If you can get up at (or stay up until) 4 a.m., you can now watch live baseball. It’s on the tube at that hour because it’s coming to you live from South Korea, where COVID-19 precautions have eased up enough to permit the Korea Baseball Organization to play ball, albeit without fans in the stands.
It’s a little surreal, watching players you don’t know in ad-emblazoned batting helmets and umpires in surgical masks, all rattling around in an empty ballpark at a time of day when the vast majority of folks here are out cold. But the whole world is in a bit of a surreal state right now, isn’t it?
If you feel like you need to get your bearings, we’ve got just the thing.
We lead off this latest batch of “Orioles Classics” with a couple of instances of what MASN play-by-play man Gary Thorne likes to call “free baseball,” then turn our attention to a dominating World Series performance by the Orioles against a formidable foe from the National League, from the days when the Fall Classic was the only time you’d see NL and American League franchises face off. It’s a nice blend of recent and distant O’s history, the common thread of which is victory.
So don’t lose out on your chance to relive some exciting baseball. The MASN wayback machine is waiting for you, so tune in!
Thursday, May 14 - 7 p.m. - Trey Mancini has established himself as a bright young star, his career rise slowed only by the pandemic we’re all coping with and his own personal fight with colon cancer. “Boomer,” (as he’s called on his Players’ Weekend jersey), lived up to his nickname on June 7, 2017, smacking two home runs, including a three-run shot for a 9-6 walk-off win in the 11th inning. The game-winner came off future Oriole Wade LeBlanc. Mancini’s first home run of the contest with the Pirates scored two and capped a four-run rally in the ninth that sent the game to extra innings.
Saturday, May 16 - 7 p.m. - Settle in. This one’s going to take a while. Five hours and 19 minutes, to be precise. Three years ago to the day, Chris Davis played the hero with a pair of dingers in Detroit, a solo in the 12th and a two-run blast in the 13th of the Orioles’ 13-11 road win. J.J. Hardy and Mark Trumbo also went yard. Brad Brach gave up just one hit, but it was a lulu: a grand slam from J.D. Martinez that cost the right-hander a save opportunity. Lefty Richard Bleier got credit for the win after working 1 2/3 innings.
Monday, May 18 - 9 a.m. - Sports fans of a certain age will recognize instantly the voice of broadcasting icon Curt Gowdy as he calls the action in the 1970 World Series, in which Earl Weaver’s team took on the NL champion Reds. In Game 1 in Cincinnati, the home team drew first blood in the first inning as Jim Palmer surrendered three hits and a run. Lee May hit a two-run homer in the third and Palmer was on the ropes. But like Muhammad Ali, the Orioles starter knew how to work his way out of that spot, and ultimately got 26 of the 27 outs required to dispatch the Reds 4-3. Boog Powell matched May’s two-run shot in the fourth, and Elrod Hendricks had a solo in the fifth. Brooks Robinson’s homer in the seventh broke a 3-3 tie.
Tuesday, May 19 - 9 a.m. - A five-run fifth propelled the Orioles to a second one-run victory (and a 2-0 series lead they took back to Baltimore) in Cincinnati in Game 2 of the 1970 World Series. Again, the Reds struck first, notching three runs in the first against a struggling Mike Cuellar. The lefty gave up a Bobby Tolan homer to start the third, and would come out before the inning ended. Powell led off with a homer in the top of the fourth, and got the fourth of four straight singles as the Orioles’ bats caught fire in the fifth. Hendricks’ double brought in two to complete the scoring for the visiting team. Johnny Bench’s leadoff homer in the sixth got the Reds within a run, but the bullpen held on to give the Orioles a 6-5 win.
Tuesday, May 19 - 8 p.m. - The O’s were playoff-bound after a 5-2 win at Yankee Stadium on the last day of the 2016 regular season. Kevin Gausman gave up eight hits but just two runs over 7 1/3 innings. Zack Britton gave up a Didi Gregorius RBI single to close the book on Gausman, but kept the Yanks scoreless the rest of the way. Matt Wieters was the big man on offense for the Birds, clubbing two homers for four RBIs.
Tuesday, May 19 - midnight - Down 3-2 to the White Sox in the 10th inning after Conor Gillaspie homered off Tommy Hunter in the top half, the Orioles got a 4-3 walk-off triumph on Sept. 7, 2013 when Wieters’ two-out single brought in Chris Dickerson and Nick Markakis. That gave Hunter the win. Brian Roberts homered, and the Birds got doubles from Danny Valencia, Manny Machado and Nate McLouth.
Wednesday, May 20 - 9 a.m. - After winning a pair of close games in Cincinnati, the Orioles roughed up the Reds in Baltimore in Game 3 of the 1970 World Series. O’s starter Dave McNally gave up three runs on nine hits but pitched the entire game and helped himself tremendously in the sixth inning. After Paul Blair’s one-out single, Reds skipper Sparky Anderson went to his bullpen for righty Wayne Granger. Brooks Robinson promptly doubled, moving Blair to third. Granger put Davey Johnson on intentionally, then got Andy Etchebarren to strike out. That brought McNally to the plate with two out, and it looked as though the Reds would escape the inning unscathed. Not so fast. McNally hit a grand slam to bust the game wide open. He gave back a couple of those four runs in the seventh, but the O’s planted themselves in the catbird seat in the series with a 9-3 victory.
Wednesday, May 20 - 4 p.m. - The Orioles got to one of the elite relievers in the game on Aug. 13, 2014 against the Yankees at Camden Yards. Yanks manager Joe Girardi might have been asking more than Dellin Betances could deliver that day, though. Betances had already pitched two innings when he came back out to work the eighth with a 2-1 lead. He got Ryan Flaherty to pop up, but Jonathan Schoop stroked Betances’ 0-1 pitch to deep left-center, tying the score 2-2. With that, Girardi went to Shawn Kelley, who coaxed a grounder from Nick Hundley but allowed a single to Markakis and walked Davis. Adam Jones sent Kelley’s next pitch on a long journey that netted three more runs for the O’s. Britton gave up a double and an RBI grounder, but got the save in a 5-3 Orioles win.