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.
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.