Monday, September 29, 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
To put it another way, the Birds gave away Mickey Tettleton to the Tigers in January 1991. There won't be any more gifts this October.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
If I were really on auto-pilot, I would deflect attention from myself by pointing out that the Orioles have been sleepwalking through the past week, losing series to the inferior Red Sox and Blue Jays and splitting with the zombified Yankees. They've been firmly locked into the second division champion seed in the American League for a while, so they're resting key players and giving significant field time to the Steve Clevengers and Alexi Casillas and Evan Meeks of the world, to ensure that they've got a reasonably healthy 25-man roster when the ALDS begins on Thursday. I don't blame them, but it doesn't inspire many wise words from yours truly.
Or maybe I could talk about the slapdash portrait of Cal Junior on this five-year-old Upper Deck card. It's meant to depict the youthful O's shortstop circa 1983, when he was the AL MVP and helped lead Baltimore to their third World Series crown. Yet number 8 looks haggard - deep bags under his eyes, heavy creases lining his face. He bears a stronger resemblance to Sir Anthony Hopkins than to Ripken. Also, what kind of baseball field is that? From the angle of the picture and the curvature of the infield dirt, it looks like Cal's playing second base.
So yeah...everyone's a critic.
Friday, September 26, 2014
On this date in 1962, Dave McNally took the mound as a major leaguer for the first time, making a late-season start in the opener of a doubleheader for the seventh-place Orioles against the visiting ninth-place Athletics. In other words, the few fans in attendance at Memorial Stadium had no reason to expect that they were witnessing something special. The O's scratched out a pair of second-inning runs off of Kansas City starter Bill Fischer, but couldn't muster anything else against him in seven innings. Luckily, the rookie Baltimore pitcher didn't need much support from his offense. After a few bumps in the early innings, McNally found his groove. A fourth-inning single by Ed Charles gave the A's runners on first and second with one out. From that point onward, Dave retired the last 17 batters he faced. Jerry Adair tacked on a solo home run off of Johnny Wyatt in the eighth inning to provide the final margin. 3-0 Orioles, as Dave McNally announced his presence with a two-hit, three-walk shutout. It was the first of 181 wins and 33 shutouts that the Montana native collected in orange and black. He's still the winningest lefty in team history, and also ranks first among O's southpaws in strikeouts and shutouts.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
One thing I can do to pass the time is search the video library on MLB.com. A few nights ago, I went searching for 1990s Orioles highlights. There were a few clips from Game One of the 1996 ALDS, the first postseason game in Baltimore in 13 years and the first ever at Camden Yards. It's a nice glimpse of the exciting atmosphere, and it should rekindle some warm memories for O's fans.
The Wild Card-winning Birds outslugged the Indians 10-4, adding four home runs to their record-setting regular season total of 257. Brady Anderson kept up his improbable season with a leadoff home run off of Charles Nagy in the bottom of the first, only for Manny Ramirez to answer with his on leadoff blast against David Wells in the next half-inning. B. J. Surhoff's rebuttal came in the bottom of the second, a go-ahead solo shot to right-center field. The Orioles kept up the pressure in the third inning, with Rafael Palmeiro and Cal Ripken each adding a run-scoring hit. Wells gave both runs right back, and then things cooled off for a few innings.
In the bottom of the sixth, Baltimore chased Nagy with two walks sandwiched around a single. Alan Embree came out of the Tribe bullpen and got Roberto Alomar to hit a shallow fly ball for the second out, but Chris Hoiles tagged and scored the fifth run for the home team. Embree plunked Palmeiro to re-load the bases and gave way to Paul Shuey. Bobby Bonilla worked the count full and then launched Shuey's sixth pitch onto the flag court for a game-breaking grand slam. The Indians pushed across a single run in their next at-bat to end Wells' day, but the O's bullpen wriggled out of further trouble. Terry Mathews, of all people, coaxed an inning-ending groundout from Albert Belle with runners on second and third. Surhoff capped the scoring after the seventh-inning stretch with his second homer of the game, another solo shot. Randy Myers closed out the game with a stress-free perfect ninth inning, and the Orioles were on their way to a surprising four-game series win over the defending American League champs.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
As you might remember, the Yankees knocked the Orioles out of the playoffs in 1996 and in 2012. The successes of 2014 don't quite make up for that, but we'll just see where October takes us.