Posted on 25 July 2012 by WNST Staff
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…
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
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 —
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
Posted on 11 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio
(Originally published as a prelude to “Free The Birds” walkout in Sept. 2006, this is Part 7 of a 19 Chapter Series on How Baseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. Follow @FreeTheBirds12 on Twiter for updated information regarding our April 5th events.)
Life was percolating along very nicely for me at the end of the summer of 1983.
There was that awesome trip to St. Louis, the Orioles were doing extremely well, the Phillies (again, I was an idiot!) were busting up Montreal in the NL East, I had a new girlfriend and my junior year at Dundalk High was coming.
Despite this “long distance” romance I was having with the Phillies, I was still VERY involved in going to Orioles games. I didn’t get to as many as I had before (again, once girls came along, it was all downhill for sports!), but I still did about 20 games on 33rd Street in 1983. And, like 1979, all in Sect. 10 General Admission seats, some with my Pop and some with my pals. All of those nights on those long, gold, aluminum benches, complete with the jar-rattling volume when banged on.
And the Phillies and Orioles, it would later be proved, were on a destiny’s collision course for the World Series in October.
My Pop landed some right field seats for Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS at Memorial Stadium and we were all set. Right before the series my Dundalk buddy John Rafalides (at whose wedding I would later be the best man) gave me a buzz and told me his Dad, Pete, had an extra seat in Sect 39, Row 19 right behind home plate upstairs and asked if I wanted it since I was such an Orioles nut.
So, my Pop actually took my Mom to Game 2 and I went with Mr. Pete Rafalides, who was just a super cool guy. He was a realtor and connected with the Greek community. He loved talking sports with me and would always feed me cool munchies when I came to his home. And I mean he FED me! He always had the coolest snacks — Doritos, Dolly Madison cakes, Tastykakes, those chocolate malt balls, all sorts of great stuff!
I caught on quickly and made sure I got to go there every year for Thanksgiving! And later in life, when John became my roommate, I got the residual effect — the baklava, pastitsio, spanakopita, the grape leaves — from every Greek holiday!
But, for whatever reason, John’s dad liked me and off went we to Game 2 — me, Mr. Pete and two of his work friends. And we hung on every pitch! And Mike Boddicker pitched his ass off, a five-hit shuout over the White Sox, and we had a paaaaaah-tttaaaay in Sect. 39 that night. “Wild” Bill Hagy was going nuts over in Sect. 34. We had binoculars and I could see my folks over in right field having fun, too. That was just one of the greatest nights, even 23 years later.
I remember the smell of the air that night, the lights in the sky, how bright the field looked from up in that perch in Sect. 39. The steepness of the seats, the people crowded into that cozy ballpark and trees lined up in the outfield.
I can’t imagine my life without that night.
It was just a beautiful thing, that night. Life was perfect!
Two afternoons later Tito Landrum hit a 3-run homer off of Britt Burns that sent me and my 64-year old Mom onto Bank Street banging pots and pans with the shot heard ’round the beltway, a blast at Comiskey Park that sent the Orioles back into the World Series for the second time in four years and the sixth time in 17 years. I’ll say that again: the Orioles were in the World Series SIX times
Posted on 07 March 2012 by Luke Jones
It’s never easy saying goodbye.
You sometimes see it coming — whether you want to admit it or not — as the fans of Indianapolis did before iconic quarterback Peyton Manning finally took the podium on Wednesday afternoon.
Other times, it comes out of nowhere to hit you like a Mack truck, with no possible way of preparing yourself.
Either way, you’re never truly ready when the moment comes.
Putting aside our city’s well-chronicled feelings toward Indianapolis and the quarterback that twice eliminated the Ravens from the playoffs, you couldn’t help but feel a lump in your throat watching a teary-eyed Manning bid farewell to the city and organization he called home for 14 years. In that moment, an option bonus, the No. 1 pick in the draft, and potential free-agent destinations took a backseat to raw emotion.
And it reminded us that day is coming all too quickly for Ray Lewis in Baltimore.
