It was all worth it. And as time goes by it will hit me even more. This was special! :)
Footage courtesy of WBAL TV.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Game #81 - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 7:05 P.M.
Before I do the thank you's, goodbyes, farewells, and see you later pals. Pictures included are : Kevin Gregg winning the award for Most Saves by an Orioles, and Vladimir Guerrero got one heck of standing ovation for winning the award for most hits by a Dominican Born player. And finally, Adam Jones winning Most Valuable Oriole, which is deserved. A case could also be made for Matt Wieters and JJ Hardy. There will be more pictures added in the next few days or weeks. The last two photos are copyrighted to MASNsports. :)
I want to thank you all so much. I did shed some tears during the walk-off win. This was one of the greatest finishes to an Orioles game or sporting event I have ever been a part of. Because of the rain delay and the way the game was going, I thought it was going to be a bit of a letdown. Still fun, but maybe not the way I thought this would all come to a grand finale. I'm glad I was proved wrong. Game #80 where the bird spoke to me and said thank you, was maybe one of the greatest moments in my life. I am very serious about this. But tonight was something surreal. It echoed the monumental comeback from 2009 where the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox and there was a near two-hour rain delay for that one. That comeback was shown during this series. I believe the night before. What an omen. What portending. Beautiful.
I must thank Robert Andino. I caught a foul ball he hit back in game #75 (blog explains the quantum nature of the moments leading up to that) and acknowledged to Mr. Dutes that one of my favorite memories of this season was the first ever inside-the-park home run by an Oriole at Camden Yards this season. That was the first thing that came out of my mouth when he asked me that. And the respective at-bats of Chris Davis, Nolan Reimold, and finally Andino were so fitting. They are three Orioles who were not guaranteed to be in the future plans or starting next season. They have all played well as of late, so who knows where the future, or better to say present, will dictate things. I must restate that walk-offs are the greatest thing ever in sports and in life. Andino was a bit harsh in his celebration and words, if you lip read, but it's the heat of the moment. His post-comments were the same. But again, it's a team wanting to build momentum and hope for next season. I understand the context. His Andino at The Movies has been some of the funnier stuff in between the innings on the jumbotron.
And onto my other point. Most folks understand that this is just a game. Most of the players are friendly to each other in real life and it's business. So when the Oriole fans rip Boston apart, it's a tad disheartening. Boston has all four major sports champions in a 10 year span. They should be applauded for that. Not everyone from Boston is a bad fan or a bad person. They are most likely a small minority. Very small. I have a lot of friends that "hate" other sports teams because of location or what they stand for. I have never been about that and will never allow someone to influence me to do so. No matter how hard they try. And some have. Just let it be. I am happy the Orioles won. It has nothing to do with who they played.
I want to thank everyone who came tonight. Willy Dely was a huge friend tonight. He videotaped certain parts of my final game. In addition, he brokered an interview with me that aired on WBAL, last night at 11 pm with Sheldon Dutes. A big thank you to Sheldon. (Image is above) That was real treat. And I feel that it has all come full-circle now. If/when the video is posted, it will be updated on this blog. A major thank you to Muriel, Jenny and Rick for making three posters for me. I did not win fan of the game. But we got on tv and the jumbotron a lot. Thanks to Bryan Krandle for making that possible. I want to thank Pete, Shaun, Tom G. (who mysteriously ended up in club level for the duration), Bill W., Tracy, Dave, Katie, Scott S., Marc, Faith, Gina (they had a ton of pals with them too) and Kevin who hung out in our section today. A thank you to Kevin O'Malley for the amazing drawing you see above. Nestor from WNST came over to say hello for a little. I would be happy and honored to do an interview or segment with him in the offseason or around the start of next season. If I forgot anyone, I apologize. I will add names and edit this as we go along. Thanks to Mackenzie and her brother for getting in a picture as well Thanks to Charlie in Section 12 who recognized me from this season. Photo included :) Thank you to Kelly, Natty Boh, Robert, Joe, Earl, Brandie, Charlie, and Donnell. Thanks to Bridget, Becky, Jeff, BarRob, Jae, Nicole, Aubrey, Amanda, Lauren, Paul, Shaina, Sabrina, Alleigh, Brenna, Scotty, Rebecca, and of course Jack from Slainte, Koopers, Riptide, Waterfront Hotel, Thames Street Oyster House, and Dogwatch Tavern Respectively. Thanks to the Football Family at Slainte. Big thanks to John and Cindy for first finding us on tv back in April. Thanks to Kyle and Nate for hanging out, especially during the weekend and day games. Thanks to Chris, Vijay, Melanie and Gary Robert who came out for quite a few. And of course Charlie V. I will add more names as times goes on. I am very touched that our Section 8 has become our area to meet up and enjoy ourselves and each other. I rather enjoy this time to remember now then wonder if we can all do this again next year.
One thing I will take from this is the friendships that have been formed, bonded, and strengthened respectively throughout this season. The whole point of this entire thing was to experience joy and to show love for one another. We were all here to support the Orioles, or whomever you supported. But I wanted to show this in a different light. There is no need to belittle or undermine other teams. The way the Orioles won and the Red Sox lost, and The Rays beating the Yankees instantaneously is no accident. There was something cosmic and metaphysic going on last night. I don't believe in accidents or coincidences. There has been a strange aura in my world and a few others have told me the same, for the past few days. It all came to fruition last night. We see Baltimore beat Boston and the jumbotron shows Tampa Bay celebrating their walk-off in, then they go right back and show their walk-off home run, seconds earlier. A surreal moment in time. Our energies all feed off each other. It's just what it is. So I feel that this was the only fitting way to end this 81 game undertaking. I am so happy I finished this. I am proud of myself. And proud of everyone who joined in. And thanks to everyone who wrote to me on facebook, twitter, text messages, and phone calls last night. I am truly touched. And here I thought, all I did was buy a ticket for 81 games and drive from Harford County to sit and watch baseball. :) Thank you.
