Now that we’ve welcomed a new year, we can say that spring training starts next month. It won’t be long before things are hopping at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Fla., as the Orioles get ready for a most intriguing 2019 season.
But before we look to the future with names like Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde, it’s time to reflect on some Orioles magic from the past. Yes, it’s another recap of “Orioles Classics” airing on MASN, giving fans a chance to warm themselves beside the hot stove and remember some thrilling moments of bygone baseball.
This week, the theme is sudden death - or times the O’s won in walk-off fashion, sending the home fans home happy. Nothing better than the exultations of satisfied fans streaming out of Camden Yards, is there?
Thursday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m. - On Sept. 6, 2012, the day the Orioles added a statue of Cal Ripken Jr. to the collection of bronze sculptures in the center field picnic area of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, there was already a lot of buzz around the ballpark. Six home runs by the home team ensured that a crowd of 46,298 remained engaged, and a four-run eighth inning snapped a 6-6 tie and propelled the O’s to a 10-6 victory over the Yankees that gave them a share of first place in the American League East. Adam Jones and Chris Davis sandwiched solo shots around a two-run blast by Mark Reynolds as the Orioles torched the Yankees bullpen. Jim Johnson worked around a single in the ninth to record the save.
Monday, Jan. 14, 9 a.m. - Was it fair or foul? To this day, no one really knows. Even though replays were inconclusive - and replay reviews weren’t yet a thing - the ruling by third base umpire Jim Joyce that granted Mike Devereaux a walk-off two-run homer off Bob McClure is really the only opinion that matters. As Orioles wins go, few were more exciting than this 11-9 thriller against the Angels from July 15, 1989. Watch Angels skipper Doug Radar’s blood boil as he tries to convince the men in blue that the shot to left was to the left of the foul pole. Priceless!
Monday, Jan. 14, 7 p.m. - How about a walk-off grand slam? On Aug. 18, 2017, Manny Machado capped off a three-homer game with one against the Angels in a 9-7 slugfest. The Angels led 7-5 entering the ninth, but their bullpen faltered and Machado sent Kenyan Middleton’s pitch deep over the fence in center field for the decisive blow.
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 9 a.m. - Astute fans will remember Sept. 13, 2012 as the afternoon the Orioles put an end to 14 straight losing seasons with a 3-2 victory over the Rays, producing their 82nd win of a season that would wind up with the O’s in the playoffs. It took 14 innings and 5 hours, 14 minutes before Machado’s single scored Jones with the game-winner.