Wherever you find yourself celebrating this Thanksgiving, whether it is somewhere near the home nest of Birdland or in a place far away, I hope it's a happy one, filled with family or friends and good food.
In the baseball part of our lives, there has been much to be thankful for in this past year. This is all very apparent now, even if most of us, except for dan o'hare, were afraid to believe in all of it for most of the season.
I'll spare you the full litany of things I am thankful for in my life, but before I get into the Orioles, I want to say that I am thankful for you, Camden Chat. Yes, even you, lurker who none of us would know if we crossed on the street. There's a lot that is brighter in my life thanks to my being a part of this place. I don't think anything could say it better than the table of Camden Chatters who hauled themselves to a Hooters in Towson to cheer me on as I tried to win a radio station hosting job. None of them had to be there, but they wanted to be. You all know who you are. You made my mom cry a little bit, and I was touched then and still am touched now.
To everyone else around here, thanks to you too. You are part of why this place is great. Even if I don't know you yet, or don't know you well, I can say you're a part of what makes this the best Orioles fan community there is to be found anywhere. We all write articles, and me and Andrew podcast, but it's everyone who reads, listens and comments (or just lurks) who makes this more than just a blog. I've made many friends thanks to here, some great friends - people who I hope are around in my life for a while. And all of you out there have helped me feel like, for the first time in my adult life, I've found a thing I enjoy doing and am good at doing.
So, I am thankful for you. Take a bow, pat yourself on the back, whatever you prefer to do.
Now, how 'bout dem O's, hon?
About the Orioles, I am thankful for...
- The Buck Showalter Effect, whatever that is
- Adam Jones and his clutch home runs
- Jason Hammel's sinker
- The graceful dives of Mark Reynolds
- Chris Davis, wielder of Mjolnir
- Chris Davis, the pitcher
- Tommy Hunter, fireballing reliever (who knew?)
- Brian Matusz, shutdown reliever (who knew?)
- The statues in Legends Plaza
- Jim Johnson's ground ball rate
- Jim Thome's brisk handshakes
- The pure swag of Robert Andino and Pedro Strop
- Miguel Gonzalez and Nick Adenhart's glove
- Three Gold Glove winners (and no, I don't care who deserved it and who didn't)
- Orioles Magic
- The best mascot in sports
- The "O!" during the anthem
- Hot dogs and Natty Bohs
- Buying an upper deck ticket and actually having to sit there
- Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer
- Wei-Yin Chen's lazy fly balls
- Team Steve
- Taylor Teagarden and the extra-inning extra-base hits
- Matt Wieters' continuing destruction of all baserunners
- Manny Machado and Ryan Flaherty homering in the playoffs
- THE PLAYOFFS HOLY CRAP THAT REALLY HAPPENED
- BEATING YU DARVISH IN A ONE-GAME PLAYOFF
- TAKING THE YANKEES TO FIVE GAMES DESPITE BEING OUTSPENT BY $120 MILLION
- THIS SEASON WAS SO AWESOME YOU GUYS I CAN'T EVEN TELL YOU
- Dan Duquette's roster merry-go-round
- Nate McLouth's career revival
- Darren O'Day's side-arm claimed off waivers
- Jeremy Guthrie turning into Matt Lindstrom turning into Joe Freaking Saunders
- Troy Patton's sudden, undeniable existence
- Luis Ayala entering the game with the bases empty
- The return of Nick Markakis' double stroke
- Brian Roberts getting to play for a playoff team - even if we didn't know it in the games he actually played
- Chris Tillman turning in the first good half-season from one of the Cavalry
- A future with Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop... who knows who else?
- Everyone I forgot to mention who had even a tiny part of this special Orioles season, even if they sucked in their parts of it (even Kevin Gregg)
- Looking forward to next season for the first time since I was 14 years old
What a year! Even if the Orioles are good again, I don't think we'll ever see another one quite like this. I'm thankful that I was there 21 times to see this special season up close.
I'll close with a little holiday advice from none other than Gary Thorne himself: