Tuesday night ended up being one giant celebration at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I’ve been to Opening Day. I’ve seen records set. I’ve been to playoff games. But the night that the Orioles clinched the American League East Championship in 2014 was pure Orioles Magic.
This is the night I had the most fun at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Ever.
The Orioles had taken three of four games against the New York Yankees over the weekend to set up a final showdown against the Toronto Blue Jays. The math was simple, win two of three games against Toronto and the Baltimore Orioles win the American League East Championship. I put my faith in the team winning the first two games of the series and got tickets for Monday and Tuesday night to experience some Orioles magic in September.
Monday night was a beautiful fall evening. The summer humidity, so prevalent in Baltimore, was gone. The game time temperature was in the 60’s. The Orioles sent pitcher Wei-Yin Chen to the mound. Chen had already won fifteen games, so optimism was high as the evening started, but Toronto quickly scored in the first inning.
Orioles Magic was alive and well. Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz each drove in a run and the Orioles moved ahead 2-1 at the end of the first inning. From that point forward, it just seemed as if they just couldn’t lose. Nelson Cruz knocked in another run in the third inning and then Ryan Flaherty put the game away with a home run deep over the right field wall. In the end, the Orioles won pretty convincingly 5-2 setting up a huge game on Tuesday night.
Orioles Park at Camden Yards was a sea of orange for the Tuesday night game. On the mound for the Orioles was Ubaldo Jimenez, who hadn’t pitched in a month. The fans were clearly nervous. Like the night before, Toronto scored first, and like the night before, the Orioles came right back. This time, it was Steve Pearce who hit a big three run home run to center field. Camden Yards went crazy. Orioles Magic was alive and well.
From that point forward, the stands were one big party. Ubaldo Jimenez gave up another run in the second inning, but at that point, everyone in the stands could sense that this was the Orioles night. And they were right. In the bottom of the second inning, Jimmy Paredes hit a home run to center field. Chants of Let’s Go O’s were constantly in the air. Carne Cabeza, the fat, shirtless, shameless kid in a cape came to our section to lead us in an Orioles Chant better than the Oriole Bird itself could have done.
In the seventh inning, Alejandro De Aza tripled. Everything seemed to be going the Orioles way. With every inning, every pitch, the crowd grew louder. Darren O’Day came in to pitch and the fans sang. Andrew Miller came on and the fans sang even louder.
By the time Tommy Hunter came on to finish off the game, you just knew there was no way they could lose. The fans had been on their feet since the seventh inning stretch. With the final out, the crowd went wild. The moment Baltimore Orioles fans had been waiting for since the 1990’s had finally happened. American League East Champions!
Fireworks went off as the players celebrated in the middle of the field. The players then headed to the locker room for champagne and beer.
While the giant scoreboard in center field showed the celebration taking place in the locker room, the fans descended on the lower concourse and started surrounding the field.
Finally, the players came out with bottles of beer and champagne to soak the crowd. They all did a lap around the stands, high fiving the crowd. Finally Adam Jones made a lap holding a championship flag with a championship belt over his shoulder.
By the end of the night, all of those past seasons were just a memory. From Syd Thrift and his confederate money to the constant meddling of owner Peter Angelos, none of it mattered. Oriole Magic was alive and well once again.