"Orioles Classics" #TBT: A heaping helping of Birdland memories

Since it's Thanksgiving, it's only natural to take a moment to give thanks for the abundance we sometimes take for granted. Really, this should be a daily occurrence. But before you plate the turkey, dig into the sides and ponder the pumpkin pie for dessert, let's take a moment to count our blessings.

Since we're a baseball site, we'll start with the national pastime. For as long as I can remember, baseball has been the soundtrack of my life, from the time I tucked my transistor radio beneath my pillow to hear Chuck Thompson and Bill O'Donnell describe what was happening at Memorial Stadium to long nights staring at the TV and waiting for a West Coast game in Seattle or Los Angeles to wrap up.

Baseball has given me memories to last a lifetime, and don't think I don't appreciate the chance to talk shop with everyone from Hall of Famers to backup catchers and batting practice pitchers. The people make the game, and I've always held a special place in my heart for my baseball family. When someone learns what I do for a living and wants to bend my ear for a few minutes, I take that as the highest of compliments.

So be thankful in this season of thankfulness. I'm thankful for our readers and commenters, who give importance to what we do. I'm thankful for my coworkers, who share this passion and give of their immense talents in its pursuit. And I'm thankful for friends and family - and especially for baseball friends who have become family. In trying times, especially when COVID-19 did its best to throttle our favorite sport, baseball presented a little bit of normal in a very unusual time.

I'm also thankful for "Orioles Classics" on MASN, which feed our need for on-the-field highlights between the last out of the World Series and that wonderful time when pitchers and catchers report to Ed Smith Stadium. Enjoy this week's "Orioles Classics" - and give thanks for life's many blessings.

Thursday, Nov. 26 - 1 p.m. - While the aromas of roasting meats fill your home, throw it back to Aug. 10, 2012, when a newcomer to the Orioles made his mark. In his second major league game, Manny Machado got his first - and second - big league tater in a 7-1 win over the Royals. Hmmmm, taters. Now I'm hungry again.

Thursday, Nov. 26 - 8 p.m. - By now, you've moved into the dessert portion of your Turkey Day feast. For me, that means pumpkin pie encased in whipped cream with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. O's lefty Keegan Akin was thankful for offensive support on Sept. 16, 2020, when the Birds made most of seven hits in a 5-1 win over the Braves that provided Akin with his first major league victory.

Saturday, Nov. 28 - 11:30 p.m. - By now, you're making headway on the leftovers, perhaps sneaking a turkey sandwich for a late-night snack. Go ahead and throw some stuffing and cranberry sauce on between the slices of your favorite bread - you'll be surprised how good it tastes. Victory tastes sweet, too, and on Aug. 19, 2015, Henry Urrutia's lone major league home run gave the Orioles a chance to celebrate a 5-4 walk-off win over the Mets.

Monday, Nov. 30 - 1 p.m. - You know what never gets old? Beating the Yankees. On Sept. 6, 2012, the Orioles celebrated the dedication of a statue honoring Cal Ripken Jr. by thrashing the Bronx Bombers and moving into first place in the American League East. After the Yankees' five-run eighth at Camden Yards tied the score at 6-6, the O's offense came to life in the bottom of the frame, with Adam Jones, Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis all homering in what turned out to be a 10-6 triumph.

Monday, Nov. 30 - 11:59 p.m. - We're squeezing one more walk-off into November, this one featuring a pinch-hit home run by Nolan Reimold on July 24, 2016 that walked off the Indians and gave the Orioles a sweep of the Tribe.

Tuesday, Dec. 1 - 6:30 p.m. - The O's went for a trifecta of longballs against the Nationals bullpen on Aug. 8, 2020, scoring five runs in the eighth inning and cruising to a 5-3 victory in D.C. Pat Valaika and Pedro Severino went back-to-back off Sean Doolittle before Anthony Santander crushed a three-run shot off Daniel Hudson.

Wednesday, Dec. 2 - 9 a.m. - Extra innings are either a blessing or a curse, and your stand usually depends on which end of the score your team winds up on. The O's and Red Sox played 17 innings on May 6, 2012 - almost an entire game of bonus baseball - and the ending was surprisingly sweet. Jones' three-run blast off outfielder-turned-reliever Darnell McDonald was the decisive blow, but Davis moved from designated hitter to the mound, getting the final six outs to temper an 0-for-8 day at the plate.

Wednesday, Dec. 2 - 11:30 p.m. - The Birds trailed the White Sox 3-2 in the 10th inning on Sept. 7, 2013 when Matt Wieters stroked a two-run single for a walk-off win.

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