June 28, 2015. What. A. Day.
Following a rainout on Saturday, the Orioles were faced with a day-night double header against the Cleveland Indians. There were season ticket holder events cancelled, promotions moved around and rescheduled, and a number of roster decisions on the table.
When we think June 28, though, we’re not going to be thinking about #SHOWtheGnome; We’re going to look back at the end of the year and think, “man..remember when the O’s were back?”
This was the most memorable day in recent Orioles history since last September when we “reclaimed the crown” and took home our first AL East championship since 1997. I was lucky enough to take part of the second half of the day, and it’s a memory I won’t soon forget. Let me take you through my day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
So I had tickets to Saturday’s game. I, like countless others, were equally excited for the Orioles Orange Carpet season ticket holder press conference with Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter as well as the #SHOWtheGnome giveaway.
The Baseball Gods had other plans, however, and a rainout cancelled the event and pushed the game to Sunday evening. So I joined the nearly 86,000 people in Baltimore on Sunday, budging our way through the crowded lines to get our hands on the best Orioles promo I can remember.
There was a different buzz around the city on Sunday. There was a playoff feel around Oriole Park that hasn’t been around since the ALCS last October. It may have just been the mass number of people around Eutaw Street, but the atmosphere was amazing.
This was the kind of excitement that drew ESPN to feature the O’s game on Monday night against Texas as their primetime matchup. Unfortunately, that was a bit of a let down, but Sunday was everything but.
I got to the park around 3:45, towards the tail end of the first 4-0 victory. From behind the gates, I could see Ubaldo Jimenez walk off the field to a standing ovation following his 8th shutout inning of the day; a thought that many O’s fans never dreamed possible following his 2014 season.
What a cool site to see. Ubaldo, unfairly deemed a bust following one bad season, being saluted after yet another impressive start. Jimenez improved to 7-3 on the year, with his ERA hovering right around 3.00. Certainly earning his contract in 2015.
Like Ubaldo got the W, I got my gnome. I’m fangirl-ing hard with this thing. Buck is an icon to me. He was/is such an important part of this franchise and the recent turnaround we have had, so to be able to get my hands on this giveaway was absolutely awesome. Now it was Chris Tillman‘s turn to go get his win, and end the day with both a double header and series sweep.
Tilly was sharp, as sharp as he’s been through the 2015 season, which has been about as disappointing as Ubaldo’s 2014. Great to see him pitch so well under a lot of media and fan scrutiny throughout the week. Tillman led the way for the O’s on the mound, and the offense cued the fireworks in support of their ace. Chris Davis, Travis Snider and Chris Parmelee all slugged homers in the 6th inning giving the Orioles an 8-0 lead.
That was the most memorable offensive inning I can think of since the “Double Heard Round the World” off the bat of Delmon Young in the ALDS. Sure, the 19 run outburst against Philly was fun and all, but this was on another level. The offense is firing on all cylinders, and they’re finally healthy. These boys are going to be fun to watch the remainder of this season.
Speaking of fun to watch:
This was absolutely unbelievable. I stood up and screamed when Snider reeled in that ball. That was the best catch I’ve seen in person, and I was there for Mike Trout‘s historic HR robbery of J.J. Hardy in 2013. This play had fans thinking “Markakis who?” Bravo, Travis, bravo.
That was the exclamation point on the six-run inning, and on the day for the Birds. With the sweep, the Orioles jumped back into first place in the American League East, and it’s never felt so good. The Birds are back, and the rest of the AL better watch out. Dan Duquette appeared on MLB Network earlier Tuesday afternoon and spoke highly of his team and about their aggressiveness towards going after a championship this season; “We’re going to win the AL East again and we will make the moves before the deadline to assure that.”
Just like we did last season when we acquired Andrew Miller at a high price.” Duquette seems motivated on bringing a championship to Baltimore, and he doesn’t seem timid about shopping some of their top prospects in order to win this season.
As a fan, this has to be what you want to hear. This creates even more excitement around the Orioles, and I hope there are many days to come that are as much fun as Sunday June 28. The day the Birds were back.