Of course, the circumstances are different. It appears — but I can’t stress enough that it’s far from a certainty — Lewis will have the opportunity to ride off into the sunset as a member of the same organization that drafted him out of the University of Miami in 1996. There is no $28 million albatross standing in the way over the final four years of Lewis’ current contract, but his cap number will grow annually (he will reportedly make just under $5 million in base salary and have a $6.85 million cap number in 2012) if Lewis holds on longer than expected and forces the organization to make a difficult decision.
But any way you slice it, the scene that played out in Indianapolis on Wednesday will be replicated with Lewis and the Ravens in some shape or form. And it will be difficult to accept.
Sports icons such as Manning and Lewis are a dying breed as time goes on, with fewer athletes sticking around for more than a handful of years in a given city. Their significance goes far beyond simple performance on the field. The former Indianapolis quarterback gave his city a real football identity detached from the stolen heritage of the Baltimore Colts while the Ravens have never played a snap of football without Lewis as a member of the organization.
That’s why it’s so silly to hear discussion of Stanford’s Andrew Luck “replacing” Manning in Indianapolis or the Ravens looking for the “heir apparent” to Lewis at inside linebacker. New players will assume their abandoned positions, but their presence remains in an almost spiritual sense in fans’ minds and hearts.
Make no mistake, the sun will rise in the morning as Indianapolis begins the first full day of the post-Manning era, and the Ravens will continue playing football in Baltimore long after No. 52 ceases dancing out of the tunnel and inflicting fear in the hearts of opposing offenses.
Posted on 07 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio
(Originally published as a prelude to the “Free The Birds” walkout in Sept. 2006, this is Part 3 of a 19 Chapter Series on How baseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. If you’re as upset about the demise of the Baltimore Orioles, please save Thursday, April 5th for some civic action.)
I think the biggest part of my Pop’s revitalization as a person in the 1970′s after his son’s death wasn’t that he found a little sports buddy in me — as a bat boy and an avid baseball, football and basketball watcher — but in the abundance of energy it must’ve taken to keep up with me.
Can you imagine the energy it took a 60-year old, overweight steelworker after a full 90-degree, eight-hour day at Sparrows Point to chase a rambunctious 10-year old boy down from Section 34 in the summer of 1979? That happened every single night! Forty-two games that summer, I swear to God!
My Dad took great pride in volunteering as a Little League coach in my neighborhood, Colgate, near Eastpoint Mall. He won two league championships as the coach of the Colgate-Eastpoint Pirates in 1973 and 1974. It was a four-team league with a great parade through the neighborhood on Opening Day Saturday. It was very a very typical American kinda thing, I thought. I was the team batboy. We had our championship picture and clipping from The Dundalk Eagle on the kitchen wall from the day it was published through my father’s death in 1992. He loved coaching those kids and winning! I liked just being the batboy and being a part of baseball.
All of those “older” kids kind of took me under their wing and made me feel good. They played catch with me, pitched to me — stuff like that. And when you’re 4 or 5, that’s a pretty big deal! These kids were like 12 and 13 years old.
My Pop was such a little league wacko that one time he had a really talented kid named Ted Boccia, who wanted to be a catcher. Only problem was, he was LEFTHANDED!
He was adamant about catching and catching was my Pop’s FAVORITE position, the one he played as a kid. So, clearly being unable to find a left-handed catcher’s mitt anywhere in the known universe in 1973, he wrote to the Rawlings factory, told the story of this boy’s dream to be a left-handed catcher and they had one made and sent it to my Pop. I even think my Pop might’ve paid for it himself. Needless to say, the Eastpoint Pirates had an outstanding left-handed catcher, the only one I’ve ever seen in my life!
As for me during those years, I excelled at the greatest game ever played: waffle ball!
We played in my backyard and alley. All the neighborhood kids did.
There were no “fantasy” leagues or video games. There was APBA and Strat-o-Matic (we honestly didn’t discover those until adolescence and I loved me some “Strat” in the days when I got a little older), but we opted for good old-fashioned “put the bat through the glove” kinda ball.
