Per Roch Kubatko this afternoon, the news came out that the Orioles have released outfielder Lew Ford.
#orioles have transferred Cuban OF Dariel Alvarez from Class A Frederick to AA Bowie and released OF Lew Ford— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) August 26, 2013
The move was apparently made to make room for Dariel Alvarez at Bowie and in that sense it's not at all surprising or outrageous. I wouldn't normally blink at a tweet like that, but Lew Ford was part of the magical 2012 season for the Orioles, just one more long shot that contributed to the team in some way.
Before being called up by the Orioles on July 29, 2012, Ford hadn't been on a major league roster since 2007 with the Minnesota Twins. After the Twins released him, he refused to give up and played some form of baseball every season between 2007 and 2012. He played in Japan in 2008 and split time between the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic Independent League and in AAA with the Reds in 2009. 2010 saw him in the Mexican League, 2011 back with the Ducks. He finally signed a minor league contract with the Orioles on May 17, 2012. There were some laughs about it when it happened, because what could a 35-year-old who hadn't been on a major league team in five years do for the Orioles?
The truth was, he didn't do much. In 79 plate appearances with the Orioles in 2012 he hit .183/.256/.352. But he had a few timely hits and just the fact that he was there endeared him to the fans. Most memorable to me, of course, was the run he scored in the A.L. Wild Card game. He was just pinch running for Jim Thome, but he came in to score on a single by Manny Machado. The Orioles won a postseason game where 20-year-old Machado knocked in 35-year-old Ford, who was running for 41-year-old Thome. It was just such a 2012 Oriole moment.
Ford started this season with AAA Norfolk but was sent down to AA Bowie mid-way through the year. He had to know the end was coming soon. I don't know if Ford will try to find another team to play for, or if he'll look into coaching or, if at 36 years of age, he'll finally walk away from baseball. But I'll always have a place in my heart for him. He was part of what made the 2012 season so unbelievable, and it's awesome for him that no matter what, he'll always have this: