Thursday, June 26, 2014
Larry Bigbie, 2005 Topps #572
No blog post tomorrow, since I'm going straight from work this afternoon to Ocean City to catch the tail end of my family's week at the beach. In my warped, circuitous little mind, I tend to associate Larry Bigbie with Ocean City. Nine years ago, we were vacationing there in the last week of July. There was an English teacher from my high school with whom I was friendly, and I'd taken the bus into nearby Fenwick Island to hang out at her condo with a group of her friends and coworkers over a few drinks. The Orioles were hosting the White Sox, and the game was on the TV in the condo. It was Saturday, July 30, and the bottom was rapidly dropping out for the fast-starting O's. They'd peaked on June 21 at 42-28, 14 games above .500 and clinging to a two-game advantage in the AL East (their advantage had been as many as 4.5 games in late May). A 1-8 stretch followed, or 2-11 if you want to drag it out further, but then the Birds won three of four from Boston and kicked off a nine-game road trip with two straight wins in Seattle. Then came a fatal stretch in which they dropped 16 of 18 games, including three wrenching walkoff defeats in the span of five games. This night's game was in the midst of that skid and was typically brutal. It took four Baltimore pitchers to make it through six innings, but the team clung to a 6-4 entering the eighth. Chris Ray came in and torched the field, surrendering four runs with the help of back-to-back homers from A.J. Pierzynski and Jermaine Dye. Just for an extra kick in the teeth, disgruntled lefty Steve Kline allowed an insurance run in the ninth and the Birds fell 9-6 to drop below .500 at 51-52. There was buzz around the game because of the upcoming trade deadline. The O's, attempting feng shui on a sinking ship at this point, parted ways with injury-prone former first-round pick Larry Bigbie, trading him to the Rockies for spastic outfielder Eric Byrnes. Byrnes made his Oriole debut that night and had an RBI double in his second at-bat, but was promptly picked off by Jose Contreras. He went hitless in his other four trips to the plate, setting the stage for a short and underwhelming 52-game stint in Birdland (.192/.246/.299).
But hey, those days are ancient history, and I'm going down the Ocean, Hon.