Getting tired of jigsaw puzzles yet? You’ve cleaned the house to within an inch of its life and you’re down to binge-watching the first (and final) season of “My Mother the Car.”
About this time, of course, you should be doing the heel-of-hand-to-forehead move as you remember that MASN continually brings you the best moments in Orioles history. So as most of us - apart from the grocery clerks, the first responders, the medical personnel and others who still venture into their regular work places - endure a sort of modified house arrest, remember that you can still enjoy a ballgame from the comfort of your now very familiar living room, via “Orioles Classics.”
And since we appear to be stuck in public health limbo for the long haul, this week’s episodes feature some memorable marathons, starting with a monster game from a premier professional slugger.
Friday, April 3 - 9 a.m. - The Rays didn’t know what hit ‘em on Sept. 7, 2014. Actually, they did know. They just didn’t want to look as Nelson Cruz cruised around the bases at Tropicana Field for a second time in the top of the 11th inning. His second home run brought his RBI total to seven for the day, and it was all the O’s would need claim a 7-5 victory in extras.
Friday, April 3 - 4 p.m. - One of the chief architects of The Oriole Way and his two boys who went into the family business all appeared on a big league field together for the first time on July 11, 1987. Cal Ripken Sr. managed the Birds that year and Cal Jr. was the starting shortstop. When the club brought Cal’s brother, Bill, up from Triple-A Rochester, dad put him at second base to give the O’s an all-Ripken middle infield. Neither brother had a hit on the occasion of Bill’s big league debut, but that wasn’t shocking. The Twins started Frank Viola - who went on to be the World Series MVP that season - that day at Memorial Stadium. But behind a five-hit complete-game performance from Mike Griffin, the Orioles prevailed 2-1.
Saturday, April 4 - 2 p.m. - Memorial Stadium, the stage on which many of the greatest players in major league and National Football League history had performed since the 1950s, got a proper sendoff on Oct. 6 ,1991. Following the game against the Tigers - who beat the Birds 7-1 that day - the Orioles brought back a host of their most celebrated players and, with great fanfare, extracted home plate from the field to be transplanted at the team’s new home at Camden Yards.
Monday, April 6 - 9 a.m. - Eddie Murray’s storied career was winding down in 1996. The Orioles had traded the switch-hitting first baseman to the Dodgers following the Birds’ dismal 1988 season, but he returned to Baltimore in a trade with the Indians (for lefty Kent Mercker) in July 1996, in time for him to reach a milestone with his original club. On Sept. 6, 1996, Murray hit a blast in the seventh at Oriole Park to mark his 500th career home run. The Tigers (tarnishing a big Birds moment once again) won the game 5-4 in 12 innings.
Monday, April 6 - 4 p.m. - In February 2012, right-hander Jason Hammel came to the Orioles in the trade that sent longtime O’s starter Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies. Before he landed with the Cubs as a free agent in 2014, Hammel made a total of 43 starts for the Birds. But none was as memorable as his very first in the orange and black. Taking a no-hit bid into the eighth against the Twins on April 8, 2012, Hammel would surrender a run on back-to-back doubles but get through the inning without further damage. That left a clean ninth for O’s closer Jim Johnson to post a three-batter save as the Birds won 3-1.
Tuesday, April 7 - 1:30 p.m. - The odyssey at Fenway Park on May 6, 2012 became the stuff of legend. With both bullpens drained in what would end up a 17-inning, 9-6 win for the Orioles, skippers Bobby Valentine and Buck Showalter each called on a position player to take the mound. Chris Davis had better stuff than Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald, who also had the misfortune of grounding into the double play that ended the game.
Tuesday, April 7 - 11:30 p.m. - The Orioles came back from a 3-0 deficit to take Game 1 of the 1970 World Series at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium. Boog Powell, Elrod Hendricks and Brooks Robinson homered off Reds starter Gary Nolan. Jim Palmer got all the outs but one, giving way to Pete Richert after walking Pete Rose with two out in the home ninth. Mark Belanger snagged Bobby Tolan’s line drive to seal the 4-3 win.
Wednesday, April 8 - 9 a.m. - Another memorable marathon happened on Sept. 13, 2012 as the O’s brought a halt to a 14-year run of losing seasons with a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Rays (their second in as many games). Taylor Teagarden’s two-RBI double in the seventh gave the O’s a one-run edge, but Ben Zobrist hit an RBI single to knot the score at 2-2 and end starter Wei-Yin Chen’s outing. Both bullpens did some impressive work after that. In the bottom of the 14th, Rays righty Chris Archer - who had already pitched three innings in relief - got the first two outs before Adam Jones took a base on balls. Endy Chávez, brought in earlier as a pinch-runner, then singled. That brought rookie Manny Machado to the plate. Archer got behind, and the kid made him pay, singling to left to end it.