Let’s get a little historic in the Tap Room today – something we can embrace from both sides of the barstools.
The Orioles announced Friday they are going to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards (April 6, 1992) throughout the 2017 season with a special logo that will be on the right sleeve of the team’s uniforms and on all baseballs used at home games next year.
It’s amazing that the ballpark will soon be 25 years old. It’s still one of the best, if not the best, in baseball – only those in Pittsburgh and San Francisco are in that conversation, in my opinion.
For the park’s 20th anniversary, I did a piece for The Baltimore Sun ranking the best moments in Camden Yards history. Cal Ripken’s 2,131st consecutive game played on Sept. 6, 1995 – and specifically his ‘Thank you’ lap — was the winner. No doubt about it.
I wasn’t there for that one. I wasn’t yet a sportswriter – that officially occurred a few months later – and I couldn’t get a ticket. So, I watched on TV at home. I was in the stands for the tying game of Ripken’s streak, No. 2,130.
My most memorable moments at Camden Yards are probably a little different than yours. I have two that tie for first; no way can I choose one over the other. They’re so memorable for me that they edge out the no-fan game in 2015.
The first occurred in April 4, 2001. It was my first night game as an Orioles’ beatwriter for the York (Pa.) Daily Record. That means it was my first deadline game, and the pressure was on. And, as luck would have it, Boston’s Hideo Nomo pitched a no-hitter that evening.
It couldn’t have been more nerve-wracking. I was just hoping to make deadline, and now I had to deal with the first no-hitter in stadium history – and it was thrown by an opposing pitcher who spoke no English, which delayed the press conference and didn’t exactly supply us with sparkling quotes from the primary subject.
In about the sixth inning or so, Mark Zuckerman, who at the time was covering his first night deadline game for The Washington Times, turned to me with this horrified look on his face. Nervously, he said he couldn’t believe this was happening.
I told him that it was going to be a challenge, but just imagine if it happened. What a great story we could tell everyone about the beginning of our baseball-writing careers.
And it happened.
Zuckerman, now with MASNsports.com, and I both made deadline. And we still laugh about that crazy night.
By the way, there has never been another no-hitter thrown at Camden Yards since then. And I’ve never seen one personally since (the Orioles have been no-hit through nine innings two other times; both were on the road and my baseball partners at The Sun covered them).
My other most memorable moment at Camden Yards is a little more pleasant for Orioles fans. It was on October 3, 2014, in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers.
I was writing the game story for The Sun that afternoon when Delmon Young hit a pinch-hit, bases-loaded double that scored three and gave the Orioles an eventual, 7-6 win.
The place exploded. The press box was shaking. It was the loudest sound I’ve ever heard, and I’ve covered World Series in St. Louis, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.
The press box at Camden Yards is in the perfect spot, located behind home plate and the lower seating bowl. It seemed like 40-some-thousand people were on top of us, screaming.
Here I was, a kid from the Parkville area, trying to put into words in his hometown paper what had just happened, and how that exact moment would and should be remembered in the annals of Orioles’ history.
That was pretty darn cool.
Obviously, both my moments are tied to my career.
So, I want to know about your most memorable moment at Camden Yards. It can be about what happened in the game or what happened with you personally.
It’s your memory. I just want you to share. A little moment of togetherness before Tuesday descends on us all.
Tap-In Question: What’s your favorite Camden Yards’ memory?