I'm going to break from routine and just mention some of my favorite moments from last night's game bullet-point style:
- The scattered few Orioles fans that punctuated the "O!" whenever it cropped up in the singing of "O Canada". I love this town.
- As the Blue Jays took the field, I told my sister that their second baseman (Omar Vizquel) made his big league debut when she was four years old. That was 1989, folks.
- Tracking Nate McLouth's leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning as it soared toward us in Section 92. I saw Toronto center fielder Colby Rasmus track it to the fence, but I never actually saw it land. The roar of the crowd was the only indication I had that it was gone.
- Standing on the flag court atop the right field scoreboard after getting a beer and looking up at the orange Orioles flag, second only to the navy blue Yankees flag. Listen to those footsteps.
- Meeting my girlfriend at the Eutaw Street gate in the fourth inning so that I could pass her ticket through the bars. (She had a previous engagement and had to arrive late.) It all seemed so clandestine.
- The fifth-inning home run barrage: 42-year-old Jim Thome's first Camden Yards tater as an Oriole (he'd hit 18 as a visitor), 20-year-old Manny Machado's go-ahead solo shot into the Birds' bullpen, and the ensuing trivia tidbits. Thome is now the oldest Oriole to ever leave the yard, squeaking past Tim Raines the Elder. Thome and Machado are the second-oldest teammates to ever go deep in one inning, trailing only Julio Franco (age 46) and current Blue Jay Kelly Johnson (age 23), who performed their feat for the Braves on June 14, 2005...against Buck Showalter's Rangers.
- Whoops, I forgot about Chris Davis! Despite two poor at-bats against Toronto starter Carlos Villanueva, I was confident in the slugger/emergency reliever when he batted in the bottom of the fifth with two outs, two on, and the O's leading 3-2. Villanueva seemed to be gassed, and Davis had homered off of him twice in another memorable game just last month. My sister declared that she would forgive Chris for his defensive lapses in right field in the previous half-inning if only he'd hit a game-breaking home run in this situation...and he did just that, turning on an 0-2 pitch with malice aforethought and sending the ball to the opposite end of our seating section. 6-2.
- The Orioles went for the jugular and added a two-run homer each in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings (Mark Reynolds, and Davis and Machado once more each) to arrive at a 12-2 final. I remember the last of those sending the fans into a particular frenzy. That led to...
- L. J. Hoes' first major league at-bat. Baltimore's third-round pick in 2008 is a Washington, DC native who grew up rooting for the O's. "Little Jerome" was named the organization's 2012 Minor League Player of the Year earlier in the week, and he was greeted with chants of "Let's Go Hoes". The rookie outfielder grounded out to shortstop, but made it a close play and received a standing ovation from a good portion of the crowd.
Who told the Orioles that baseball could be a joyful experience?