There's nothing in baseball quite like a walkoff celebration. Or at least, there's nothing wrong with it as long as your team is on the right end of it. While the Orioles' ultimate record this year was disappointing relative to the expectations heading into the season, that didn't stop them from having a lot of fun celebrations in dramatic wins in individual games along the way.
Today, the category is this:
Best Bat Flip / Celebration
Unlike the previous day's topics, this one is limited entirely to Orioles-specific material. Hooray for actually getting to vote for your favorite Orioles-related things! As the Orioles are not particularly a noteworthy bat flipping team, the choices below are mostly limited to celebrations of different kinds.
Which was your favorite? Were you in the house for any of these? They were all a lot of fun. It's always fun when the Orioles win.
David Lough Sets Camden Yards Free
If you were at this particular game, you likely remember it as the one where, for a brief period of time, you were asked not to leave. Freddie Gray-related protest activity was going on fairly close to the stadium and around the ninth inning, they kept fans in the stadium to keep them from walking out into all of that. The BABIP Dragon obliged by having Zach Britton blow a save in the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings, but before long it was all clear, and David Lough sent everyone home happy.
In the end, it wasn't the greatest of years for Lough, who ended up being designated for assignment after never managing to earn any kind of consistent playing time. The Orioles were counting on him to be something. He did not deliver. None of that mattered on this night. As the ball soared out of the field of play, he triumphantly raised his fist. It's one of those great baseball pictures. There was disappointment later - but he was a champion that night.
Manny Machado Walks Off, Gets A Handshake
The friendship between Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop is one of the best things to get to watch about the Orioles. When they're in the dugout together you can usually see them hanging out together. When one of them is down, it's often the other cheering him up. When there are things to celebrate, they celebrate together. They have their own little handshake, the detailed steps of which were placed on one of this year's giveaway t-shirts.
This walkoff home run has a little bit of everything to do with that friendship. Machado with the dramatic extra-inning walkoff is a star, of course. And as he rounds third base, who is it standing at the front of the line at home plate, clutching a water bottle behind his back to surprise his buddy Manny? Yes - there he is. It's Schoop. They both end up drenched as other teammates add to the torrent. Then, the handshake. No better time for it than right after a walkoff.
Henry Urrutia's First Big League Homer
What stands out in this video is the excitement on display by every other member of the Orioles. Yes, they're excited because Urrutia's home run means the team just won the game, but you can tell, also, that they are excited for Urrutia in particular, knowing this was his first big league home run and knowing what he had done and how hard he had worked to get to that point.
You may recall after the game when Urrutia gave an emotional interview about what it all meant for him. If that is not the essence of Orioles Magic, I don't know what is.
Chris Davis Wakes The Sleeper
It's the eleventh inning on a Wednesday night against the Rays at Camden Yards. It's late. You've been at this baseball game for a while. You're a little tired, so what do you do? You decide to take a little nap way out in the center field seats. Nobody's going to bother you out there, right? It's a good thought process - at least until strong mammal Chris Davis gets a hold of a 3-0 pitch and wakes you up from your nap. The good news is that now the game is over and you can go home.
What I enjoy about this home run, other than Davis waking up the sleeping guy, is how it's just so perfect. If you watched that video without my telling you it was a walkoff home run, you'd know that ball was gone before Davis even swings. It's a 3-0 pitch and the reliever grooves it - of course that ball is going a long way! Then he does swing and he gets a hold of it and he hits it farther than I've ever seen a ball go in that direction at Camden Yards. When I was watching this game on TV, as the ball landed, I just started laughing.
This particular video is fun, too, because late in the process we get to see the slow-motion running of the water/Gatorade gauntlet. Whiny losers to the south can keep their chocolate syrup. You can sign me up for one of these.
I'm going to miss Chris.
Did I forget your favorite? Sorry. Tell us about it in the comments. The final result for this Orioles season was disappointing, but there were still a whole lot of fun moments along the way. They're all worth celebrating.