Honestly, I figured I was done with O’s posts for the season. The team could be making some big changes in the coming weeks, so the next O’s-related post I expected to write was of the “Andy MacPhail officially steps down” or “Buck Showalter is the new GM” variety. However, the team found themselves suddenly relevant in late September for the first time since 1997.
Of course, the circumstances surrounding their sudden relevancy were mostly not of their own doing. The Boston Red Sox, who held a 9-game lead in the AL Wild Card race the first week of September, crashed and burned spectacularly, going 7-20 in the month. Against the O’s over season’s final two weeks, they went 2-5.
Last week, I started the hashtag #SpoiltheSox on twitter. Despite what some idiotic local sports personalities may think, rooting for a spoiler team can be a blast. Especially when your team hasn’t had a winning record in over a decade. And especially when the team you get to spoil is one whose fans continually invade our home turf and attempt to make it their own.
Over the last three nights at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, O’s fans stepped up and routinely drowned out the Massholes’ attempted “Let’s Go Red Sox” chants with “Let’s Go O’s” calls of their own.
It looked like the O’s efforts to #SpoiltheSox were going to fall just a bit short last night. Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th inning, against closer Jonathan Papelbon, the O’s were down to their last out.
Chris Davis ripped a double to right field.
Papelbon got Nolan Reimold down to his last strike. It looked like it was going to be a disappointing end to yet another disappointing season.
But Reimold came through.
The guy that should go into 2012 as the team’s unquestioned starting left fielder smashed s ground rule double to right-center, tying the game. One batter later, Robert Andino singled to left, and the O’s secured the walk-off win.
It was the Sox first loss when leading after 8 innings all season.
To make things even better, not five minutes after the O’s won – which ensured that the best case scenario for Boston was a 1-game playoff on Thursday with Tampa – the Rays’ Evan Longoria smoked a walk-off home run of his own, and just like that, the Sox were spoiled.
The best part of all of it was watching the O’s players going nuts on the bench. Though there was no chance the O’s were going to make the playoffs, it was a postseason atmosphere at the yard, and they responded. Here’s hoping the young guys on the team, who have never been a part of anything like that, now understand what they’re out there playing for all season. Take in that feeling, and fight for it next year. When things start going bad in June or July, instead of just packing it in, remember back to this game, this series, and keep fighting to try to return to relevance.
Honestly, tonight was the most excited I’ve been over a baseball game since 1997. It was a great feeling. And it made me realize how much I miss it. It would be nice to be watching meaningful baseball games in late September in Baltimore again – ones that are truly meaningful to OUR team, and not just to the opposing team.
However, for now this is all we have. Screw you, Red Sox nation.
The “lowly Orioles” spoiled yo’ shit.
Have a nice winter.
Deal with that.
UPDATE: To see all five of the O’s wins over the Sox during the season’s final two weeks, watch the video below: