For many years, Mother’s Day and baseball were irrevocably intertwined in my life.
The first baseball game I ever attended was on Mother’s Day 1966, the day Frank Robinson hit a home run out of Memorial Stadium, making him the only player to ever accomplish that feat. Of course, we didn’t know it until the next day, when my dad read it in the morning paper.
After my dad passed in 1985, mom and I would usually spend Mother’s Day at a ballpark. She particularly loved the intimacy of Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick, where box seats were affordable and gave you that up-close-and-personal feel. Yes, you could hear the players cursing the umpires from the dugout. Mom always wondered aloud why they had to use such language.
Over the years, we also traveled to Bowie, Wilmington, Camden Yards and Nationals Park for Mother’s Day games, which always included a hot dog appetizer before the main course later in the afternoon. Trying to nail down a reservation time when you’re pregaming at a baseball game isn’t easy!
When I started working at MASN, that meant I’d sometimes work on Mother’s Day, postponing our annual trip to the ballpark. I’d swing by G&M Lounge for crab cakes after work and we’d feast in her honor. But we’d try to make a Sunday date at the ballpark later in May or June.
Mom passed away last July, making this Mother’s Day a little bittersweet. Not only am I not working Sunday, but there are no games anywhere to go to. Luckily, that’s where “Orioles Classics” comes into play. So I’ll spend Mother’s Day watching Henry Urrutia’s lone major league homer beat the Mets.
But if you’re missing baseball - and I suspect you are - there are a bunch of Orioles memories on MASN this week. Enjoy them!
Thursday, May 7 - 1:30 p.m. - The black-and-orange faithful welcomed the Orioles home to Memorial Stadium on May 2, 1988 for what was dubbed “Fantastic Fans Night” in honor of those who supported the 1-23 home team. The Birds put a 9-4 whipping on the Rangers, behind a Cal Ripken Jr. home run and a five-run fourth inning. This was also the night plans for Camden Yards were announced, sending the crowd of 50,402 into a frenzy.
Thursday, May 7 - 7 p.m. - This game from Sept. 1, 2017 was a 1-0 pitchers’ duel that marked the Orioles’ eighth win in nine games. Jonathan Schoop was the hero, doubling in the game’s only run in the 13th as the O’s walked off the Blue Jays. Kevin Gausman’s six shutout innings started a parade of zeros that Schoop ended.
Saturday, May 9 - 10 a.m. - Chris Davis crushed home runs with regularity in 2013, and his 51st of the season set a new club record and helped beat the Red Sox in Boston on Sept. 17, 2013. Davis finished with 53 homers and 138 RBIs that season, both tops in the American League.
Saturday, May 9 - 7 p.m. - The Orioles and Astros were engaged in a slugfest on July 23, 2017, but the game is best remembered for what Zack Britton did in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 9-7 O’s victory. Britton struck out a pair in a scoreless ninth inning, working around a two-out walk, and converted his 55th straight save, a new AL record.
Sunday, May 10 - 4 p.m. - Urrutia didn’t have a long career - 34 games split between two campaigns with the Orioles in 2013 and 2015, to be exact - but this game from Aug. 19, 2015 stands out as perhaps his best memory. The Cuban outfielder led off the bottom of the ninth of a 4-4 tie by lining a 1-2 pitch from Carlos Torres over the wall in left field for a walk-off victory.
Monday, May 11 - 9 a.m. - Mark Trumbo slugged homers aplenty during his four seasons in Baltimore, and led the AL with 47 round-trippers in 2016. On April 15, 2016, Trumbo did something no Orioles player had ever done before: homered twice in the same inning at Texas. Trumbo connected off both Martín Pérez and Andrew Faulkner in the seventh, when the Birds tallied nine times en route to an 11-5 triumph.
Tuesday, May 12 - 7 p.m. - If you like home runs and Manny Machado, this game from Aug. 18, 2017 will be right up your alley. Machado homered three times against the Angels, his grand slam in the ninth walking off the Halos for a 9-7 victory.
Wednesday, May 13 - 9 a.m. - Nolan Reimold stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth on July 24, 2016 with the score knotted at 3-3 and a runner at first after a catcher’s error on a swinging strikeout to start the frame. With two down, Reimold sent a Cody Allen pitch over the wall in left-center for a walk-off two-run homer.
Wednesday, May 13 - 4 p.m. - The Nationals held a 1-0 lead over the Orioles heading to the ninth inning on June 24, 2012 in D.C. But Adam Jones singled off Sean Burnett to lead off the frame and Matt Wieters followed with a two-run homer to left-center for a 3-1 lead. Jim Johnson vanquished the Nats in the bottom of the inning, getting a double play grounder to end it.
Wednesday, May 13 - 11:30 p.m. - Ripken reached the 3,000-hit plateau on April 15, 2000 at Minnesota. The historic hit, a single over second base, came off Hector Carrasco in the seventh inning, and his teammates mobbed him at first base after a congratulatory handshake by first base coach Eddie Murray. The Orioles won 6-4 behind home runs from Charles Johnson and B.J. Surhoff.