ANY kind of ball, actually — wallball, wiffleball, kickball, rundown, pitcher’s handout or just plain, baseball — we’d play!
We’d play with pinkies (those soft spongy balls), we’d play with superballs, but mostly we’d play with tennis balls and wooden bats on the pavement at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on the back side of Eastern Avenue. We’d play ANYTHING but softball,
Posted on 21 October 2011 by Tom Federline
Tomorrow, Saturday October 22 at noon, there will be an unveiling of statue down at the Camden Yards Complex. A statue dedicated to Brooks Robinson has been sculptured and is planned to have a home in a small plaza in the median between Pickles Pub and the non-utilized NW Russell Street left field entrance to Camden Yards. Finally, someone made a sensible baseball/City of Baltimore decesion to erect a statue of a Baltimore Oriole at Camden Yards. In contrast to the blockheads who chose to erect a statue of the Red Sox/Yankee icon, Babe Ruth. It only took the Orioles and the City almost 20 years to figure that one out. Yet another display of the ineptitude of the Baltimore Orioles organization. Wonders never cease, the brainstorm to recognize a Baltimore Oriole Legend actually at the Baltimore Orioles home field.
Brooks Robinson was and will always be “Mr. Oriole”. The “Human Vacuum”, finally getting recognition. A name synonymous with the Baltimore Orioles and Greatest Third Baseman to ever play the game. Hopefully they didn’t hire the same numbnut that sculptured that misplaced Yankee statue out at the North Eutaw Street plaza. If so, Brooks may be fielding with a left handers mitt. For those of you who may not know, the statue of the Babe has him holding a right handers catchers mitt. Yeah, they done blown that one. Babe was a left handed pitcher/outfielder/first baseman. They try to save face by saying, the sculpture represents the Babe at St. Marys School. No, ya done blown it.
I have not seen previews of the Brooks statue, but I sure would like to see the statue of Brooks poised in his classic fielding position.
Does a statue of Brooks belong at the Camden Yards Complex? Absolutely. Brooks is in declining health and it is fitting this honor comes while he is still on this earth. He deserves to experience this. I like the location. It would be more fitting if they would relocate that Red Sox/Yankee statue at least over to the Babes namesake museum on Emory Street and get it off Baltimore Oriole territory! I say keep the north Eutaw Street entrance for the retired numbers deal only or potential site for the statue of future owner and Baltimore Iron Man icon - Cal Ripken.
Let’s “Lay It On the Line” here – (Triumph). What is a statue of Babe Ruth doing at the home of the Baltimore Orioles? Answer – he was born here. So what? As a child he lived in a house/bar on the grounds of the baseball field. So what? Was the great Bambino ever associated with the Baltimore Orioles? Answer – Yes, he played 3 months for the minor league Baltimore Orioles and then was traded to the Boston Red Sox. What numbnut decided to put that statue at one of the main entrances to the ballpark in the first place? What group of numbnuts decided that it was appropriate to put a statue up of a man who is clearly identified with the New York Yankees? Old Yankee Stadium was commonly referred to as – “The House that Ruth Built”. I am a fan of Babe Ruth. I have seen the movies. I have read the books. The statue belongs in New York or over at Emory Street.
Statue of Cal? To early? Has he obtain that status? Cal breaking Lou Gehrigs consecutive game record at Camden Yards will always be etched in the minds of all Oriole fans. Could you call Cal, the second Mr. Oriole? In my book - yes. Brooks and Cal - one team for their entire career while representing the organization with class. If Cal would buy out Angelos and turn this organization around……….I’ll sculpture the statue of Cal. Well maybe not, I may end up putting Rafael Plameiro and Brady Anderson in there, sneaking up behind him and injecting Cal with HGH. Whoops, let’s not go there with this blog.
Finally a statue worth checking out prior to going to the ball game, Brooks Robinson – now your talking. For goodness sakes relocate that Yankee Saltan of Swat and just get it off the Baltimore Oriole grounds. Make room for the new sheriff. Congratulations Brooks. Congratulations Orioles organization – you may actually have done something right. We’ll see tomorrow.
