Probably Rick Dempsey’s most oft-quoted line is that “nothing good happens after a walk.” But more recently I’ve heard him saying over and over, “I’ve never seen anything like it!” To the many people in my world who know that I am an Orioles fan/writer and who talk with me about the Birds, I find myself saying the same thing. As I’ve written in this column before, I’m older than most folks on the network, and I’ve simply by virtue of that seen more games and seasons. As a writer, one does not want to over-hype something or call a set of circumstances the greatest, bestest, mostest … whatever … you get the idea.
People, this Orioles season is weird! It does not add up; it makes no sense. It is not the greatest baseball story of all-time … nor will it be even if the Orioles were to incredibly win it all, but it is, at a minimum, exceedingly unique. Posting 16 consecutive extra innings victories is weird. 68-0 when leading after seven innings is weird. Leading the league in road victories is weird. And doing all of this with a lineup salted all year with varied re-treads … this is exceedingly weird! Some of the greatest teams ever assembled do not do these sorts of things. It is all strange enough for us 50-somethings to even say, “I’ve never seen anything like it!”
Hero du jour
July 27, 2012; Baltimore Orioles designated hitterJim Thome
(25) at bat in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
Every day it is a different guy who comes through in the clutch. Today the most critical hit came from Jim Thome, who followed an Adam Jones 12th-inning double with a ground rule double of his own. This was after a rough day as the designated hitter in his first game back since July. Thome was 0-5 in the first 9 innings. I’ll confess to thinking to myself when he was at bat in the top of the 9th with two outs, “He’s gonna strike out; he’s a nice guy and was a great player, but this is a waste of a place in the lineup right now.” And sure enough, he strikes out at that time. But the only thing that would more bring a player out of a slump is me not just saying it, but writing it in this column! But I’m cool with that if it works for the team.
Well, the Yankees and A’s were battling into extra innings at the same time – tied 5-5 after 9 innings. Oakland put up 4 runs in the top of the 13th … and everyone knows the Yankees won’t go down easily. And sure enough, they answered with 4 of their own, and then won the game in the 14th. The silver lining in this is that even though the Yankees pulled it out, at least it was over Oakland – sending them another game behind in the wild card race.
I don’t get it how people cannot like following baseball when there are all these great stories in the works!