered Friday with a 27-9 record in one-run games this season, which is on pace to tie the highest winning percentage in major league history in games decided by one run. They’ve won a franchise-record 16 straight games that have gone to extra innings, the longest streak in the majors since the 1949 Indians won 17 in a row.

Growing up in Ohio, Harbaugh recalled listening to Indians games on the radio with his father Jack, who is the bigger baseball fan. The Baltimore coach sees similarities between the Orioles and his own team in 2012.

“How many close games have they won this year? I think they set a record,” Harbaugh said. “One-run games, extra-inning games, finding a way to win. It’s something that we can look at as a team, too, and say, ‘That’s what we did a little bit last night.’ You find a way to win games.”

Unlike any other time in the 17-year period in which the franchises have co-existed in Baltimore, this is the first season in which Baltimore fans have had a reason to be excited about both teams in September and, if they’re lucky, well into the month of October.

Harbaugh made it clear the Ravens are behind the Orioles, inviting Showalter out to watch practice whenever he wants but also acknowledging the Orioles manager and his players are a little preoccupied these days. He even admitted to taking a peak when the result of the Yankees game was shown on the video board during Thursday’s game.

“The Ravens are big fans of the Orioles,” Harbaugh said. “We’re cheering them on in this pennant race. The Yankee score came up last night; I did happen to see that, I have to admit.”

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Art Modell on the life of Art Modell – celebrating his amazing life all weekend at WNST.net

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Art Modell on the life of Art Modell – celebrating his amazing life all weekend at WNST.net

Posted on 07 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve been reading a lot about the life and times of Art Modell over the last 24 hours. Obviously, my heart has been heavy with the loss of his charm, humor and kindness not only for my selfish emotions but for everyone who ever loved Mr. Modell. I’ll never forget seeing the raw emotions of Ray Lewis, Ozzie Newsome, Kevin Byrne and John Harbaugh yesterday in Owings Mills.

Today and all weekend at WNST.net & AM 1570 we will be presenting what I feel is the finest radio interview of my career – a long-winded, emotional, retrospective of the life and times of Arthur B. Modell, told in his own words.

In 2004, just after I retired from hosting a daily show after 13 years of grinding out quality sports talk radio, I decided to do a series of “sit downs” – I called them “Barbara Walters-style interviews” – with many Baltimore sports legends. Art Donovan, Cal Ripken, Phil Savage, Brian Billick, Marvin Lewis, Pam Shriver, Lenny Moore, Bob Ehrlich and several others were kind enough to participate in a series of monthly chats I did to shed light on their careers and how they came to enter their chosen field of work.

Every conversation was personal and memorable but nothing like my time with Art Modell.

I joined Art Modell at his office at M&T Bank Stadium in the spring of 2004 and wound up taking the better part of two mornings to get all of the questions answered.

I haven’t even listened to these yet myself to know exactly all of the ground we covered. I do remember him saying at the end, “You have enough there for a book. No one has ever asked me that many questions before!”

I remember him being emotional several times when I asked about his father. I remember him being a little upset at some of the line of questioning. I remember him being incredibly thoughtful and patient as I probed some memories that he was mostly uncomfortable sharing with me.

But I think we both brought our “A games” with us those two days as we chatted about his entire life and the many people who affected him and shaped his world. How he met soap opera actress Patricia Breslin and married her and adopted her two young sons, David and John. Tales of Jim Brown, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Ozzie Newsome, Ray Lewis, Lou Groza, Cleveland, the Browns, Bernie Kosar, Bill Belichick, Pete Rozelle – there’s a lot of meat in this conversation.

This will take some time – there’s about 3 hours worth of chatter here, most of it dominated by Art telling the best stories of his life.

The last question I asked him was stolen from Jim Lipton (and Bernard Pivot):

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Art Modell deadpanned: “First and long…”

There’s a lot of humor in this conversation as well because that was Art’s Way.

We’ll be playing this interview all weekend on WNST-AM 1570. You can listen in your car or you can click below to take with you wherever you go.

I hope you enjoy the chat. And, quite frankly, I hope it’s as good as I remember it being.

