Top 20 Games of 2014: Game #8

8. Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers (Sunday, October 5, 2014 – 3:45 pm – 2-1)

After Paul and I attended games one and two of the ALDS, the second of which was a family outing with my parents, we were at a cross roads.  Where do we watch game three?  Being up 2-0 in a best of 5 series was uncharted territory for the Orioles and for us as fans. 

With West Virginia football playing on Saturday afternoon, we decided to go to our parents house in Gaithersburg to watch that game and stay overnight to watch game three on Sunday.  It was really a no brainer.  West Virginia beat Kansas 33-14 and we went into Sunday knowing that the O’s were potentially 9 innings away from advancing to the most meaningful series in recent memory.

Our Dad comes to 3-4 games a year with us and is a big Orioles fan, as is our Mom.  But our Orioles fandom is derived from him.  Growing up on Long Island, he was a Yankee fan until he moved into the Washington DC area in the late 70’s.  By that point in his life, he wasn't enamored by Steinbrenner and having moved to the area, he became an Oriole fan as they were the local Washington/Baltimore baseball team.  Thus, Paul and I grew up as Oriole fans.  In retrospect, it is almost comical that we could have been New York Yankee fans.  Yankee fans.  How repugnant?

Our Dad’s fandom does not include wearing Orioles gear to games.  It’s never been his thing and is something that we never even thought about it.  Towards the end of the 2014 season, my Dad borrowed an Orioles polo shirt to wear to a game in the last homestand of the season.  He proceeded to wear that to game two of the ALDS as well.  It was something new and out of the norm for him.

So at 3:30 on October 5 when Dad came downstairs with his ¾ sleeve Orioles give-a-way shirt from earlier in the year, I smiled to myself and didn’t say a word about it.  Wearing an Orioles related shirt to a playoff game makes sense, even for someone who hasn’t traditionally done that.  Paul and I had our Orioles stuff on, out of habit and because that’s my wardrobe during the summer anyway. But to put this shirt on for a game that we were watching at home was significant.  That’s when it finally dawned on me that this was a different game.  This had the chance to be special. 

There’s no need for a game recap here.  Everyone knows what happened.  The crescendo of the game is nicely summed up by Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post: 

DETROIT — There were no questions asked — only orders given and statements made. “We’re going to walk this guy,” Buck Showalter said to the six Baltimore Orioles he had gathered on the Comerica Park pitcher’s mound in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the American League Division Series. “The next guy’s going to hit into a double play, and we’re gonna go home.” The whole thing was less a prediction than an edict.