You know that feeling you get when get punched in the gut and you have all the wind knocked right out of you? Well I'm pretty sure that if you watched last nights Orioles game you know exactly how that feels. Tell the truth. Last night in the 9th when Jim Johnson came into the game you thought the game was over already. I know we did. The beer was flowing and Orioles Magic was on full blast as we gave JJ and the O's a standing ovation from my living room. And then Raul Ibanez shit all over it.
Tell the truth, before yesterdays O's game, you were starting to believe. You allowed yourself to imagine ALCS baseball at the Yard. I know I did. I currently reside in the state of West Virginia, far away from my Maryland home. When the Orioles took the field yesterday at Yankee stadium my brother and I were on stubhub looking at ALCS ticket prices planning our triumphant return to the Yard. To be honest when Manny Machado hit that bomb to put the Os on top 2-1 I almost pulled out my credit card and bought tickets right there on the spot. And then Raul Ibanez shit all over it. When he tied the game 2-2, I thought "at least we got out of the inning, now its time for some more Orioles magic". And the next inning the worst possible scenario occurred. After some brilliant small ball to put Robert Andino into scoring position. Nate McLouth was up next, and it looked like he was going to walk, putting runners on 1st and 2nd for JJ Hardy. Then the umpire served up some home cooking for the Yankees. With a 3-0 count to McLouth the home plate ump called a strike on a pitch that was way outside. Then he called another strike on a ball outside. Then McLouth lined into a double play at second to kill the rally. The whole time I was still the ever hopeful O's fan, all we had to do was hold on to the tie, get Joba or Derek Lowe into the game and then watch the Orioles make them their bitch. And then Raul Ibanez shit all over it. Now the Orioles are down to their final game. One more game in NY Joe Saunders vs Phil Hughes, which is a winnable game for the Orioles, but at this point Im not so sure that even the most optimistic of Orioles fans thinks that the O's can win two straight in the Bronx facing elimination. But even if they don't, even if they lose tonight and head home to Baltimore, it doesn't take away from this season. This year the Orioles did the unthinkable, they went from a hopelessly doomed franchise to a 93 win playoff team that has knocked off the defending AL Champs. And they aren't going to go away, the Orioles will be back next year. They may not be a conventional team, they may not be many things, but I don't think flukey is one of them. But who knows, maybe Buck still has a few tricks up his sleeve, the way that these O's have played all season nothing would surprise me.