"We ain’t gotta dream no more man"—Russell Bell, from The Wire
With Manny Machado-mania sweeping through Baltimore, the Orioles are the best story in sports this September. With 19 games remaining in the regular season, the magical Baltimore Orioles are in first place, still.
This is not a dream.
With two walk-off wins in a row, Camden Yards is awakening at just the right time. While Machado is the star this week, this entire roster of washed-up starting pitchers, journeymen corner outfielders and young, promising stars have come together to make this summer a magical one.
No matter what happens the rest of the way, this 2012 season will be remembered for a very long time. Even if the O’s go another 14 straight years with a losing record and return to .500 mark again in 2026, this ’12 season will never be forgotten.
Just imagine 15 years or so down the road, the O’s are back in the doldrums of the AL East and you are sitting with your buddy, father or brother.
“Remember when Chris Davis went 0-for-8, then in the 15th inning he struck out Adrian Gonzalez and got the winning decision in Fenway that one Sunday afternoon?”
“Deputy Davis, how could I forget? He had like 30 dingers that year.”
“What about that guy [Teagarden] who hit the walk-off in extras in his first game with the team?” “Nah Pops, the best play was Manny faking to first and trapping Tampa’s pinch-runner between third and home. Then he scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth!”
Hopefully, there are more memories like those ready to be created this fall.
Just this season alone, I have witnessed walk-off hits from Taylor Teagarden, Wilson Betemit, Nate McLouth, Adam Jones and Machado. That’s five walk-offs I watched live, in the flesh, and I don’t even get press credentials.
Starting this season, only two of those players were in the major leagues.
Tickets are cheap, and this team is simply incredibly fun to watch, so get to the Yard.
The Birds will have a winning record and most likely make the playoffs this year, barring an unforeseen collapse. Either way, my first summer living within walking distance of Camden Yards will be remembered for walk-off wins, winning the one-run games and, of course, Adam Jones hitting his teammates with shaving-cream pies on a nightly basis.
This team is real. Just when many—including me—had given up hope until the divisions were realigned, they have found the Orioles' magic elixir once again.
As the glorious Orioles song says, "I feel like a kid again, when I am at the Yard."