Be honest. How many of your New Year’s resolutions remain intact?
If one of them is to be a more upbeat Orioles fan, MASN can help you out with that. This week’s crop of “Orioles Classics” includes some of the most uplifting moments in club history. You’ll see a team record for home runs broken, a longball barrage to overcome an up-and-coming foe, milestones in the careers of two Orioles greats and triumphs on baseball’s biggest stage.
The self-improvement many of us embark upon at this time of year presents daunting challenges, in baseball as well as life in general. Rebuilding, as the Orioles are now, requires a team to endure short-term pain for long-term gain, for players and fans alike. But moving forward doesn’t mean you can never look back and revel in the memory of better times.
Besides, you never know. The 2020 version of the Orioles might bring some pleasant surprises. As one of the “Orioles Classics” telecasts this week reminds us, why not?
Thursday, Jan. 2 - 9 a.m. - The Red Sox would take home a World Series title in 2013, but first they’d have to contend with the pesky Orioles squad that finished third in the American League East that season. At Fenway Park on Sept. 17, the two teams opened a three-game series with the O’s Scott Feldman facing Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster, who was pitching his final big league season. Chris Davis hit his 51st homer of the year off Dempster to lead off the sixth inning, tying the score at 2-2 and besting Brady Anderson’s single-season club record. Matt Wieters’ ninth-inning sacrifice fly put the O’s ahead, and Jim Johnson pitched the bottom of the ninth for the save.
Sunday, Jan. 5 - 12:30 p.m. - Davis and J.J. Hardy went deep twice each as the Birds belted six homers to beat the Astros 13-5 on Aug. 18, 2016. In a five-run sixth, Hardy chased Joe Musgrove, and James Hoyt gave up back-to-back homers to Manny Machado and Davis.
Monday, Jan. 6 - 12 p.m. - In 1996, the Orioles rode a wild card berth to the American League Championship Series. On Sept. 6, Orioles legend Eddie Murray was just weeks into his reunion with the club after nearly eight years with the Dodgers, Mets and Indians. That night, in the seventh inning of a rain-delayed 12-inning loss to the Tigers at Camden Yards, Murray hit the 500th home run of his storied career. Rafael Palmeiro also went yard in the 5-4 defeat.
Monday, Jan. 6 - 7 p.m. - The Orioles had dropped the first game of the 1983 World Series at Camden Yards, and needed a win on Oct. 12 to avoid taking the series to Philadelphia in an 0-2 hole. Righty Mike Boddicker held the Phillies to just one run, unearned, on three hits that night. He also helped himself at the plate in the Orioles’ three-run fifth, bringing home Todd Cruz with a sac fly that sent Phils starter Charles Hudson to the showers. John Lowenstein led off the inning with a homer, and eventual World Series MVP Rick Dempsey had an RBI double. Cal Ripken Jr. singled to add an insurance run in the seventh inning of the O’s 4-1 victory.
Tuesday, Jan. 7 - 9 a.m. - Mike Devereaux played the hero on July 15, 1989 in a wild walk-off win over the Angels that was as thrilling as any in that magical “Why Not?” year. Both teams were firing on all cylinders at the plate that night at Memorial Stadium, but the Birds were never able to take a lead and were down 9-7 heading into the home ninth. Hunter Harvey’s dad, Bryan, who had already pitched two-thirds of an inning for the Angels, got Ripken on a foul popup leading off the ninth. But Harvey then issued back-to-back walks to Mickey Tettleton and Randy Milligan, uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning and then threw a 2-1 pitch that Larry Sheets stroked into right-center to bring in two runs. Halos skipper Doug Rader brought Bob McClure to the mound to face Devereaux, who homered for the instant win.
Tuesday, Jan. 7 - 7 p.m. - The Phillies had to feel pretty good about their chances on Oct. 14, 1983. In the first two games of the World Series, they had earned a split in Baltimore and would now have three games with the hammer and the chance to keep the series from going back to Charm City. As it happened, the Phils did not have to make the trip south again, but not for the reason they’d hoped. The Orioles edged the Phillies 3-2 in Game 3 and would go on to win a road sweep and a world title. Dempsey doubled twice and Dan Ford homered. Jim Palmer pitched the fifth and sixth innings in relief of Mike Flanagan and got the win.
Wednesday, Jan. 8 - 12:30 p.m. - Early in the penultimate season of his 21-year career, Ripken joined a select few. While going 3-for-5 in the Orioles’ 6-4 win over the Twins at the Metrodome, the Iron Man reached the 3,000-hit plateau on April 15, 2000 (he’d retire with a total of 3,184). Anderson, Mike Bordick, B.J. Surhoff and Harold Baines likewise had multi-hit games. Anderson, Bordick and Albert Belle doubled, and Surhoff and Charles Johnson each had solo homers.