If Hollywood was smart - six “Fast and the Furious” movies are strong evidence to the contrary - there would be a movie about the Orioles’ season out by Opening Day 2013. This season is the perfect script and in a lot of ways, like most O’s fans, I feel like I’m playing a minor character in it.
Like when my brother-in-law and sister-in-law helped me purchase postseason tickets just days before giving birth to their first child. Or when my dad and I were on MASN reaching for Nate McLouth’s leadoff homer from our first row bleacher seats last Wednesday against the Blue Jays.
A small role, but a role nonetheless.
You could really make a movie around Sunday alone. After sweeping the Boston Red Sox with a 6-3 victory in the finale, the Orioles watched the final three outs of the Angels-Rangers game, which would determine whether they would clinch their first playoff spot in 15 years, on the Jumbotron at Camden Yards. Down to the final out and trailing 4-3, Torii Hunter doubled to deep left field off closer Joe Nathan and drove in Macier Izturis and Peter Bourjous.
Buck Showalter tipped his cap to the fans that stuck around to watch his team watch the Angels’ dramatic win and the O’s head for Tampa Bay for their final series of the season.
“We can do it at home or we can do it on the plane,” Adam Jones said about clinching. “We are going to party somewhere.”
Little did he know that a small fire aboard the Orioles’ charter flight to Tampa would really change the O’s celebratory plans. The team had to make an emergency landing in Jacksonville, Fla., which delayed their travel plans to St Petersburg, Fla.
Meanwhile, in Game 2 of the doubleheader in Texas, former Orioles relief pitcher Koji Uehara was called upon during the eighth inning to hold the Rangers’ one-run lead over LA. Uehara, who got a bit misty eyed when he was traded from Baltimore to Texas, struck out Chris Ianetta, Mike Trout and Izturis in a clutch 1-2-3 inning.
Uehara loved his time in Baltimore so much that he recommended the franchise to Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen before they signed with the club last offseason. Even in the Lone Star State, Uehara continues to help the Orioles.
The Birds were at 30,000 feet when the Rangers defeated the Angels on Sunday night. Uehara helped secure a playoff berth for his team, and the Orioles celebrated their clinch with a “firm handshake” according to skipper Buck Showalter.
And this wild script continues to be written. Tickets for a potential Game 163 between the Orioles and Yankees are already available. Even though the O’s chances of winning the AL East (8.8 percent according to CoolStandings.com) are far slimmer than the Yankees’ (91.2 percent), the Orioles have been defying the odds all season long.
I’m just hopeful that like most good movies, this one will end with the Orioles riding off into the sunset just before the credits roll.
Zach Wilt blogs about the Orioles at Baltimore Sports Report. His views appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.