Baltimore Orioles: From now ’till the end of time
Granted it matters the person, however with the Baltimore Orioles not making it to the World Series there’s certainly a chance that some fans will forget all of the good that occurred in the 2014 season. Part of my job this off season will be keep those moments in the forefront of the minds of the fans. One that I think will come up quite frequently is the Delmon Young bases-clearing double to give the Orioles the lead in game two of the ALDS (link).
Sports is about moments more so perhaps than anything else.
That’s what people remember and take with them throughout the years. First off if you watch the video linked above, you immediately notice that the TBS announcer is difficult to hear over the crowd. Speaking for myself, it’s tough to decipher whether or not the act itself or the crowd actually made “the moment.” If you were near the press box, you probably thought the house was coming down. To draw a comparison, it was similar to Torrey Smith’s long touchdown to beat Denver in the 2012 NFL playoffs for the Ravens.
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Young’s success in the post season has been well-documented. A role player and pinch hitter with the O’s for much of the season, he certainly has a way of picking his spots. But let’s look at this from a different angle as well. The moment that was created by Young is something that we’ve seen so many times over the years against the Orioles. The Birds would have taken a lead into late innings, only to have the likes of David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, etc. pull a stunt like that and spoil it.
And part of that is having ice water in your veins. That’s most definitely Delmon Young, who comes across as very unassuming. When asked after that game two victory what he would do to celebrate it, his response was something to the effect that he might eat some cheetos later. During the 14 losing seasons, the Orioles fell victim to many opponents in that type of manner. Whereas the Oriole players felt the pressure knowing that they were trying hard not to make mistakes, the opposing players would come to the plate or mound with no pressure whatsoever.
But that aside, I’m not sure one could re-create that type of moment. If you were in the park that day (fan or media member), I’m not sure the roar of the crowd is something you’ll readily forget. It was something that personifies post season baseball, and baseball in general at it’s very best. It also acted as a moment of civic unity for the city of Baltimore, who for so long wanted a championship-caliber team. (Granted they didn’t get a World Series champion, but they certainly got an AL East champion!) If that same scenario played out for the Orioles in a visiting ballpark, it would have been huge witout a doubt. However it wouldn’t have rung quite as pure given the fact that the crowd wouldn’t have been behind the Birds. The fans helped make that moment.
And my personal opinion is that I’ve never heard Camden Yards quite that loud. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I’ve heard any stadium that loud – and I attended Washington Redskins games in the heyday of RFK Stadium! The spontanaity of the moment lends itself to that type of reaction. Incidentally, J.J. Hardy sliding into home plate to score the go-ahead run while kicking up a cloud of dirt was almost as dramatic as the act of Young hitting the double itself. While we know that the great Roy Hobbs took out the light stacks with a home run, it almost came across as a scene out of The Natural.
These are the types of moments that have made baseball into America’s Pasttime. Where does it rank in terms of post season moments? From a league standpoint, it doesn’t rank. (Keep in mind that I’m of the opinion that Bobby Thompson‘s “shot heard ’round the world” in 1958is the greatest single moment in post season history.) However from an Orioles’ standpoint, it’s up there. Obviously nothing would compare with winning a world series, however you could also point to Tito Landrum‘s solo homer in 1983 in Chicago, and Bobby Bonilla‘s grand slam in 1997. But the Young double is certainly in that company.
So I would recommend to Orioles fans to hold onto the memory of that single moment for years to come. They don’t happen everyday, and when they do we shouldn’t allow something petty like falling in the ALCS to taint them. So my hope is that Delmon Young’s bases-clearing double in the ALDS remains in the psyche of fans…from now, until the end of time.