Posted on 24 August 2011 by WNST Staff
Orioles Owner Peter Angelos:
“It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of my friend Mike Flanagan earlier this evening. In over a quarter century with the organization, Flanny became an integral part of the Orioles family, for his accomplishments both on and off the field. His loss will be felt deeply and profoundly by all of us with the ballclub and by Orioles fans everywhere who admired him. On behalf of the club I extend my condolences to his wife, Alex; and daughters Kerry, Kathryn and Kendall.”
Former teammate/Hall of Fame SS Cal Ripken Jr.:
“I am so sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. He was a good friend and teammate and our thoughts are with Alex and his family. Mike was an Oriole through and through and he’ll be sorely missed by family, friends and fans. This is a sad day.”
Former teammate/Hall of Fame P Jim Palmer (via MASN postgame show):
“I’m not real good at this … because he was one of us. I guess, the first thing I want to say to his three daughters and to Alex, my condolences. We were a family. I think anybody that played for the Orioles in the eras that we played understood how lucky we were. It wasn’t just about what happened on the field. He was one of a kind. I’m sorry for the people that knew him. It’s devastating.”
Longtime Orioles Public Relations Manager Bill Stetka (via Patch.com):
“He bled black and orange. He was one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known. Just a quick, dry sense of humor. He made in all the years I was traveling in PR, whether he was broadcasting or pitching coach or the general manager, he made it bearable with all the losses. He kept his sense of humor. He was very introspective. I’m going to miss him.”
Former teammate Rick Dempsey (via Baltimore Sun):
“It’s just shock right now. I know everybody that played with him loved him to death. He was the backbone of that pitching staff. He never quit — this guy never quit. He was there for the duration. We had so many great games and so many great times. I just can’t believe it.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter (via MASN postgame show):
“He’s just impacted so many lives, including myself. Sitting in my office, drinking coffee with him, it’s tough. He made great use of his time on this earth. We’ll miss him.”
Former Orioles PR Director John Maroon:
“I had the pleasure of working with Mike Flanagan for several years and was sad to hear of his passing. Mike was always friendly, funny and kind. We are so sorry for his family and they are in our thoughts and prayers tonight.”
Orioles CF Adam Jones (via Twitter):
“O’s family, fans, supporters lost a great man today in Mike Flanagan. Learned alot from Flanny in my 3+ years in Bmore. Ur missed ALOT #46″
Orioles Pitcher Jake Arrieta (via Twitter):
“Deeply saddened by the loss of Mike Flanagan, devastating time for the entire Oriole family…”
Orioles Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (via Twitter):
“From day I was given #46 as Oriole,the fans always reminded me of the legacy Mike Flanagan left behind.This is a sad day for Orioles family. Mike Flanagan was an important person to me & touched the lives of countless people in the baseball family & especially in Baltimore. RIP”
Former teammate Ken Singleton (via The Morning Reaction on WNST – listen here):
“Flanny was a great guy, a great teammate. Always could crack up a clubhouse.”
“I know he wasn’t happy with the way things were going with the team. I’m sure it bothered him like it bothered everyone else.”
“Flanny had a way of keeping things loose. Fans could see that on TV.”
“This was one of the best teammates I’ve ever had and to have it end this way is not good.”
Former Orioles manager Earl Weaver (via WNST):
“He was a great pitcher. It was a player-manager relationship. I didn’t know Mike that well.”
“But when I retired and got to know Mike as general manager, he was very friendly.”
Orioles Pitcher Chris Jakubauskus (via Twitter):
“The Orioles Family lost a great man today. My thoughts and prayers Go out to the Flanagan family. He will be missed.”
Orioles Pitching Prospect Matt Hobgood (via Twitter):
“So sad to hear about Mike Flanagan. No words can ease the pain of losing a father, son, brother, uncle… It’s the worst feeling ever… RIP”
Orioles 1B Prospect Brandon Snyder (via Twitter):
“Flanny will be dearly missed by everyone in the orioles family. A great man and a great Oriole. #46″
Posted on 22 July 2011 by Glenn Clark
On Friday’s edition of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST, Thyrl Nelson and I celebrated Sunday’s Cooperstown Hall of Fame inductions of Roberto Alomar and Pat Gillick with a four hour tribute to the 1996 & 1997 Baltimore Orioles.
