As if the Baltimore Orioles didn’t do enough for the fans and for the Baltimore community in 2012, they’ll complete the calendar year by sponsoring the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration tonight. Local band Outbreak will play at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater (Pratt & Light Streets) starting at 9 PM as the city counts down to midnight and 2013. Orioles Magic and Glad you came are expected to be played at some point! Regardless of what happens moving forward, I think it’s safe to say that Orioles fans will never forget 2012. When they clinched a postseason spot, I penned a column entitled In our finest hour. You can read that entire column by clicking here, however here are some highlights:
I think that the Baltimore Orioles would have preferred to have some sort of dramatic moment at home in front of their fans as they clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 1997. However you take what you can get. Going into league play yesterday the Orioles’ magic number was two. That meant that a win and an Anaheim loss (or a loss and two Anaheim losses – in their doubleheader with Texas) would put them in the playoffs. The O’s certainly did their part in beating Boston 6-3, and Texas led 4-3 in the top of the ninth in game one. The entire Orioles’ team and all of the fans stayed and watched the end of the game on Diamondvision, however to their credit Anaheim’s late game heroics got them a win.
You had to feel badly for Buck Showalter, the Orioles, and all of the fans that stayed at Camden Yards that day. The Birds had just defeated the Boston Red Sox 6-3 in the final regular season home game, and they all stayed to hopefully celebrate a playoff birth. As I said in October, to their credit Anaheim battled back and forced the Orioles to get on their flight to Tampa with their postseason fate still technically hanging in the balance.
As the Orioles began their trip to Tampa for the final series of the regular season, Texas and Anaheim began the night cap of their twin bill. Anaheim led early, however Texas mounted a comeback to win the game, and to thrust the Orioles into the playoffs for the first time since 1997.
As some folks will remember, the Orioles’ flight that night included a stopover in Jacksonville due to a small fire on board the plane. Someone at some point remarked that the O’s were so hot the plane caught fire. However one of the players saw on his phone that Texas had beaten Anaheim in the night cap, which clinched a playoff birth for the Birds. Applause broke out on the plane, as well as among the Oriole fans.
In clinching a playoff spot and guaranteeing themselves a trip to the “promised land,” the Orioles have paid homage to the franchise’s storied past. The likes of Brooks & Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Earl Weaver, and of course the great Cal Ripken Jr. are all standing and applauding this morning. However we shouldn’t quickly forget the 14 years that preceded today. There were lots of hardships that befell the Orioles, some of which were self-inflicted and some of which were not. I suppose that nothing can top the feeling of a world championship, which the Orioles have celebrated three times in their history. However given the years between then and now along with the hardships of the last 14 years and the expectations for 2012 at the beginning, there’s something that should be said regarding this moment and this team:
This is our finest hour…this is the finest hour in the history of the Baltimore Orioles.
That’s quite a statement I suppose. As I said back in October – and above – the Orioles are a team that’s hoisted a world championship trophy three times. So wouldn’t it stand to reason that one of those moments should be the finest hour in the history of the franchise? I suppose so, however my point is with all of that history behind us combined with the just-completed 14 years of futility, perhaps simply going to the postseason is right on par with those championships. Time loves a hero, and the Orioles played the role of an ancient warrior waking to take up his kingdom once again magnificently in 2012.
At the stroke of midnight this story will continue to go on. Something magic undoubtedly happened in Baltimore in 2012. However once tomorrow comes we will cease to look backwards for all intents and purposes. The term “this season” will begin to represent 2013, and we’ll begin anew. On behalf of our great staff of writers here at Birds Watcher and the Fansided Network, I’d like to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for hanging with us this past year. We all look forward to doing it again in 2013, starting tomorrow! May you all have a very happy new year, and may none of us ever forget that clinching that postseason appearance was the finest hour in the history of the Baltimore Orioles.