It was a beautiful day for baseball, 71 degrees and sunny at game time. We took our seats in the right field bleachers, the first time I had ever seen Oriole Park from that vantage point. I immediately fell in love with that section of the ballpark, with the entire field laid out in front of me and the right fielder so close that it seemed that I could reach out and touch him. I've gone to a few dozen games since then, and sat everywhere from the very last row of the upper reserve to box seats right behind home plate, but the bleachers are still my personal favorite.When I know that I'm going to a baseball game, I've always taken a special interest in the starting pitching assignments. In my mind, it seems that I was never lucky enough to catch Mike Mussina when he was the ace of the Oriole staff, though I have watched enemy pitchers like Randy Johnson and Tim Hudson stymie the Birds. This particular day was no different. The O's had been caught a little shorthanded, and plucked some untested rookie from AA Bowie for an emergency start. The kid was a slightly stocky righthander named Scott Klingenbeck.
So, how did the kid do? Not bad at all. Despite allowing six hits and walking four, he hung in for seven innings. Klingenbeck allowed four runs (three earned) but struck out five to help his cause. Most impressive of all, he bounced back after being touched up for three runs in the third inning, retiring 13 of the last 15 Tiger hitters he faced. But would it be enough to pick up a win in his major league debut?
P. S.: This is the only card I have of Scott in an Orioles uniform, and I couldn't even find any on eBay. He appeared in six games for the O's in 1995 before being traded to the Twins for Scott Erickson. Not a bad deal for then-GM Roland Hemond near the end of his storied career.
To be continued tomorrow.