Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gary Matthews, Jr., 2003 Topps #509

With piles of snow still coating the entire state of Maryland, I've been intending to write about the one snowy Orioles game in my lifetime that I can remember. Fortunately, the Baltimore Sun recently made mention of it to jog my memory.

It was Opening Day - March 31, 2003 - at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. When the game started at 3:05 PM, it was 48 degrees and cloudy, but before long the temperature dropped and snow began to fall in the second inning. According to the Sun, the flurries became so heavy that hitters joked that they were aiming at the largest white blob, assuming it was the ball! In the third inning, the visiting Indians took the lead against starter Rodrigo Lopez on a routine Ellis Burks fly ball to right field. Burks couldn't even see the ball land; neither could O's right fielder Jay Gibbons. After that play, there was a 13-minute snow delay until the worst of the storm passed.
http://a.espncdn.com/media/mlb/2003/0331/photo/a_lopez_i.jpg
The Birds ended up battling back from a 4-1 deficit to force extra innings, with the help of a Marty Cordova two-run homer in the eighth. Gary Matthews, Jr. turned out to be the hero, reaching in the bottom of the twelfth on a single and scoring the tying run on a passed ball after Cleveland had taken the lead in the top of the inning. He thrilled the few thousand hearty fans that stayed until the end by delivering the game-winning single an inning later.

I have a vague recollection of having seen some of this game. I was a junior in college, and I had gone back to my friend Mike's dorm room with some of our other friends after dinner. As I recall, I was the only big Orioles fan in the group and I asked if I could change the channel to find out the score. It had to be somewhere near 6:30 at night, so I assumed the game would be over. I was surprised to see that the O's were still playing, and even more shocked to see replays of the earlier snow-related mishaps. I managed to catch the end of the game, and was thrilled to be able to celebrate a Baltimore win. Back in those heady days, the team was only working on a five-season streak of losing records, but I was still pessimistic about their chances. After all, they'd just concluded a 98-loss season in 2002 with a heinous 4-32 record down the stretch.

I'm choosing to remain optimistic that we're getting the winter weather out of the way early this year. If the white stuff is still falling at the end of next month, I might lose my mind.

7 comments:

jacobmrley said...

off topic: do you have a Brad Bergesen card, it would make for a good post...

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Orioles-Bergesen-injured-filming-TV-ad-nbsp-no?urn=mlb,219586

yikes. who do the O's think they are, the Mets?

Kevin said...

You actually just sent me a card of Bergy. I was hoping to save it for a more cheerful occasion.

Brad still doesn't top ex-Oriole Marty Cordova, who famously fell asleep in a tanning bed and missed some games.

FreeTheBirds said...

This is about the only game from the early 2000s that I have any memory of. It was the first Opening Day since I started working for SSA and I was working downtown, walking distance from the stadium. I got tix with a friend of mine, it was supposed to be the first time I attended Opening Day since I went in both1992 & 1993. However, I came down with a cold the day before and with the forecast calling for low temps and snow I figured I should just stay home. Speaking of this game, I was saying over the holidays that MASN should rebroadcast this game on Christmas.

Ryan aka Orioles Magic said...

I had the pleasure to be at that game, sitting in the last row of the upper deck down the first base line with my dad. I was not dressed appropriately and the snow made me very cold.

Bo said...

I went to an April game at Yankee Stadium 3 or 4 years ago and it snowed thoughout the game (did not sticked). I'm pretty sure it was against the Orioles but I could be mistaken...

Georgie said...

I remember this game very well. Was the day after my sister's birthday and I celebrated too hard and spent the day in bed. Woke up in time to watch this.

Kevin said...

FTB - Yeah, given the frequent lack of programming on MASN (replays of radio shows? Big East basketball?), I think they could dig a little deeper with the O's Classics.

Ryan - I've definitely been caught unawares by chilly April baseball games, though I've never been snowed on. Not good times.

Bo - Looks like it was April 5, 2007 vs. the Rays, if Google is correct.

Georgie - Haha...not a bad way to spend a few consecutive days.