If the 2020 season had started on schedule, we might have had several postponements already anyhow, given the wet weather we’ve had this April. But as those of us who suffer from hay fever are especially aware, those April showers bring May flowers.
We here at MASN would, of course, like nothing better than to be bringing you live Orioles baseball, but as we all continue to hunker down to fend off the coronavirus as best we can, it looks as though we may have a May without it this year. That stinks, but we’re putting the time to the best possible use by upping the number of “Orioles Classics” coming your way.
This week’s batch brings some great moments in O’s history, all the way back to the Birds’ shocking sweep of the Dodgers in the 1966 World Series. We’ve also got a clincher in a division series 30 years afterward and we shine the spotlight on a couple of Orioles greats closing chapters in their respective careers.
Tune in, and “Orioles Classics” will give you a smile or two when you definitely need them.
Thursday, April 30 - noon - The Nationals made the trip up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Camden Yards on May 29, 2013 and traded punches with the Orioles for nine rounds. Nats stalwart Ryan Zimmerman made life miserable for O’s starter Chris Tillman, taking the right-hander over the wall three times. But the Birds had a slugger of their own and came out on top 9-6. Chris Davis belted two home runs, including a two-run shot that capped the Orioles’ six-run seventh inning.
Friday, May 1 - 1 p.m. - The Orioles finished third in the American League East in 1995, two games below .500. But the season nonetheless provided some inspiring moments, at least in early September, when Cal Ripken Jr. surpassed the supposedly unassailable consecutive-games record held by Lou Gehrig. Ripken matched it on Sept. 5 as the Orioles blanked the Angels 8-0. The Iron Man homered and went 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
Friday, May 1 - 7 p.m. - The O’s got back into the playoff picture the following season as the AL’s wild card team (there was only one back then) and on Oct. 5, 1996 beat the Indians at Jacobs Field to clinch the AL Division Series. In Game 4, the Orioles were trailing 3-2 with two out in the ninth when Roberto Alomar singled in the tying run. He then homered in the 12th, and Randy Myers retired the side in order in the bottom half to sew up a 4-3 win and a trip to the AL Championship Series.
Saturday, May 2 - 11:30 p.m. - Since there’s no big Saturday night on the town tonight, how about the O’s going to town on the Athletics on Aug. 16, 2015, using 26 hits to win 18-2? Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Gerardo Parra and Henry Urrutia each chalked up three RBIs, but the leader was catcher and ninth-place hitter Caleb Joseph, who doubled and homered while collecting four RBIs. Lefty starter Wei-Yin Chen got the win.
Sunday, May 3 - 1 p.m. - Machado didn’t take long after his much-anticipated big league debut to start living up to the hype. In his second big league game, he hit the first and second homers of his career in a 7-1 win over the Royals on Aug. 10, 2012. Omar Quintanilla - who played 36 games for the O’s between stints with the Mets - also homered.
Monday, May 4 - 1 p.m. - Why not a look back at a beauty from the “Why Not?” season of 1989? In the type of walk-off win that sparked the O’s stunning comeback year, the Birds scored four runs in the ninth to beat the Angels 11-9. Larry Sheets hit a two-run single to chase Halos closer Bryan Harvey (father of contemporary O’s reliever Hunter Harvey). Mike Devereaux then homered off Bob McClure to end it.
Monday, May 4 - 10:30 p.m. - You never forget your first. Of course we know that many MASN viewers aren’t old enough to recall the 1966 World Series, so as a public service, MASN offers a highlight reel of the Orioles’ title sweep of the favored Los Angeles Dodgers. The Birds beat legendary Dodgers hurlers Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax in L.A., then took care of business back in Baltimore. In his first year with the O’s after coming from the Reds in a trade, Frank Robinson was the World Series MVP. By the way, if 10:30 pm. is past your bedtime, don’t sweat it. We have an encore presentation (see below).
Tuesday, May 5 - 4:30 p.m. - As noted above, Frank Robinson earned MVP honors for the 1966 World Series, but Orioles pitching should at least get an honorable mention. The Dodgers scored just two runs in Game 1, and would be held scoreless from then on, with Jim Palmer, Wally Bunker and Dave McNally (who had allowed the two runs in the opener in relief of Moe Drabowsky) each pitching a complete game. All in all, a tidy little series for the Birds, made even tidier in this 90-minute retrospective.
Tuesday, May 5 - 7 p.m. - Sept. 30, 2018 marked a bittersweet moment for O’s fans as acclaimed manager Buck Showalter and fan favorite Adam Jones served the final day of their respective contracts and the Orioles closed out the season with 4-0 win over the Astros. Jones, who had gone 0-for-4, went to right field to start the ninth, but Showalter pulled him so that the 25,000 on hand at Camden Yards could give him a proper sendoff.
Tuesday, May 5 - 11 p.m. - On Sept. 20, 1998, Ripken decided it was finally time to take a day off, his first since 1982. It was a Sunday, after all, and an O’s team that a week later would finish in fourth place was playing out the string. Ryan Minor took Ripken’s customary (by that point in his career) spot at third base and went 1-for-4 that day against the Yankees. B.J. Surhoff hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to get the O’s within a run. In the ninth, again down by two runs, the Birds got something going against Yanks closer Mariano Rivera when Alomar doubled and Eric Davis singled him home. Rafael Palmeiro grounded out, though, ending the game in a 5-4 Orioles loss.
Wednesday, May 6 - 9 a.m. - One of the few bright spots in the stay-at-home requirement we’ve been enduring is that you can still be in your PJs at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday. And what better way to watch four different Orioles pitchers put Oakland batters to sleep as the Birds notch a combined no-hitter against the A’s on July 13, 1991. Bob Milacki got credit for the win, but Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson each contributed an inning. Devereaux had a solo homer in the 2-0 Orioles victory.