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.