Tap-In Question: What's your favorite Camden Yards' memory? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: What’s your favorite Camden Yards’ memory?

MLB: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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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?

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Eldersburg Enigma

    November 7, 2016 at 8:20 am

    There have been so many but my favorite in-person memory was taking my then-10 year old son to see the huge weekend night victory over the Cardinals, followed by the introduction of most of the living O’s Hall of Famers after the game, which was followed by a laser and fireworks display.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 7, 2016 at 8:43 am

      That was the 60th anniversary game, right? They’ve had a lot of celebration nights, but that one was impressive. As for Mussina, he comes to the park on occasion so I don’t think it was a purposeful slight on his part.

  2. Eldersburg Enigma

    November 7, 2016 at 8:20 am

    But where was Mussina????

  3. Bancells Moustache

    November 7, 2016 at 8:58 am

    The ballpark itself always brings a smile to my face due to the myriad of good times I have had there with both my father and now my 2 boys. I won’t go all cliche and tell some teary eyed story about my Dad, but the host of memories we’ve made over the years I guess is my number one. Even on nights I am not attending a game, driving home on 895 after work I’ll look over and just see the lights of the Yard glowing by the Harbor and get a warm and fuzzy feeling.
    My father and I were there the night Chris Hoiles walked it off with a Grand Slam against the Mariners but had left in the 7th or so on account of it being a school night. We did hear it on the radio on the way home. Years later, I tried giving my old man grief about leaving before one of the great walk-offs in Oriole history. He looked at me and said “I’m not the one who had school the next morning”. Yowch. Stretched out on the canvas. Score one for Pops.

    • JDSax

      November 7, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Bancells, tell your dad that was a Friday night, so unless you had school on a Saturday, that wasn’t a good reason to leave a game early! (It was May 17, 1996, I just checked!)

    • Dan Connolly

      November 7, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Awesome. We now have fact checking. I love this bar. Btw JD, the Stache is pretty damn smart. Sat school isn’t out of the question. (In the Papa Stache’s defense that game was interminably long. Hoiles said the first thing he thought was “thank god this thing is over.”

      • JDSax

        November 7, 2016 at 9:51 am

        Hey, Saturday school is entirely possible, just pointing out that it wasn’t a school night in the traditional sense! And I actually did remember that it was a Friday night without checking, I was in college and remember where I was when I watched the replay of it.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      November 7, 2016 at 9:45 am

      I think I would have liked the teary eyed story!

    • Dan Connolly

      November 7, 2016 at 10:02 am

      I’m hoping we get at least one teary-eyed story before we shut this place down for the day. There is crying in baseball writing.

      • Steve Cockey

        November 7, 2016 at 10:26 am

        I’ll give you one. September 20, 1998. I was 12, it was the end of a disappointing O’s season, and my Dad had little interest in driving down from Harford County for this game. But Ken Rosenthal had written a piece in The Sun speculating that The Streak could be ending. And after pleading with my Dad, I convinced him to go.

        We were waiting for the starting lineups to be announced as game-time approached, but they never came. The scoreboard simply posted the lineup with no announcement as the O’s ran on the field, with Ryan Minor at 3B. I definitely recall a few tears that day. It was the first baseball game I’d ever been to that Cal didn’t play in.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    November 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

    I was lucky enough to have a father that got on his horse and purchased my brother-in-law (lousy Red Sox fan) and myself tickets for the Delmon Young Game as well world series tickets. I’ll vouch for what you said Dan, it was indeed deafening in that house. That game was #1 for me. Unfortunately, the World Series Tickets dad had locked up were not to be.

    #2 on my list … taking my 2 newly adopted 6 year old boys to see Cal get his 400th tater. (they liked the confetti almost as much as the cotton candy)

    • Dan Connolly

      November 7, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Taking kids to their first games is always hilarious. You’re all psyched. And all they want are snacks and to meet the Bird.

  5. JDSax

    November 7, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Dan, aside from the game you mentioned (Game 2, ALDS, Delmon Double), my favorite memory was from September 6, 2012. That’s the night they unveiled Cal’s statue, and it was a sellout. As we all know, it was also the first time in 15 years that the O’s were actually relevant, and they were fighting for a playoff spot. They were playing the Yankees, and jumped out to a 5-run lead, only to have Pedro Strop cough it up in the top of the 8th, when the Yankees scored 5 to tie. The O’s came right back in the bottom of the 8th with 3 home runs to put the game away. When Adam hit the first homer to break the tie, the place exploded. It was such an incredible night, and the first time in a long time that a game was both fun and important.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 7, 2016 at 10:06 am

      JD: This is a great one. In retrospect, I’d say this was the day the Orioles officially said we will contend. I think many fans were still skeptical up to that point. Huge night considering the significance of the date, the opponent and who was in the house.

      • Steve Cockey

        November 7, 2016 at 10:12 am

        This is a great one and would be one of mine as well. After that win, it finally felt like they had a real chance to make the playoffs again. And they did.

