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walk off 04-29

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Orioles Best Season Since……..Why Not

Posted on 01 January 2013 by Tom Federline

It’s that time of year again. Time for reflection. Time for regrouping. Time to start out the New Year on a positive. SO…….. how ’bout ‘dem 2012 O’s hun? It only took 22 years for this O’s fan to get that “old school – down to the bone chilling – orange and black – Orioles Magic,” feeling back into my soul. And it felt good. The town was energized, young Oriole fans finally experienced a Baltimore Orioles summer, many Oriole fans cleared off the cobwebs and  the hard core Oriole fans were revived. It had ”Been Such a Longtime” – Boston. That was a nice touch by the way, from the Camden Yards Audio/visual folks, playing that song at the park at the end of the season.

1989 – the “Why Not” – year. 2012 – the “We’re Not Giving Up” year. Early season perception of those two years: 1989 – the Orioles seemingly on a downward spiral, especially after the 0 – 21 start and 54-107 1988 season. 2012 – the Orioles below .500 since 1997 and ranked 28th out of 30 teams in the Power rankings. So naturally, what has become an annual tradition, I went out and bought an Orioles gaming ticket for them to win the World Series, this year at 125 to 1. Sadly, couldn’t cash in. Happy, probably won’t see those odds again anytime soon.

Remember1989? Frank Robinson was manager. Rex Barney at…………..Memorial Stadium! HTS with Mel Proctor and John Lowenstein (my favorite Orioles TV team) and Jon Miller/Joe Angel on the radio. Besides Brady and Cal, how about names like Randy Milligan, Joe Orsulak, Jim Traber, Bob Milacki, Kevin Hickey, Gregg ‘the otter” Olson? Come on, hit me up with some more. Dig deep into the memory bank. This year was that same kind of year. Some big names with (at times) an unfamiliar supporting cast,  ”stepping up to the plate”, becoming a team and surprising everyone!

Yes, there was 1996 and 1997 – but come on O’s fans – give credit where credit is due – Angelos did actually go out and try and buy it. The talent was retained with high price tags. They were expected to win. They were expected to participate with the 75% of the players that were “juicy juiced enhanced” at the time (whoops that last one slipped). It had been 12 years and no World Series appearance. Management made a move. Those two years came and went. Now, it has been 29 years since a World Series appearance. But this time, it is a more welcomed, different approach.

Since it is the New Year and I would like to stay as positive as long as I can (which means until the harsh reality of work tomorrow), let me offer my top 5 moments/games of this past season:

5. Opening Day – Friday 4/6/12, win 4-2 over the Twins. It was Opening Day, need I say more?  The Cartoon Bird was back! It was the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards and the place is still immaculate. Partly due to annual renovations at the stadium, this year in particular – new lower concourse floor, lower field wall in right, Batters Eye Pub in centerfield, the soon to be (at the time) Monument Plaza out in left, etc. Then there was the Opening Day Ceremony pageantry, then the game, then……… Nick Markakis (Future Hall of Famer) – smacking a home run in his first at-bat, on his first swing, after coming back from injury. Play Ball!

4. Sunday 4/29/12, win bottom of the ninth, 5-2 over the Oakland A’s at the Yard. O’s trailing the whole game, went into the ninth down 2-0, Bartolo Colon going for complete game. Weiters a 2-run double and then Wilson Betemit crushed a walk-off 3-run homer. They had won 6 out of 7 and you could feel the tide-a-changing. Little did we know, that game was just a glimpse of what was to come the rest of the year.

3. Saturday 7/14/12, Jim Palmer Statue day at the Yard, win in extra innings (13), 8-6 over the Tigers. Taylor Teagarden. Say it again, Taylor Teagarden – just a cool name – hit a game winning 3-run homer. This was AFTER the Birds had squandered a 4-1 lead in the 9th – the Tigers tied it. The Tigers then went ahead in the 11th – the O’s tied it in the bottom. Then the Tigers went ahead again in the 13th – only to have Taylor Teagarden end it in the bottom. Another game to be added to  “Classics of the Year”. 

2. Friday 10/5/12, Wild Card play-in game, win 5-1 at Texas Rangers. Joe Saunders, Joe who? The chosen starting pitcher to potentially springboard the Orioles beyond that playoff albatross that has been looming since 1997. He was 0-6 at Texas stadium with like a 10.00 era – then BOOM – Dan Duquette/the Buck “stops here” Showalter – make another Classic move. O’s move on to play the Evil Empire.