Here are the links via WNST.net and our Buy A Toyota audio vault:

Part 1 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 2 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 3 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 4 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 5 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 6 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 7 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 8 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

Part 9 of my WNST.net sitdown with Art Modell

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For one night, the “Magic” of Orioles baseball returned to Baltimore

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For one night, the “Magic” of Orioles baseball returned to Baltimore

Posted on 07 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

As much as we can credit any number of factors on the field – the Matt Wieters home run, the Adam Jones home run, the Mark Reynolds home run, the Chris Davis home run – what everyone in the ballpark at Oriole Park at Camden Yards will always remember about Sept. 6, 2012 was the energy of the crowd.

 

Last week I wrote about Adam Jones’ Twitter pleas for more support from Baltimore’s baseball fans amidst an embarrassing number of empty seats for a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox last week. Yesterday, I predicted the special nature of last night’s game simply because of the sheer volume of Orioles fans that would engage with the team inside he stadium.

 

As the Orioles Magic song says: “You make the magic happen…”

 

And last night the heroics on the field and the outcome better represented the weary and jubilant fan base more than anything that Peter Angelos has repeatedly done to extinguish the fire and passion of Baltimore Orioles fans around the world.

 

On a personal note, this is exactly why I led the “Free The Birds” walkout in 2006. It’s why I’ve been so vocal regarding the demise of the franchise and have illuminated the many reasons for the great emptiness in the city, stadium and in our hearts as Orioles fans.

 

Last night was what Baltimore Orioles baseball was about for two generations. It’s the finest example of what’s been missing since 1997 amidst a circus of mismanagement, mean-spirited and petty behavior and a flat-out awful product on the field that this city has endured.

 

The last chapter of the 2012 Baltimore Orioles is far from written and we’ll continue to chronicle it here at WNST.net and our many social media resources during the games – even the ones the Orioles won’t win during this stretch run.

 

The ballpark is sure to be electric again tonight and all week as the 2012 Baltimore Orioles have a chance to be, in the words of manager Buck Showalter, “pile divers.”

 

But Thursday night will live in the minds of fans for a long time. What a night to have a ticket for a Baltimore Orioles game and be a part of that kind of a local sporting event!

 

I’ve been doing sports media for almost 29 years and I’ll never forget the wide-ranging emotions of Thursday – from the death of Art Modell before sunrise to the emotions and love for him in Owings Mills in the early afternoon to the Cal Ripken statue ceremony to every pitch in a rollercoaster ride of a game vs. the New York Yankees.

 

It was the most exciting night of Baltimore baseball since 1979 at Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street when Doug DeCinces ignited a two-decade love affair with a huge home run to beat the Detroit Tigers.

 

You can argue for any of the Cal Ripken 2131 proceedings in 1995 or the Rick Sutcliffe Opener in 1992 or any of the playoff energy in 1996 and 1997. Obviously the 1989 Why Not? season – led by the Mike Devereaux foul-poul homer – and the 1983 World Series win will have memories to mark on our baseball journey.

 

But for a single game on a single night with the impact and the stakes being first place against the New York Yankees? And the statue dedication of Cal Ripken replete with every living legend in the history of the franchise being inside the jammed, overflowing ballpark?

 

I’ve been an Orioles fan since 1972.

 

I’ve never seen anything or been a part of anything baseball-oriented in Baltimore that was more special than Thursday night at Camden Yards.

 

The only thing that could top last night would be some playoff games next month and a parade down Pratt Street. As I wrote last week, anything is possible with this new-found Orioles Magic.

 

Onto Day 2 of a week of Baltimore sports magic.

 

Who says it’s Purple Friday?

 

Maybe, for one day at least, it’s Purple and Orange Friday?

 

And as a lifelong fan of the Orioles and the Ravens, that’s beautiful music to my ears.

 

 

 

 

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Time to “Buckle up” — there’s Orioles Magic in air for Baltimore tonight

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Time to “Buckle up” — there’s Orioles Magic in air for Baltimore tonight

Posted on 06 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

All of these wins and hours of scoreboard watching for fans of the Baltimore Orioles – and finally – tonight the city will fill Camden Yards with the “magic” that only a Cal Ripken event can exert for the Charm City.

Alas, no scriptwriter in Hollywood or even a “Major League” movie redux could’ve dreamed up the juiciness that this unexpected Baltimore Orioles pennant run has facilitated this weekend.

Last week, the stands were empty as the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox came to town.

This weekend, with the New York Yankees on the ropes and the Orioles surging and trailing the Evil Empire by just one game in the AL East, Camden Yards will be buzzing with orange energy for the first time in eight years despite the “premium pricing” methods of Peter Angelos’ staff.

In the land of pleasant living, we call it “Orioles Magic.” Berthed in 1979 under Wild Bill Hagy with Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Rick Dempsey and Earl Weaver, brought to life by a World Series win in 1983 and resurrected duing the “Why Not?” campaign of 1989, the city’s enthusiasm and genuine love for the Baltimore Orioles has been dormant for the better part of 15 years at Camden Yards under the weight of last place and its own evil ownership regime.

But tonight none of that will matter because the Orioles can beat the Yankees and go back into first place in September.

Hard to believe it was 17 years ago tonight that Cal Ripken ran his victory lap amidst the confetti and “One Moment In Time.”

And make no mistake about it, a statue ceremony and a fancy giveaway item would’ve brought plenty of people to Camden Yards tonight no matter the record of the 2012 Orioles.

But what we’re going to witness – or in my case, be a part of – tonight should truly be “magical” for any longtime fan of the Baltimore Orioles.

Despite falling out of first place with last night’s loss in Toronto combined with a Yankees win in Tampa, tonight’s game once again has first place on the line and the 46,000 who are holders of these lucky tickets should be expected to bring full O-R-I-O-L-E-S voices tonight as Camden Yards should erupt with sound where previously it’s been a bunch of excuses and reasons for why the seats are empty.

I’m going to the game tonight. And, yes, I bought a ticket.

Other than “Free The Birds” events, it’s the first ticket I’ve purchased since 2004.

It’s worth going tonight to feel the civic energy and I’ll be bellied up to the centerfield bar soaking in the energy and enthusiasm that I wrote about in 2006 when WNST led the “Free The Birds” movement.

And in as much as some have twisted my words, I’ve never wanted anything more than what we currently have in Baltimore – a relevant baseball team that brings together the community for a common cause.

I’m not sure some fans are really prepared emotionally for what tonight will look and feel like inside Camden Yards.

Internally, many of the longtime employees certainly couldn’t have had any fire drills for this. And the players on the field – Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, the core guys who have only seen the stands full of Yankees or Red Sox fans over the years – should especially soak in the noise tonight because they’ve earned the right to Baltimore’s cheers with their solid play and the excitement they’ve filled our living rooms with this summer.

I think even Derek Jeter will be taken aback because he hasn’t seen anything like this since 1997. Usually, it’s 40,000 Yankees fans beating on the home team.

It won’t be that way tonight.

This is the Baltimore Orioles chance  – players, coaches, employees and ownership alike – to drastically move the needle on the fan

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Baltimore Co Executive wants residents to support orange Thursday

Posted on 04 September 2012 by WNST Staff

Kamenetz Declares Thursday “Orange You Pumped?” day in Baltimore County

All County Citizens and Employees Encouraged to Wear Oriole Orange to Work

Towson, MD (September 6, 2012) – Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz may be attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, but he is tuned into ESPN, keeping track of Orioles’ late season charge to overcome the Yankees and win the division.

Getting caught up in Oriole Magic, the County Executive declared Thursday, September 6 “Orange You Pumped?” day in Baltimore County.  ”I can’t think of a better day to paint the town orange than this Thursday,” said Kamenetz.  ”Baltimore County’s resident Iron Man Cal Ripken will have his statue dedicated early that evening and the Orioles will begin a four-game series against the Yankees with a golden opportunity to shock the baseball world.  I hope everyone will wear orange to work that day, and I hope that later that night Camden Yards will be a sea of orange.  You just have to love Buck and this team.  It’s a different hero every night.”

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Cal Ripken’s mother found safe after being abducted at gunpoint

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Cal Ripken’s mother found safe after being abducted at gunpoint

Posted on 25 July 2012 by WNST Staff

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How can Baltimore simply allow the Orioles to rot like this under Angelos’ greed & profiteering?

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How can Baltimore simply allow the Orioles to rot like this under Angelos’ greed & profiteering?

Posted on 01 April 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

There’s no sense in shirking the responsibility here in Baltimore — the facts that show this community has been complicit in the damage done during this baseball free fall on the field and profiteering being done off the field by Peter Angelos via MASN. The truth is this: we get the government we deserve.

