Baltimore Orioles: The year the magic returned


Normally I try to take an objective viewpoint towards the Orioles in this column because I feel that’s my job. If writers such as myself get overly excited or overly disappointed with everything the team does, we can’t give fair coverage to the team or on behalf of the fans. It’s really that simple; when I see writers or hear announcers use the term “we” and “us” when referring to the team, it kind of makes me wince. However I’m going to step out of that “objectivity” shroud just for a moment today…

The 2012 season is one that will be remembered for years to come around these parts. On August 20th I wrote in this column that the 2012 O’s should be forever known as the “Return to Glory Orioles.” I still think that’s a good name, as opposed to making them the second incarnation of the “why not” Orioles of 1989. However regardless of what they’re called (if anything), there were a lot of “moments” that came together to make up one of the most improbable playoff runs in baseball history. They all played a part in bringing the franchise back “to glory.”

Speaking for myself, there were two specific things that I’ll always take with me from 2012. One was very public and very dramatic, and the other not so much so. September 6th is a date that already stood in Orioles’ lore as a big moment in time. However with the Orioles opening perhaps the most important regular season series to that point at the yard against NY behind the backdrop of the Cal Ripken statue being unveiled, it was pretty special. The yard was electric that night, perhaps more so than it had ever been before. I won’t recount the game itself, other than saying that watching Adam Jones rise to the occasion when the team needed him desperately the way he did that night was something straight out of the old days of Orioles Magic. To be bluntly honest, it was awesome.

Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

The other moment is something that’s much more personal to me, and yet it was a uniquely Baltimore moment. Game one of the ALDS between the Orioles and New York took place on October 7, 2012; it was the first playoff game in Baltimore in 15 years. Hearing the chant of “O!” going up over the yard that night during the national anthem sent shivers down my spine. Orioles fans do that every game, but with the team struggling so much over the previous 15 years, little by little it seemed to take on an almost half-hearted effort over time. Not that night. It had been a long time since I had heard that chant so loud, so proud, and so meaningful. Again, this was a uniquely Baltimore moment, and one that I’ll never forget. Granted the Orioles lost that game and the series. However hearing the “O!” as such that night told me that this franchise was back and ready to reclaim it’s competitive edge in the American League.

2012 will always hold a special place in the hearts of Orioles fans. In this column published on October 1st, I said that going to the promised land in 2012 was the “finest hour” of the franchise. I still believe that; with all of the history of greatness and championships combined with the previous 15 years behind them and the fact that this year was such a surprise, that moment was the finest hour in Orioles history – in my view. However needless to say, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that 2012 wasn’t at the very least a special season. At worst, it’s quite simply what the title suggests: the year the magic returned.

So I now throw this out to the fans; what are your favorite moments from the season, pennant race, playoffs?