Orioles Magic Returns for a Fleeting Moment

"That's not fair, I want to celebrate also."


 

by Harris “The Schnell” Gilbert

 

It was approaching midnight on September 28th, and magic was in the air.

The Devil Rays were down 7-0 and about to put on their rally caps. The Red Sox were up 3-2 against the Orioles and in a rain delay.

Both teams were tied going into the night for the last wildcard spot in the AL, and it looked like the Sawks were a lock to at the very least end up in a tie and 1 game playoff.

That’s when the story began…

The Devil Rays loaded up the bases and began their rally…2 runs came across the plate. Trailing 7-2, the young Evan Longoria stepped up to the box with the bases loaded.  First pitch, GONE!  Rays down 7-6.

In an instant, regular season baseball was interesting for the first time all year…

The Rays fizzled out the rest of the inning and were left down 1 going into the bottom of the 9th.  With two outs, their All Star 1st baseman (sarcasm) Dan Johnson came to bat.  Sporting a batting average just barely over .100 on the season everyone figured the Ray’s season was over.  Lightning struck for Tampa (no pun intended) and Dan Johnson launched one over the right field fence.  TIE GAME!  Extra innings…

At the same time as Dan Johnson’s miracle game tying shot, the Orioles/Red Sox game resumed from rain delay. It has been another long and terrible season for us Oriole fans, and it seemed like the season’s end would be a sour one.

Not so Magic

As a boy I remember when the Orioles were a mark of consistency and winning.  Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray led the 1983 squad to the World Championship.  Rick Dempsey was known for his wild water slides during rain delays.  Life was grand.

After a few down years in the late 80’s Oriole Magic reappeared and in the mid 90s and we made several runs at the pennant.  In the fall of 1996 the O’s were set to take a series lead over the Yanks in the playoffs and march to the pennant when Jeffrey Maier, age 13, snagged a ball from Tony Torasco’s glove, giving the Yanks an unlikely homerun.

Since that fateful day the Oriole franchise can be described in 1 word, AWFUL. As a faithful O’s fan who still wears the Oriole’s hat around town, I have been all too accustomed to losing seasons. That means you find things to root for, like ruining the Red Sox’s hopes and dreams. I don’t have anything against the Red Sox, but they are AL East rivals.  If I had my choice, I would much rather have ruined the Yankees season!  I digress…

Jonathon Papelbon was on the mound trying to lock down another one of his 30 plus save season’s (5 in a row), squash the O’s like bugs, and carry his team to the playoff’s.  The first two outs came easy, both strikeouts. I began dozing off in bed cursing the Orioles for not giving me the pleasure of one last night of Oriole Magic…then something special happened that won’t be long forgotten.

Chris Davis doubled and then Nolan Reimold, once a heralded prospect, now a utility fill in doubled to tie up the game. Boston fans, who just a few weeks ago were sitting pretty on a 9 game lead, were now gnawing their fingernails off. Their team lost 19 of their last 26 games , and now risked dropping the one that would probably knock them out of the playoffs.

With 2 outs and a runner on 2nd Robert Andino stepped in and laced one to left field that fell just in front of Carl Crawford’s glove. The walk off single scored the winning run, and ORIOLE MAGIC at Camden Yards was alive once again!  The Sox lost, choked, Papelbon took his 1st loss of the season, and they were left to watch the Rays/Yanks in extra innings, hoping for a Ray’s loss to force a 1 game playoff for the Wild Card .

Nobody would actually go out and say the Yankees tanked the game to leave Boston out of the playoffs, but hey, anything is possible!

In the bottom of the 12th Evan Longoria took a Yankee relievers meatball and pumped it in into left field seats for a walk off homerun.  Off walked the Rays with a playoff spot, and off walked the Red Sox with the largest collapse in MLB history.  After the game Big Papi and Jon Lester were seen in tears.  Lester’s only comment to reporter’s when asked about what happened was somberly…”September.”

So the MLB playoffs begin tonight, and the Red Sox will be home eating Mallomars and wiping their tears with a box of tissues.

For a couple days I am a proud Orioles fan.  Not to take pride in someone else’s misery, but to know that Oriole Magic can still happen…maybe next year is our year in Bawlmer HON!?!?

Either way I’ll be goin down the ocean.

Sigh.

"YES!!!! We love the offseason!!!!"