Well, are you ready for Christmas?
Most of my online shopping was done in early November, meaning fewer shipping delays than if I'd waited for another month. But there was the curious case of several packages that spent a week resting in Hagerstown or West Virginia before being delivered. Yes, I'm looking at you, United States Postal Service, and your silly tracking system that merely says that delivery has been delayed, without giving any update of significance.
Everything is boxed, bagged and wrapped. Frankly, gift bags and gift card holders are among the unheralded breakthroughs in the holiday preparation process. Easy, affordable and reusable.
So while you wait for the big day - and figure out a recovery plan for the days after - we present a gift from MASN: a week's worth of "Orioles Classics," including some powerful displays and some postseason memories from years past.
Enjoy them - and your Christmas holiday!
Thursday, Dec. 24 - 1:30 p.m. - Trey Mancini saved his best for last on June 7, 2017, when the Orioles defeated the Pirates 9-6 in 11 innings. Mancini's pinch-hit two-run shot off Tony Watson tied the game in the ninth, forcing extra innings. In the 11th, Mancini ripped a three-run blast to left field for a walk-off victory. Two at-bats, two homers, five RBIs. Not a bad day at the plate.
Friday, Dec. 25 - 9 a.m. - While you assess the frenzy of wrapping paper and delight in your kids playing with toys they will have forgotten next week, enjoy a heaping helping of Chris Davis power from Aug. 15, 2015. Davis connected twice and drove in three runs in a 4-3 triumph. His walk-off to deep right-center off switch-pitcher Pat Venditte ended the game.
Saturday, Dec. 26 - 11:59 p.m. - Congratulations on surviving another Christmas (we'll, for a minute, don't worry about next month's credit card bills). On April 25, 2015, the Orioles went to the bottom of the 10th trailing the Red Sox 4-3. But Adam Jones tripled and scored on Davis' sacrifice fly and David Lough drove a Koji Uehara pitch onto the flag court in right field for a 5-4 victory.
Monday, Dec. 28 - 12:30 p.m. - We begin a quadrupleheader of "Orioles Classics" with the first of three broadcasts from the 1983 World Series, a 4-1 thrashing of the Phillies in Game 2. While Mike Boddicker was holding the Phillies to three hits in a complete-game win, a three-run fifth inning provided the bulk of the Baltimore scoring. John Lowenstein led off with a home run to center, Rick Dempsey doubled home Rich Dauer and Boddicker contributed a sac fly as the Birds squared the best-of-seven showdown at a game apiece.
Monday, Dec. 28 - 3:30 p.m. - The Fall Classic shifted up Interstate 95 to Veterans Stadium, where the Orioles took a 3-2 nailbiter. The Phillies led 2-1 in the seventh when Benny Ayala tied it with an RBI single off Steve Carlton that knocked the lefty from the game. Al Holland relieved and surrendered a single to John Shelby before Dan Ford reached on an error by shortstop Ivan de Jesus that plated Ayala with the game-winner. Tippy Martinez retired the side in order in the home ninth for the save.
Monday, Dec. 28 - 7 p.m. - Game 5 of the 1983 World Series will be remembered in Crabtown for many years to come. Scott McGregor blanked the Phillies on five hits for a complete-game shutout and Eddie Murray's two home runs led the offense in a 5-0 triumph. Cal Ripken Jr. caught a knuckling liner from Gary Maddox for the final out, and you could hear the roar from Baltimore all the way up I-95.
Monday, Dec. 28 - 11:59 p.m. - We finish our foursome of memorable games with this power display from Aug. 18, 2016. The Birds banged out 18 hits in a 13-5 romp over the Astros. Six of them were home runs, including a pair of clouts each from J.J. Hardy and Davis. Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado also went deep in support of winning pitcher Kevin Gausman.
Tuesday, Dec. 30 - 11 a.m. - We're setting the way-back machine to Oct. 5, 1996, when the Orioles beat the Indians 4-3 at Jacobs Field to win the American League Division Series in four games. Roberto Alomar's RBI single in the ninth off JosÃ© Mesa knotted the score at 3-all and Alomar then homered off Mesa leading off the 12th for the decisive tally.