By Richard Barnstein
While we all know there’s only one really happy team at the end, the Orioles made 2014 one of the most enjoyable seasons for O’s fans since Camden Yards opened up in 1992. On the topic of Camden Yard’s history, one might ask, “What’s the greatest moment in the history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards?” Even though the O’s were eliminated in the ALCS Championship Series by KC in 4 close games, nothing will ever take away from the magical moment that occurred on Friday October 3rd at Oriole Park at Camden Yards! There have been milestone moments at Camden Yards, like Ripken’s 2,131st game or Eddie’s 500th home run. However, these were more celebratory feats, verses the intense drama that can occur in the heat of competition. I’m going to break down why I think that “Delmon’s Double” was the single greatest moment in Camden Yards history. I’ll first briefly set the tone of where things stood, when Young came in to pinch hit with the bases loaded, in the bottom of the 8th inning of Game 2 of the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers. The O’s had won the 1st game at home, in of a best of 5 series, where a pivotal Game 2 victory would give the O’s a commanding 2-0 lead before heading to Detroit. On paper, the Tigers had one of the top starting rotations in MLB, where their 1-2-3 starters had won the last 3 Cy Young Awards in the AL. Who knows how this series would have turned out were it not for Delmon’s double!
WHAT MADE DELMON’S DOUBLE THE GREATEST MOMENT IN ORIOLE PARK AT CAMDEN YARDS HISTORY?
-It was a playoff game.
-Late in the game (Bottom of the 8th w/ one out)
-Down by 2 runs.(6-4)
-Pinch Hitter Delmon Young came to the plate, looking like he just woke up from a nap. Ice water in his veins!
-Young went after the 1st pitch and drilled it to the left field wall. Fans knew the hit would likely tie the game, but weren’t sure about going ahead. When a batter hits a homer, where it clears the fences, that’s it! With Delmon hitting it against the wall, we knew at that point that the score would be tied, but no one knew if Hardy could score from 1st to take the lead! This substantially increased the drama and suspense of the hit, verses a home run.
-Right after Young hit the ball, this HAD to be the loudest it’s EVER been at Camden Yards! Almost surreal how loud it was! (check out video above) There’s no way there could have ever been a louder moment at Camden Yards. Check out the noise at ~13 seconds into the video. It’s deafening!
-Hardy getting waved home! Still no guarantees!
-Cruz and Pearce both motioning for Hardy to get down and slide away from the plate?
-Hardy doing a text book perfect slide away from home plate/tagging the plate with his left hand.
-Hardy beating the throw/catcher’s tag by a hair, for the go ahead run! (Check out the replay 1:09 into the video above!)
-Cruz doing a reverse somersault (rolling back from the ground, not airborne!)
-Young safe at 2nd with a stand up double, expressionless, out of breath, but content!
-Sea of orange celebrating!
-I have to confess that I didn’t even hear or see this live. I was busy seeing patients, where I had a short break, and stopped into the Giant grocery store right next to our Timonium location. With the O’s down 6-4 at that point late in the game, things weren’t looking good. While cruising down the food aisles, an announcement blasted from the Giant speaker system. “ATTENTION GIANT SHOPPERS, THE ORIOLES JUST TOOK THE LEAD 7-6 OVER THE TIGERS IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 8TH INNING!” Go O’s!!!!