Finally, the Oriole Bird again spoke to me tonight and said thank you. And I got one of my all-time favorite pictures with him this season. He said see you opening day, if not before. The night before, he asked me if I would do all 81 again next season... My answer was... ;)
Updated 10/13/11 : Thanks to Muriel for the additional photos! :)
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Game #80 - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 7:05 P.M. This has been so fun. People may sound delusional when they believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny at a certain age/point in their lives. But tonight, I truly believe in the Orioles Bird. I got one photo with him earlier, but then after the 7th Inning Stretch, he was happy to have me come over for a second photo (in overalls). He actually put his arm around me afterwards and said he recognized me from all the games this season and the City Paper ad. This was the antithesis of the halfway mark, where I thought I was scaring him. He thanked me and said we need more fans like him. He asked me if I would do this next year... Well... :) It was the icing. Right there, I felt this season was all for it. I did tear up a little bit. These are moments that are not commonplace. But feel good moments should be perpetual. I was genuinely touched.
Photos include : Mark Reynolds winning the CareFirst most walks by an Oriole Award and
behind the dugout, the last batter with Adam Jones facing Jonathan Papelbon.
The Orioles lost, but this was a great baseball game. The crowd was really into it for both clubs. In section 8, as Faith put it, it was ladies night. We has Faith, her pal Gina, Deonna, and Amanda. You may be able to spot all of them off the television shot :) Got a thank you from Adam S. before the game started and also ran into Steve H. the icon. Went to Club Level to get a photo with Bill W., and his friends, Don and Sharon.
I spent the last few innings, back over in Section 24/26 with Robert. It felt good to be back there, as I used to regularly sit there last season and for a few this year. I forgot how good the view is behind the Orioles dugout. Thanks again to Robert for taking care of me. The dugout shots are of Zillbilly and the Orioles Bird. This has been a yearly tradition for both of them to dance together near the end. :)
Thanks to Marc for the Little Havana Orioles shirt. Thanks to Faith for the picture with the two crazies above :)
A few more thank you's, because I will try to get them all in for tonight's game and tomorrow. A big thanks to Kim and Eric for their support and being great pals! A big thank you the Baltimore City Paper for publishing my story and for my amazing award. Thanks to Baltimore Is Awesome for first mentioning my blog on twitter and facebook. Scooter has been a big influence in this blog. He has a football blog for Arsenal FC, for our friends from Slainte. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge he is a big inspiration for this blog. Thanks to Tom H. and Jamie W. for being so supportive, and introducing me to some wonderful people along the way. This story may be told again in the offseason and afterwards. :) Thanks to Charlie V., Kevin O., and Shannon D. Thanks to Robert from Sections 16, then 24, then 26 and Joe, Earl, and Brandie in Section 8, who have looked out for my friends and I. Thanks to Kelly and the Natty Boh guy for everything. Thanks to Clancy. Thanks to Donnell at the Designated Driver booth. Thanks to Charlie/Zillbilly. And thanks to my friends who I have gotten to know and reacquainted with. Because feeling good and being around good people is what this is all about. This section may get heavily edited with more Thank you's. If this was my last game of season, I would have felt ok with it. I don't know what can top this. See you tomorrow! :)
Game #79 - Monday, September 26, 2011 at 7:05 P.M. I want to thank the Baltimore City Paper for the award they gave me. If you haven't seen it, here is the link :
A special thanks to Kelly Van Horn for having a huge hand in my award, picture, and story making the paper. A big thank you to Michelle Gonzalez as well. A fantastic group with us today; Marc, Faith, Shapp, Misty, John, Chris, and Bennet. A special thank you to Bryan "Red" Krandle, for bringing us to the Club Level. One of the main reasons for going up there was to meet Zillbilly aka Charlie. He is an usher above the Roma sign. He has become a staple of Camden Yards, where we don't have many left. He has a fascinating story for those who know or are intereted in hearing more about it. He is a great magician too. One of my goals was to get a picture with him for my blog, before the season ended. It took this late in the season, but I am so thankful for that. Vladimir Guerrero became the hits leader by a Dominican-born player last night. Congratulations! Some of the pictures above, are the players giving their jerseys to the fans, as part of the Fan Appreciation games and the Minor League players and coaches awards before the game started. Congratulations to Jonathan Schoop for winning Minor League player of the year and Tim Bascom for pitcher of the year. One thing that I want to address is, a few weeks ago the Red Sox were a lock for the post-season. Now they have fallen into a tie with Tampa Bay. I know the Orioles and many fans take pleasure in destroying the hopes of Boston, but it speaks volumes as to where Baltimore is as an organization and where Boston is. Payrolls or not, the Orioles should just win because that's what this game is all about. Taking comfort in other people's misfortunes is a disappointing character trait. I may sound uptight. But this is a point that comes up every September. Most of us are good people, but we let outside influences and sports divide us from time-to-time. This is not the point of why I go to games, or watch sports, or do anything. It's about friendship, comradery, and enjoying one another's company.