As the daylight hours near low ebb, we need all the happy thoughts we can get.
Here’s one: Pitchers and catchers report to camp in Sarasota in less than two months.
Many of us also get warm feelings from knowing we’ll soon be getting together with our extended families for some holiday cheer. Depending, that is, on your own particular family dynamic.
The most family-friendly sport has brought us many great baseball families: the DiMaggios, the Alous, the Griffeys.
The first family of baseball in Baltimore, of course, goes by the name of Ripken. On a memorable July day in 1987, Cal Ripken Sr. took the field at Memorial Stadium with two of his sons, and MASN relives that moment in the next bundle of “Orioles Classics.”
We also bring you a family reunion of sorts via Game 4 of the 1996 American League Division Series. Cleveland Indians catcher Sandy Alomar and younger brother Roberto, the Orioles second baseman, played out a bit of sibling rivalry.
So call your brother and invite him over to enjoy these “Orioles Classics” with you. Just don’t fight over the good spot on the couch.
Thursday, Dec. 12 - 11 a.m. - In the aforementioned concluding game of the 1996 ALDS, Roberto and Sandy Alomar each drove in two runs for their respective clubs. Little brother had the better day, though, homering in the 12th at Jacobs Field in Cleveland to put the O’s on top 4-3. Randy Myers retired the side in order in the bottom half to record the save and send the Birds on to the League Championship Series against the Yankees (and the infamous Jeffrey Maier incident).
Sunday, Dec. 15, 1 a.m. - Rick Sutcliffe accomplished much during a 17-season major league career, but he enjoyed a singular honor on April 6, 1992. That’s when he threw the very first pitch that counted in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, a brand-new ballpark with a retro feel that became the model for big league venues that came afterward. Sutcliffe sparkled every bit as much that day, throwing a five-hit, complete-game shutout against the Indians
Monday, Dec. 16, 1 p.m. - Orioles skipper Cal Ripken Sr. could be forgiven if he’d popped a button on his jersey on July 11, 1987. Shortstop Cal Jr. was already a veteran, but that night at Memorial Stadium, his brother Bill took the field alongside him at second base. Neither had a hit off Frank Viola, though, as the Birds suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Twins. Mike Griffin went the distance for the O’s, giving up just five hits in a hard-luck loss.
Tuesday, Dec. 17, 9 a.m. - Orioles fans never saw anything quite like May 6, 2012 (at least not until Stevie Wilkerson became the first position player to record a major league save last season). This is appointment television. Just make sure you put your phone on silent and hit the bathroom ahead of time, because you’ll be glued to the set for a while. On their way to a wild card berth in the 2012 season, the O’s and Red Sox played a six-hour game at Fenway Park. Both managers had to call on position players as emergency pitchers at the tail end of the 17-inning contest, but first baseman Chris Davis got the win after pitching two frames.