Camden Classics

You know when you wake up feeling happy and feeling good, but cannot pinpoint exactly why?  That’s how I woke up this morning.  It is Monday – the start of another work week – but I woke up feeling energized and ready to go.  As I got ready for work, I figured the good vibes must just be because my two bosses are going to be out of the office today which should make this work day a relative breeze.  When I got to the Inner Harbor on my walk into work, my mind wandered and I thought “that was a good win last night”.  I quickly caught myself – the O’s didn’t play last night and yesterday’s afternoon exhibition game ended in a tie.  I thought for a moment and then it hit me – I was still feeling the joyous side effects of watching a replay of the O’s 10-run comeback against Boston on June 30,2009, that was shown on MASN last night as part of the Camden Yards 20th Anniversary Greatest Games countdown.  Riding the good feelings of a three-year old win the day after watching a replay of the game is a sure sign that I need some real, live, meaningful baseball in the worst way.  Luckily, Opening Day is right around the corner.  Speaking of the Greatest Camden Yards Games Countdown that has been airing on MASN, after last night there are just four games left with numbers twenty through five already having been revealed.  Three of the remaining games seem like relative no-brainers to me:  Opening Day 1992 (first game at Camden Yards and Rick Sutcliffe pitches a complete game shutout); September 6, 1995 (Cal Ripken, Jr. plays in his 2131st consecutive game); and September 28, 2011 (Orioles score two runs in the 9th inning to eliminate the Red Sox from the playoffs on the final day of the regular season).  I have no idea on the order, but I would be surprised if those three games aren’t in the top four.  The other one is more of a mystery to me.

There have been plenty of exciting, extra-inning games won by the Orioles at Camden Yards, some of which I think were worthy of making the Top 20.  I have always been fond of this game from OPACY’s inaugural season.  The game went 14 innings.   Rick Dempsey got a bunt base hit to leadoff the 10th inning, which would be his only hit for the O’s in his final season, and if my memory serves me right the crowd absolutely came unglued for it.  Mike Devereaux, my favorite player as a kid, singled in the 14th to win the game for the O’s.  However, considering that last night’s game was the biggest O’s comeback of all time and there have already been several extra-inning comebacks shown on the countdown, I am doubtful a game like that will pop up this high.  At this point, I think we are down to games that have some sort of milestone or notable achievement attached to them.

Remembering that this is a countdown of “Camden Yards Classics”, I could see the 1993 All-Star game showing up.  However, the game itself was a lopsided 9-3 AL victory and is best remembered on a National scale for the Randy Johnson/John Kruk faceoff in the second inning.  Besides the game being at OPACY, there isn’t much memorable about it from an O’s perspective as Cal went 0-3 and Mike Mussina was infamously left out of the game, despite manager Cito Gaston having Mussina warm up in the 8th inning and making it look like the Oriole starter was going to get in the game (of course, this helped fuel the “Cito Sucks” craze around Baltimore, so it was not a total loss).  I read someone throw out Cal’s last game at Camden Yards as the possible other game in the final foul.  That seems like a safe bet since it meets the standards of the other three games.  Memorable event (Cal’s final game at home)? Check.  Good game (O’s and Yankees end in a 1-1 tie after 15 innings)?  Check again.

Regardless of how the last four shake out, the series has been a lot of fun in terms of being able to relive past memories and see classic games that I didn’t pay much attention to the first time around.  Here’s hoping that the O’s continue what they started with the final game of the 2011 season and add more memorable games to the Camden Yards’ lore in 2012.