It's been forever and a day since I last posted on my blog. Today, as I sit here 3,000 miles from home in San Diego on business, I feel compelled to make this post. Today, the Baltimore Orioles clinched a playoff spot for the first time in 15 years. First off, congrats to Buck Showalter, the coaches and a team who all the experts wrote off a long time ago.
Forever etched in my mind is the image of Cal Ripken Jr. making the final out in the 1983 World Series when the Orioles defeated the Phillies 4-1. As a naive, young teenager at the time, I always expected we would win all the time. But it took 13 long years, including the disastrous 0-21 start in 1988, for us to make the postseason again. And we did it two years in a row led by former Oriole Davey Johnson, who now manages the Nats. In 1997, we lost a strange, crazy ALCS series to the Cleveland Indians -- everyone remember that awful three run homer (if memory serves) off Armando Benitez in Game 2? Or how about the brilliant Mike Mussina-pitched gem in Game 6 I believe -- only for us to lose the series.
I remember thinking in 1997 that this was the start of a dynasty. Unfortunately, we know all too well what happened after the 1997 season. The same day Davey Johnson was named AL Manager of the Year, he was fired. Shortly thereafter, the best modern play-by-play announcer, Jon Miller, was let go. And don't get me started on the Albert Belle deal. I said to myself at the time -- this could be a curse. Unfortunately, I was right.
But this post is not about all the water under the bridge decisions that led to 15 miserable seasons. This post is about learning how to savor the moment and celebrate. O's fans, we don't know how long this feeling will last. So savor every last minute of it. Sure, we don't have the folklore of the Red Sox nor the Cubs, but we have 15 long years of pain and suffering. I hope for the best -- a long post season and more years of great success. But today at this moment, savor this moment and keep it etched in your minds forever.
I make this post in honor of my Pop Pop Nat (may he continue to rest in peace). He took me to my first O's game in 1979. A game where Benny Ayala hit two consecutive home runs.