So, did anything happen the last two days at Camden Yards?
Well, first Earl Weaver was honored and it was amazing, emotional and special. Just as we were finishing writing our stories on that came word of a trade and that Jim Thome would be headed to Baltimore.
Then we interviewed the other players talking about Thome’s addition. Then we found out the Orioles had three All-Stars and Jason Hammel could become a fourth. Then we interviewed them to talk about the honor. Then the game started.
Then Brian Matusz took the mound, trying to pitch well enough to keep himself in the starting five. Then he pitched poorly and then he went into Buck Showalter’s office and then he went to the minor leagues. Just when we all thought Miguel Gonzalez could get that rotation spot, Dan Duquette then said Gonzalez would stay in the bullpen.
Then, as we tried to figure out what the makeup of the rotation would be over the next few weeks, came word that Steve Johnson would join the team.
Then we took a break for dinner and some TV.
Let’s backtrack a minute. The best moment of the weekend for me was when the Earl of Baltimore took the field for his pregame ceremony Saturday afternoon. Walking out to see Cal Ripken, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray there to greet him, Weaver bowed toward the Hall of Famers.
It was a moment that could probably make any long-time Orioles fan get a lump in his throat and maybe a tear in his eye. I know I did. Along with Brooks, these were the greats of my youth on the field at the same time. I’m sure they all realized that, as we all get older, we need to treasure moments and days like that and they all seemed to be doing just that.
I am a lifelong, die-hard O’s fan at heart and always will be. The fact I get to cover my hometown team is a career highlight for me and seeing those men all together at once was just special. It made me and probably thousands of others remember how and why we came to love the Orioles. They were just great players who thrilled us then and make us proud still to this day.
When we think about greats like Cal Sr., Elrod and Flanny gone too soon, that just makes us appreciate having those legends on the field in front of us one more time that much more special and an emotional experience.
The business of baseball went on this weekend. The Orioles made a trade, sent players to the minors and tried to beat the Cleveland Indians. It was all important and significant in its own right.
But years from now I probably won’t remember who the O’s traded for Thome or which team Brian Matusz faced before being sent to the minors. But I sure as heck will remember seeing those men all together laughing and having fun as teammates again one more time with their leader and how I felt about it.
Click here to see some of Earl’s speech at the statue ceremony.
Click here to see the on-field ceremony from Saturday and all that O’s royalty on the field together at one time. Plus, you can see Earl throw out the first pitch to Showalter.