1. Sunday 5/6/12, the Marathon (17 innings, 6 hours +), the “where were you when….” game, WIN 9-6 at Fenway! If I remember correctly, something about Chris Davis pitching and getting the win? No game recap here, just watch it on Orioles Classics (MASN). Here’s a little salt to pour in the wound for the Red Sox fans though, that game completed a weekend SWEEP! 

“O” what a year. One heckuva roller coaster ride. The cool thing though………..meaningful baseball was back in Baltimore. They simply just never gave up. The future looks bright. I would advise on purchasing some Oriole shades. Who knows what lies ahead? Optimism for once, exists. I remember ’89, I have the VHS tape. I will always remember 2012, I will purchase the DVD.  Orioles Magic – Summer of 2013. I’m feeling warm already. Happy New Year.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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NM swing 6-5-07

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Orioles Riding the Wave

Posted on 24 September 2012 by Tom Federline

Besides an Opening Day, when was the last time you were at Camden Yards and watched a full “wave” circle the bowl without a break in it? Been to the Yard lately? Get in on the wave! These Birds just don’t give up. It’s coming to the end of September -  AND THEY ARE STILL IN IT! I know you all are with me – how many times have you been shaking your head saying, “They did it again.” Defense, timely hitting, pitching and that bullpen – “The Orange Curtain.” The wave has gained momentum in Baltimore and it is picking up speed. It only has been 15 years……….When you look at your kids, 15 years seems like yesterday, when you think of Orioles in the playoffs, it seems as if it were in another millennium. Wait a minute, it was.

I was at the game when CC (I should be starring in a Biggest Loser episode) Sabathia, took out one of the main cogs in the wheel. When Markakis went down, I figured “and so do the Birds.” Well surprise, surprise, surprise – (Come on what TV show is that from?) I had made a remark, if Markakis, Jones or Weiters goes down, the season is more than likely over. Well one of them did and it ain’t over. They have pulled together and refuse to lose. Serious passion displayed in the dugout that night when Nick came back up with hand in temporary cast and met with Buck-Buck. Binos were around neck and ready. My first thought – “not good”, second thought – not that I have been know to curse or anything – CC Sabathia ears had to be on fire. It is tough experiencing this run without the best right fielder in baseball and this swing:

 

Can’t even imagine how tough it is on him.

Hold the phone – This is just seriously down and out cool – Birds just won the first game of the doubleheader at the Yards vs. the Blow Jays, 4-1. JJ mows down the opposition………….again. “Put another one in the WIN column” – thank you Joe Angel. There was an eruption from my television set – I thought maybe it was the announcement that Gary Thorne would not be doing the second game either – but actually the Yard had filled up on a late Monday afternoon and was cheering their surging team to victory. Get to the Yard, do not pass go, do not collect $200, take the get out of jail for free card (for safety reasons) and Get to the Yard.

The 16 in-a-row extra inning win streak, is second to the 1949 Cleveland Indians (17), who holds the record. That is quite a remarkable accomplishment. It is a major part of what defines the team. Adam Jones, the entire bullpen and Taylor Teagarden. Teagarden has 7 hits in 50 at-bats and it seems every one of them has been a game changer and/or knocked in a run. Taylor Teagarden – what a name - stay with me here -  Who now claims the second most colorful name in Orioles History?

Music to my ears. Friday night – Peter Gabriel. Sunday afternoon – an exuberant “O” during the national anthem at ……FedEx Field Skins game (I was a guest). And the topper late Saturday afternoon, 12th inning, O’s 9 Red Sux 6 and the 500+ Oriole faithful drowning out the Red Sux fans with “Let’s Go O’s” at Fenway Park! I put the game on through the stereo and cranked it up. I really don’t know what was better – the chant or the Red Sux fans reaction?

Get on your boogie, surf, wake board or body surf. Just whatever you do, catch this O’s Wave and hang on. The wave may die out, but trust me it is better to catch the wave, than watching a good one go by. Buckle up –  It’s going to be quite a week. “Don’t Give Up” O’s - (Peter Gabriel). You have fans! Yes, they are coming out of the woodwork, but who cares, they are coming. Orange is a Fall color. It’s just been awhile since we have really appreciated it.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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