Aug 8, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles teammates celebrate after their game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles won 12-2. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: An Incredible, Unforgettable, Magical Evening

The night of August 8, 2014 will be and evening that goes down in Baltimore Orioles lore as one of the most wonderful and magical events in franchise history. A packed house at Camden Yards saw the O’s blast six home runs on the way to a 12-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Next followed an incredible multimedia show and tribute to the 60 years of baseball in Baltimore.

I am not an easily-impressed guy. For example, I drove up to Mount Rushmore a few years ago, got out of the car and said, “That’s it? That’s as big as it gets?” I expected somewhat WAY bigger. It was a great disappointment.

In fact, much of the beauty of the West is lost on me, and I agree with the quote from the famous movie “Dumb and Dumber” about the Rocky Mountains…

Harry Dunne: I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this.

Lloyd Christmas: I was thinking the same thing. That John Denver’s full of crap, man.

All to say, I’m not often blown away by exceeded expectations, but the tribute show after the ballgame was absolutely incredible. The warehouse was used as a backdrop screen for projection with some phenomenally amazing graphics and video. The text for the program was perfect and the soundtrack simply awesome!

Baltimore Orioles players from the past 60 years were brought to the field one by one as memories were re-lived by many … well, I don’t know how many remember all of them, but, I do!

It all began with Milt Pappas … tonight, and …..

The day was May 2, 1964 and I was in 3rd grade. It was my first big-league ballgame and Pappas was the starting pitcher. I was amazed by the spectacle of it all, and even though the O’s lost that game to the Indians in 13 innings, a love was born in me and I was hooked for life.

Over the years, every one of those honored tonight I’ve seen play in Baltimore, including being at the 4th and final game of the 1966 World Series, won by the Orioles 1-0 on a Frank Robinson home run. I was pretty far away by the right field foul pole to see the homer particularly well, but the seats were perfect for watching Paul Blair bring a Dodgers home run ball back into the park with a grand leap at the center-field wall.

I saw Don Buford hit that opening home run in the ’69 Series and then died within when the Mets won it all.

But a year later, I skipped out of my high school cross country practice after school to go to the one office in the building that had a little TV so that I could see the Orioles beat the Reds in the final game on a weekday afternoon. I got in lots of trouble with the coach, but it was worth it.

So the entire show was a trip down my personal memory lane of baseball, and it has been a great ride with the Baltimore Orioles … capped on this day by a magical evening.

And it is a joy to come on here daily with you friends in what is for me, I presume, nearing the final innings of my personal game, and to share my thoughts and perspectives. Some days there are hundreds of you, sometimes there are a few thousand, but in any event it is a privilege that I trust gives you even a fraction of the joy it provides me in writing about it.

Buck Showalter expressed his hopes earlier in the day that the team would put on a show worthy of the occasion. Check! Imagine being an Orioles player like Brad Brach or Jonathan Schoop – coming out on the field at the end of the celebration to mingle with the greats of the past, including multiple Hall-of-Famers. Awesome indeed!

And I wondered too what it must have been like to be one of the Cardinals – after getting totally pasted, and then being in the locker room with the stadium shaking from the crowds, the fireworks, and the show. It might have been akin to being a Parthian warrior captured by the Romans, awaiting from within the bowels of the Coliseum for your turn with the lions in the arena.

Okay … maybe that was a bit over the top as a picture, but it was a great night and show in every way. I hope you all got to see it either in person or on MASN. If not, I am sure it will be shown again, perhaps for years to come.

Go O’s.

Aug 8, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Steve Pearce (28) catches a pop-up by St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark Ellis (not pictured) in the seventh inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles won 12-2. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports


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