And the truth is that we get the Major League Baseball team that we tolerate as a community.

The Orioles are about to enter their 15th consecutive year of irrelevance and losing. Fans in Baltimore have turned away from the stadium by the millions instead of demanding a better product and an owner with the integrity to run the team in the best interests of the community.

The judges allowed this to happen by allowing television moguls to pass along unavoidable, mandatory charges you never know about and you vote for these judges.

Comcast (or your local cable TV provder) has passed along the “Angelos Tax” to you and you simply keep paying the bill.

The politicians allowed this to happen to the heart of Baltimore on summer nights and you elect the politicians. You elect the politicians who allow Major League Baseball an almost inarguable anti-trust exemption and public financing for stadia while they pad their pockets and Angelos shirks his “sacred responsibility” here in Baltimore to attempt to field a competitive team that stimulates interest and economic impact to the local economy.

Many local businesses and business owners – intimidated for one reason or another – all talk dirty out of the corner of their mouths to me at cocktail parties all over Baltimore yet no one except me and this radio station and web entity that I own have spoken up over the years and reported the dirty facts.

I am very proud of Free The Birds. I’m proud of being the only one to speak the truth and report the facts. I sleep well at night knowing that I’m TRYING to make a difference and get this corrected for the community.

WNST is the only free media company in the marketplace that is banned from covering the team while CBS Radio, The Sun, WBAL, Pressbox, etc. all have continued to exchange corporate media backrubs and “partnerships” while not demanding accountability from Peter Angelos.

 

Many others — from intimidated former Orioles players who need the autograph money to local fans, former season ticket holders and businesses who previously wrote a direct check to the Baltimore Orioles to sponsor the franchise — all now cough and “look the other way” while the city has been emptied of more than 2 million people every summer. The Ravens’ and their everlasting prosperity seems to only make it easier to turn away from the Orioles.

How can it be possible that local businesses downtown and at the Inner Harbor simply await the arrival of visiting fans from Boston, New York and Philadelphia in order to turn a profit off the fortunes of the Baltimore Orioles?

It’s unspeakable, shameful and YOU should be ashamed of our community for allowing it happen.

When all of this cowardice and the collective “turning of the heads” stops, perhaps the fate of the Baltimore Orioles will change?

Here’s what WNST.net is doing about this Thursday and Friday night as we hold a candlelight vigil and an Opening Day protest of the ownership and the way the team has been run into the ground for Baltimore and its baseball fans…

 

You can follow our Facebook page here and follow us on Twitter @FreeTheBirds12

 

Staying away from the ballpark and not contributing by buying tickets and $8 beers has simply not worked to correct the issues with Peter Angelos and improve the baseball team. We’ve been writing about it here at WNST.net and opining at AM 1570 for the better part of a decade.

Sometimes I think that everyone knows the dirty little secret about Angelos and

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Unlucky Chapter 13: ‘The Magic’ and ‘The Oriole Way’ got stranded on 33rd Street…

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Unlucky Chapter 13: ‘The Magic’ and ‘The Oriole Way’ got stranded on 33rd Street…

Posted on 17 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published as a prelude to the “Free The Birds” walkout in 2006, this is Part 13 of a 19 Chapter Series on How Bseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. Please save Thursday, April 5th for some civic action regarding the demise of the Orioles in Baltimore.)

There is very little question that Camden Yards only holds a handful of good memories for most of the “old school” Orioles fans who lived through the glorious Memorial Stadium days.

Maybe you consider the Bill Hasselman vs. Mike Mussina brawl in 1993 memorable. Or perhaps that Brad Pennington head-jerking launch toward The Warehouse by Ken Griffey Jr. on that Sunday afternoon in that pretty teal jersey jogs your memory a bit.

Opening Day and Sutcliffe in 1992 was also pretty outstanding.

The night Mussina almost threw that perfect game was memorable. And how about the night he took a liner off of his face?

And the ALCS games at Camden Yards in 1996 and 1997, while not victorious, were at least memorable.

The Marquis Grissom home run. The Todd Zeile incident. The Cecil Fielder home run. The Tony Fernandez home run. Darryl Strawberry, of all people, coming back to haunt the Orioles with home run after home run in October 1996.

Our community stole the Browns from Cleveland so we might have had karma working against us for that 1997 ALCS disappointment coming to us as fans — especially after that Robbie Alomar blast at The Jake the previous fall — but the Yankees thing in 1996 was just insufferable.

On second thought, maybe we CHOOSE to not remember some of the stuff during those two WINNING seasons because we got stuck watching the World Series on TV. And there’s very little doubt that the BALTIMORE Orioles were the best overall team in baseball throughout that ’97 season.

My feelings about those years are probably the same way my Pop would’ve felt about 1973 and 1974. He never talked about those years as particularly good (although he loved Rich Coggins) because 1966 and 1970 and, even 1969 and 1971, were so much better and more memorable for him.

Yeah, we were good in ’96 and ’97, and we had some big wins, but when it really mattered the most, in October — the big at-bats, the big pitches, the big plays, and in the case of Jeffrey Maier in 1996, the big calls — all were tilted mightily in the other direction when all was said and done and World Championship trophies were handed out.

Honestly, as close as we were, we CLEARLY weren’t very close at all when you saw how those games played out in October. And other than Mussina, Brady Anderson and Cal Ripken, none of those players made a dent in the heart of Orioles’ fans.

 

In his most recent public appearance/infomercial this past spring, Peter Angelos informed WJZ’s Denise Koch that “we were one pitch away from the World Series — you must remember that!”

The seats in the owner’s box must’ve shown a different set of games or “time” must’ve illuminated “the glory of their deeds.”

Because from where I sat, it looked like the better team won both years — with or without Jeffrey Maier —

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Chapter 10: Imagine a Baltimore without the Orioles

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Chapter 10: Imagine a Baltimore without the Orioles

Posted on 14 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published as a prelude to the “Free The Birds” walkout in Sept. 2006, this is Part 10 of a 19 Chapter Series on How Baseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. This is an unedited version of the original post without updates regarding Mike Flanagan’s suicide.)

Mike Flanagan is as close to an Orioles’ kindred spirit as I have in the world. Maybe Jim Palmer and Elrod Hendricks and Jimmy Tyler could be thrown in there as well, because they’ve seemed as omnipresent as my fandom of the Orioles.

But, Flanagan is really ” The One,” because in real terms, he’s been with the Orioles as long as I’ve been with the Orioles. And no one else I know, other than my Mom, has stayed in my life all of these years and still keeps popping up.

He came up in 1975, and I really started regularly going to games around that time, when I was 6.

I remember when he first came up, the expectations, the rotation — with Jim Palmer, Scott McGregor and Dennis Martinez, every night was trouble for some AL team — and I probably spent 80 nights of my life inside Memorial Stadium watching Mike Flanagan pitch.

From 1977 to 1984 he never had a sub-par season, only many very good ones and a couple of great ones. He left the Orioles just once — for two-plus years, pitching for the Blue Jays after a trade deadline deal in 1987.

In 1979, he won 23 games and led that magical team every time Earl Weaver threw him out there. It was his best year in baseball. It was mine too!

In 1992, he began his broadcasting career. That’s the same year I left The Evening Sun and went on the radio.

In 2003, he became part of “management”. In early 2005, I did the same thing.

But, even though we’ve gotten to know each other over the years — with him at one point walking up to me (when I didn’t even know he knew I existed) in the late 1990′s and admitting that he was a fan of MINE and addicted to “Nasty Nationwide” and listened every day with his daughter — on that last game at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 6, 1991, Mike Flanagan was just a childhood hero to me. He was, in some ways, larger than life because when I was 10 years old, he took the hill every couple of nights for the centerpiece of my life, the Baltimore Orioles.

Mike Flanagan was one of MY guys! My mood hung on every pitch he threw!
So on that sad-yet-uplifting and chilly October afternoon in 1991 — surrounded by a disgusting Redskins fan actually watching a football game on her laptop TV in Sect. 34 — it was me, Mike Flanagan, my memories of my youth and my best friend Kevin Eck (he keeps popping up doesn’t he!), along with 54,000 others just like us gathering for one of the biggest public tearjerkers in the history of this city.

If you didn’t spend your childhood at Memorial Stadium, you can probably stop reading or listening right around now.

Because you just won’t understand it. You couldn’t possibly think it is anything beyond silly.

It is truly a “Ball’mer thing.”

But EVERYONE who has ever loved the Orioles remembers

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