I’m a big fan of dates. There is something about the way my mind works that let’s me remember dates for all sorts of things, past and present, good and bad, inconsequential or significant. The past four seasons have seen all sorts of memorable dates for the Orioles, some of which will be historically significant, some of which are only important to me. With the O’s having secured home field advantage for the 2014 American League Division Series, now is as good as any time to take a look back.
July 29, 2010 – Buck Showalter is hired as the Orioles manager
The significance of this has been written about ad-naseum. No need to rehash what has been written about by people far more qualified than myself. In his first series as manager against the Angels, Buck lead the O’s to their first sweep of the year and the team would finish 2010 with a 34-23 the rest of the way, an amazing feat considering the team had been playing about .380 ball prior to his arrival.
September 19-21, 2011 – Orioles take 3 out of 4 from Boston in Fenway
The Orioles take 3 out of 4 from the Red Sox in Fenway, making a big dent in the spiral that was September 2011 for Boston. The one loss, game two of a day-night doubleheader, was a route that saw starting pitcher Brian Matusz get clobbered once again during his tough 2011 campaign. The three wins all featured saves by Jim Johnson, who has replaced Kevin Gregg as the closer in late August.
September 26-28, 2011 – Orioles take 2 out of 3 from Boston in Baltimore, ending the Red Sox post season hopes
September 28, and into the early morning hours of September 29, was the high point of my Orioles fandom at one time. Down 3-2 and facing Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds struck out before Chris Davis laced a first pitch fastball down the right field line for a double. Nolan Reimold went down to his last strike before scorching a ball into the right-center gap, driving in pinch runner Kyle Hudson to knot the score at 3-3. Robert Andino, on a 1-1 pitch, sent the Red Sox home for good with a single to left that Carl Crawford couldn’t make a sliding grab on. Reimold and Andino will always have a special place with me, if just for their memorable September 2011.
Click here to read the Orioles Observer five part series on September 28, 2011.
May 6, 2012 – Orioles Sweep the Red Sox in Fenway
The infamous game with Chris Davis being the winning pitcher after 17 hard fought innings from both teams. Davis, having struck out five times as the designated hitter, proceeded to strike out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Adrian Gonzalez and induced a double play to give the Orioles the win. The O's would continue to dominate the Red Sox for the next three seasons.
October 5, 2012 – The Orioles become the first American League Wild Card Champions
A little more than a year later, my fandom was once again topped as Paul and I were in Texas to see the Orioles win the first AL Wild Card play in game.
Click here to read our in depth series about the road trip to Texas.
October 8, 2012 – Orioles win first playoff game at home in 15 years
The night after a disappointing late inning loss to the Yankees, the Orioles rebounded behind Wei-Yin Chen and defeated the Yankees to even up the series at one game a piece. Jim Johnson struck out Alex Rodriquez for the final out, a fitting ending for an amazing season. It only took 3 days for my highest moment as an Oriole to be topped this time.
September 16, 2014 – Orioles clinch the American League East for the first time since 1997.
Two years later, the Orioles finally got to celebrate clinching the playoffs with their fans at home. This is something we may not see for a while in the American League East: a team clinching the division with more than a week of a half of games left to be played. I’m still soaking it all in.