  6. justmestac

    November 7, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Probably my most cherished memory is that of bringing my now 23 year old son to his first game. He still has the hat we bought for him that day. He will always be an O’s fan, no matter where he lives or what the team’s record may be on any given year. I’ll never forget his disgust at being labeled a bandwagon fan in 2012 by a friend who was a BoSox fan.

    Wieters’ first game is another favorite of mine as well. It’s been nice to see my hometown boy play in the yard these last several years.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 7, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Great post. The lead-up to the Wieters’ game was like nothing I had covered before. Andy MacPhail, who hates hype, announced on MASN on a Tuesday that it would happen on the Friday. There were more than 10,000 walkup tickets sold. Wieters didn’t do anything offensively that day but tripled — yes, tripled — the next day off Verlander for his first hit.

  7. natsidis

    November 7, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Dan the opening day of Camden Yards in 1992. My seat was in section 58 row 18. Kind of a cool and chilly day. Came from the Delaware beaches area and got there at 9am and didn’t get home till well past 10pm.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 7, 2016 at 10:47 am

      I was there too. Bittersweet, right? The place was immaculate. But it wasn’t Memorial. So much better tho in every aspect but the mind’s eye.

  8. 5brooks5

    November 7, 2016 at 11:24 am

    There have been many over the years,all with my son. But the best by far was 2131.We didnt have tix and I spent alot of time calling people and looking in the paper. Finally decided to buy two seats behind home plate and was worried they were not legit. They were. Sat next to Mike Young and several other members of the Oriole family members. I still get chills when I think of it. My son still remembers the seats we were in. We have the tix. Without a doubt the best 1200 bucks I ever spent. What a sap!

    • Dan Connolly

      November 9, 2016 at 1:01 am

      A lot of money Brooks. Sure. But what a memory all these years later.

  9. BmoreBouch

    November 7, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    You nailed it with Demon Young in ’14 playoffs. I go pretty far back with Baltimore sports (early 70’s) and was there that day in the leftfield bleachers, and I would put that moment up against any other single post-season play in the history of Baltimore sports — that actually happened in Baltimore.

    The younger/newer generation of Orioles fans gets a lot of history thrown in their face, but they should be proud that they shook that stadium like no other stadium in Baltimore has ever shook. When that ball went into the corner and everyone saw that Hardy was going to try to score from first…and the dramatic “safe” call…that’s as good as it’s ever been in Baltimore — in Camden Yards or Memorial Stadium; for the Orioles, Colts or Ravens.

    I just had to YouTube it again…it will never not give me goosebumps.

    • Dan Connolly

      November 9, 2016 at 1:04 am

      That slide was so underrated. Maybe JJ’s signature Os moment no matter how great his career has been here.

  10. bv22

    November 8, 2016 at 9:05 am

    A few personal memories…..The first memorable game was back in 2001 when Cal Ripken, my boyhood idol, announced he was going to retire. I remember feeling before the announcement that this was his last year, so I had bought tickets to the last home game of the year thinking I missed 2131, but I wasn’t going to miss his last home O’s game. Well, Sept. 11th happened and caused baseball to be shut down for two weeks which meant that those games had to be rescheduled and played, and meant that the game I was attending would no longer be Cal’s last home game ever. I was bummed to say the least, in addition to being shellshocked about the national tragedy occurring at that time. So, I go to the game, and Cal hits a homerun. In all of the years and games I had gone to at that point in my life, I had never seen Cal hit a homerun live (or while I was present). This time he did it, and it turned out to be the last one he ever hit…..

    The second memorable game I attended was in the spring of 2000, and Boston was in town. I went to the game to get my mind off of some personal troubles I was having, and Pedro Martinez was pitching. This was when he was at the top of his game. The O’s, knowing they had no shot, started the B or C team, and he proceeded to mow 15 of them down. It was the 2nd most dominant pitching performance I had ever witnessed live (the first being the Wilson Alvarez no-no against the O’s in 1991).

    The third most memorable game for me was Opening Day 2004. It was a frigid Sunday night game of the week against Boston and Pedro was on the
    mound. He basically got rocked, but it was the first Opening Day game I had ever attended and it was something I had always wanted to do as a fan but never had any connections. I haven’t missed an Opening Day since.

    The final memorable game for me was the 2014 ALDS Delmon Young game. I have been to a few games where the electricity of the crowd was amazing, but I had never seen or heard anything like it when that ball fell in for a hit and the O’s broke the game open.

  11. 66OsFan

    November 8, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Dan, do I really have to pick just one???? Okay, okay. I have to say my most recent was Delmon Young’s 8th innning double in Game 2 of the 2014 ALDS. I have NEVER heard a louder crowd, you could almost feel the stadium shake when that ball landed in left field and rolled to the wall. I was fortunate to be there and experience it live, That has to rank number one on my list.

    I’ll round out a top five list:

    2. Game 2130 of The Streak. Had season tickets with my mom, we were there and it was really special.
    3. The 60th Anniversary celebration. Awesome game, lots of dingers and a great after game show.
    4. The Walk-off home run by Nolan Reimold against Cleveland on Sunday July 24 2016
    5. The April 25th 2015 game against Boston, couldn’t leave the stadium, concern of the crowd and the feeling around the concourse of apprehension, certainly not one to repeat

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