During the show, I named my Top 10 moments during that special run in O’s history. As I explained last week, these Birds represented “The Only Magic I’ve Ever Known.”
(I didn’t include Jeffrey Maier or the season ending games in either season on this list. These were the memories we WANT to remember.)
10. Ripken passes Kinugasa (June 15, 1996)
When Cal Ripken played in his 2,216th consecutive game in Kansas City, he already owned the record for consecutive games played.
If he had stopped at 2,210 consecutive games, there would have been no argument that he didn’t hold the record.
With no offense to Sachio Kinugasa, but nothing that happens in Japan can be fairly compared to anything in Major League Baseball. When Ripken surpassed Lou Gehrig in 1995, the record was his.
That being said, the fact that Kinugasa was able to attend the game at Kauffman Stadium made the warm June night pretty special. The evident connection between the two men made the night even more fun for baseball fans.
If you ever get the chance to chat with CSNBaltimore.com writer (and longtime Baltimore Sun columnist) John Eisenberg about this night, please do. The stories are a LOT of fun. I’d tell you myself, but they aren’t my stories.
9. Mussina NEARLY perfect (May 30, 1997)
I have never been more captivated by watching a baseball game than I was that Friday night.
At the time, Home Team Sports (HTS) was still a premium channel on Comcast in Baltimore County. Friday night games however were regularly available over the air (most on WNUV 54), allowing 8th graders like myself to sit at home and watch the games instead of hanging out with our friends.
I’ll never forgive Sandy Alomar for the hit that he managed off Mike Mussina in the 9th inning that night. His brother is my baseball idol, but his name is evil in my mind.
There’s been only one Orioles no-hitter in my lifetime (a combined effort from Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson in 1991), never a solo no-hitter. I’ve seen the Orioles no-hit themselves a couple of times, but I’ve never seen an Orioles pitcher throw a no-no.
I really thought I was going to that night.
8. Wire to wire (September 25, 1997)
With their 9-3 defeat of the Blue Jays at the building formerly known as SkyDome, the O’s clinched their first AL East title since 1983.
More significantly, they became only the sixth team in MLB history to win the division title going “wire to wire”, in first place from Opening Day to Game 162.
It was a remarkable run for the Birds, although 14 year old Glenn Clark may not have fully realized how significant it was because he was too worried about playoff matchups and hoping to avoid the Yankees in the ALCS.
He got his way. Unfortunately it didn’t end up making much of a difference.
7. Brady gets 50 (September 29, 1996)
The legacy of Brady Anderson’s 50 home run season in 1996 can certainly be labeled as “clouded” at best.
That being said, whether the 50 home run campaign (which concluded with a dinger on the season’s final day in Toronto) was aided by substance or simply a result of a former leadoff hitter “reaching his athletic opus”, it still stands as the only time in Orioles history a player has reached the mark.
(Frank Robinson previously held the team record with 49.)
Despite the rumors, following Brady’s home run exploits in 1996 was fun for Orioles fans-especially the stretch were he lead off four straight games by going yard.
And no matter how we felt about it, there’s little chance the Orioles make a run to the ALCS in 1996 without those 50 home runs.
6. A walk off slam (May 17, 1996)
Anderson’s “moment” was a season in the making. The Ripken “moment” was nearly 14 years in the making.
Hoiles’ “moment”? Roughly one swing in the making.
The Orioles trailed the Seattle Mariners 13-10 in the 9th inning. What happened next was something I had practiced in my back yard roughly 160,000,000,000 times.
With two outs, the bases loaded and a 3-2 count (of COURSE it was a 3-2 count), Chris Hoiles hit what can only be described as the MOST ultimate of “ultimate grand slams.”
Thank God I hadn’t stopped watching that night.