50 Reasons I Love the 2012 Baltimore Orioles' Season

I've never been through a more intense, insane, and awesome season as this one. After Game 162, I was fully ready to settle in and let that warm the cockles of my fandom for as long as it took. Turns out it didn't take long for a bunch of amazing events this season to displace it.

1) The cartoon bird.

2) Dan O'Hare and 90 wins.

3) THOR!

4) Sept 6, 2012. Cal statue game v Yankees.

5) Manny Machado playing 3rd like a GGer.

6) Mark Reynolds playing solid 1B.

7) Wei-Yin Chen being the bedrock of the rotation.

8) Turning Guts into Hammel and Saunders.

9) PHN's demise. Wait, demise is too gentle a word. Catastrophic implosion; yeah, that's closer.

10) Matusz's 1.91 FIP as a reliever.

11) Tommy Hunter hitting 101 MPH out of the 'pen.

12) Nicky finally finding his stroke again.

13) 16 straight extra-inning wins.

14) JJ's ridiculous 95 MPH fastball that moves like it weighs 50 pounds.

15) Chris Tillman being who we hoped he could be (let's hope he keeps it up).

16) Buck being awesome.

17) The Hall-of-Famers statue unveilings. Another gem in the crown that is OPaCY and a deserved honor to some of the game's greatest players.

18) AJ becoming a leader on and off the field. So glad to have him around for a while.

19) Being this close to the division lead for the entire stretch run.

20) Never, not once, being under .500 this year.

21) The bullpen's 3.00 ERA.

22) Chris Davis striking out Adrian Gonzalez.

23) Chris Davis striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

24) Shaving cream pies.

25) STROP! (pre-September)

26) Nate McLouth. I'm still surprised by this guy.

27) MiGo being approx. 243 different kinds of amazing.

28) Joe Saunders leading the O's past Darvish and the Rangers in the WC game and shutting down the MFY in game 4.

29) Seeing Camden Yards sold out and rocking in the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

30) Hammel's 1 hitter in Atlanta.

31) Slapping the PHN around, winning 13 of 18 games and sweeping them in Camden North.

32) JJ and 51 (!) freaking saves.

33) Kevin Gregg's DFA.

34) Steve Pearce. Not as a player, but rather as a guy who went, in one season, from Yankees-Orioles-Astros-Yankees-Orioles.

35) DD and his 58 different players over the year.

36) Brian Roberts making it all the way back from his concussion (I'm ignoring his hip injury).

37) JI... JIM THOME mashing taters in Cleveland.

38) Friday night victory GIF parties.

39) Rick Peterson and whatever magic he has up his sleeve.

40) Making the end of the losing season streak a non-story since they were on the way to the playoffs.

41) Dylan Bundy tearing up the minors and tossing a couple scoreless in the bigs.

42) KLaw insisting that the O's are no good.

43) Taylor Teagarden being impossibly clutch. Ridiculous.

44) Darren O'Day humiliating the MFY all through the ALDS.

45) 3DG, Jim Palmer and Bordick.

46) Hometown kid Steve Johnson coming out of nowhere to pitch 38.1 IP to the tune of a 2.11 ERA. WHAT???

47) Troy Patton being more than just a LOOGY.

48) The Mark Reynolds/ Buck Showalter GIF

49) Manny's non-throw play.


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