Anyone that stuck with the Orioles for the last 14 years, and that is a long list of diehard and loyal fans I know, should take some time today to enjoy the fact that the Orioles are going back to the playoffs.
It has truly been a season of Orioles Magic. The team got off to a fast start and stayed in the hunt the entire year. Not even injuries to key players like Nick Markakis and Jason Hammel could keep this team from moving on.
Now the Orioles continue their No. 1 goal: try and win the AL East. The Orioles clearly seem to have the tougher remaining games than New York, with Boston having lost nine of its last 10 games and Tampa Bay a winner of 10 of its past 11.
Plus, Tampa is still mathematically alive. They can’t catch the Orioles, but they could tie Oakland for a wild card berth with three wins and three Oakland losses to Texas. Tampa will not be lacking for any motivation, at least not tonight.
But the Orioles have been up for every challenge this year and here is one last one before they get to experience the thrill again of October baseball, they hope for more than one game.
Meanwhile, here are some quotes from players that didn’t make it into any of my entries after Sunday’s game:
Does Mark Reynolds feel like a hockey goalie at times, catching all those errant throws at first base?
“Sometimes. You never assume a good throw and I’m always ready for whatever they throw over there.”
How big is it for Reynolds to have an impact on defense?
“It’s good. I know if I’m not swinging the bat well that day, I have a chance to impact the game on defense. It’s a good feeling to impact the game in other ways besides offensively.”
Matt Wieters was asked how he is holding up after the birth of his son coupled with these pressure-packed games?
“It’s all good things. It’s something that can carry you through. God has blessed me a ton. To witness my son being born was special and now trying to get in the playoffs provides another special moment.”
Jim Johnson was asked when he knew this group of Orioles might be pretty special?
“Some of that was kind of formed last year with a lot of the guys that came in at the end of the year. The personalities that they bring in. When Buck brings a guy in here, it’s not all about stats, he looks at the character and makeup of a guy too. That’s important.”
So O’s fans, did you take a moment to celebrate at all last night? How did you feel when that Angels game became final? What is it like for those of you that have been through all the losing seasons to be a part of this now? Will you be going to the home playoff game or games if there are any?