The Atlanta Braves are coming into Baltimore to face the Orioles. This will be the first time the Braves are visiting Camden Yards since 2009 and it just so happens that they have a former Oriole on their team.
That is right, folks, Jim Johnson is back in Camden Yards for the first time out of an Oriole uniform. I’m kidding, he returned here in 2014 with the Oakland Athletics. One little side note: he gave up a home run to David Lough in his return but that is besides the point. What we are focusing on this series is former Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis.
This will be Markakis’ first time playing a baseball game in Baltimore since Game Two of the ALCS, which we will not discuss any further. What we will discuss today is some great moments Nick has had while playing for the Orioles.
Markakis spent nine seasons in Baltimore, and I pretty much watched every single game he has played in, up until this season because I don’t watch Braves games; they’re the Braves. I have some great memories from Nick Markakis in his time in Baltimore and here is what I think are the top five of those moments.
Number Five: Nick Markakis hits three home runs in one game
I looked around the internet for a good 15 minutes before I stopped trying to look for video of this happening, because I can not find it. If you know where any video of this is, tweet it to us and we shall edit it in.
Nonetheless, this was a great game for the rookie, at the time. Coming into the day with only eight career home runs, Markakis would spend the night hitting three home runs, all off Carlos Silva, to help propel the Orioles to a 6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Number Four: Nick Markakis homers during Derek Jeter’s final Yankee Stadium roll call
Okay, this is pretty much trolling at it’s finest. While the famed Bleacher Creatures are doing their roll call which included Yankee greats Chris Young and Stephen Drew, they would get to that Jeter guy but while all that was happening, Nick Markakis decided to put one into the right field seats. It was a funny and awkward moment in a game where Derek Jeter would get the final laugh.
Number Three: Nick Markakis shows emotion; gets ejected
I know this would not exactly be a moment everybody likes to remember about Nick Markakis, but it is one I will never forget. In a game where C.J. Wilson, then of the Texas Rangers, was simply dominating the Orioles hitters, when it came to a few strike calls against Nick Markakis, Nick let umpire Jeff Nelson know that Wilson does not need help.
After another really questionable strike call that would see Markakis being struck out, he let Jeff Nelson know he was not happy, which led to his ejection. Since I can not find statistics for ejections before 2012, I will assume this was Markakis’ first and only ejection from a baseball game.
Number Two: Nick Markakis hits a home run in the 2014 ALDS
Let us take you back to 2012 for a moment. On September 8th, in a game against the New York Yankees, an inside pitch from C.C. Sabathia ran in and got Nick Markakis on the hand. I was attending this game at the time and so many emotions ran through my head. First of doubt that he was hurt, then foolishness because he was hurt, sadness because he was taken out the game and then despair that he would be out for the remainder of the year.
When it came time for the Orioles to make the postseason, all eyes were on Markakis to see if the hand had heeled in time. The earliest he could possibly get into a game was in the ALCS, if the Orioles were to make it that far. Their season ended in Game Five of the ALDS to the New York Yankees and C.C. Sabathia, meaning Markakis did not see any postseason action on the field.
Fast forward to 2014; a fully healthy Nick Markakis makes his postseason debut finally after 9 long seasons and one missed opportunity. What happened in his second career postseason game would turn out to be just a relief. In a scoreless ball game, with a runner on first, Nick Markakis walks up and takes Justin Verlander’s 3-2 delivery out for a home run. After a review of the play, the call stood and Markakis had his first postseason home run.
Number One: The Orioles win the AL East, Nick Markakis takes it all in
By now, we have know the GIF seen all around Baltimore, but let us take one more second to enjoy it.
Just great. Out of all of great moments from the night Orioles clinched the AL East, this was my favorite. I was there that night and the first person I thought about was Nick Markakis. All of the hard work he has put in, all of the disappointment, and now he finally got to experience this great moment.
Baseball is a business and in business, you have to make decisions that are not always going to be the most popular. The move to not resign Nick Markakis and allow him to go to the Atlanta Braves was probably very hard for Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter and company to make. Orioles fans from all over are still sad to see the move be made, especially with the struggles of Nick’s replacements.
It is a tough sport, being a fan is hard when one of your favorite guys leaves your favorite team. At the end of the day, the Orioles are still here, the sun will shine tomorrow and we will always have the memories of Nick Markakis from his days in black and orange. We love you, Nick.