The 2012 Orioles are only three years in the past. It already feels like so much longer. The wild euphoria of unexpected success has subsided, and now that we have tasted good baseball in Birdland again, we will settle for nothing less, which is why the current string of bad baseball is such a disappointment. People were constantly getting designated for assignment that year, too, but the team was winning and we never liked most of the guys cast aside, so it was different.
Nolan Reimold, it must be said, did not play a very large part in the 2012 Orioles triumph, and his contribution to the 2014 Orioles consisted solely of being activated from the disabled list and immediately being designated for assignment. He only played in sixteen games in 2012, but they were, as my friend and fellow Camden Chatter Stacey Folkemer once indignantly retorted to me on Camdencast, "Sixteen awesome games!"
Reimold was on the team all the same, and what a great team they were. On Camden Chat recently, we have paid respects to some 2014 Orioles as trades and DFAs have moved them along - those who were around for 2012 but not 2014 are no less worth remembering for the good times.
Reimold came to us from Bowling Green, a second round pick all the way in 2005. If you ever liked Reimold, which I know not everyone did, it probably came from things he did way before the 2012 season. For those who came to like him, though, it was likely something from his charming rookie season of 2009, where, in 104 games, he batted .279/.365/.466, a number that included 15 home runs and eight stolen bases.
Maybe it was the loping, gazelle-like stride of a man who never seemed like he should be fast but nonetheless managed to beat out an infield hit 19 times that season. Nearly 1/5 of his total hits were infield hits. How do you even do that? By being awesome, that's how.
Maybe it was one of his 15 home runs. That's certainly what it was for me. On a random Tuesday night game broadcast, then-GM Andy MacPhail announced that the Orioles would be calling up then-savior prospect Matt Wieters, who would lead us to the promised land. The next afternoon there was a day game against the Blue Jays, so I decided to go down to the box office to make sure to get a ticket for Wieters' debut and while I was there I ended up saying what the hell and seeing that afternoon's game.
The game was this one, and looking back on it, I am amazed at how stupid it looks. Rich Hill started for the Orioles, against Roy Halladay for the Blue Jays. Hill got lit up - obviously. Brian Bass pitched. So did Danys Baez, who was, well, Danys Baez, giving up two runs in the top of the 11th inning of what actually became quite a wild contest.
In the bottom of the 11th inning, with the Orioles needing a rally to win it, some other stuff happened, and then Reimold came to the plate and did this:
I left this game very sunburned, because the extra two innings of sun really did me in. But I also left it very happy. Wieters wasn't even here yet and here was Nolan Reimold hitting walk-off home runs. Even the usually-taciturn Melvin Mora was ecstatic as he jumped around the bases towards home plate. Things were going to be OK soon.
As it ended up, I was completely wrong about Reimold's future, Wieters' pending super-stardom, and the fact that things were going to be OK with the Orioles soon. But we got there eventually and you'll never take that one euphoric week in a crappy season away from me.
Here on Camden Chat, our irrational attachment to Reimold also spawned the long-running joke between Stacey and I of the Nolan Reimold movie, where we decided that he needed to marry a Baltimore girl and together we came up with this whole plot of a romantic comedy/sports movie hybrid where he ended up meeting a 20-something in Mount Vernon who didn't pay attention to the Orioles at all and had a Fathead of Joe Flacco on the wall of her apartment.
The Mount Vernon girl would think movie-Nolan was a businessman and that's why he was always mysteriously traveling all the time. A whole lot of other stuff was in there but of course the dramatic moment is the Orioles are in the World Series and she's finally watching and sees that Nolan is Nolan and then he hits a walkoff home run so the Orioles win the World Series and everybody's happy. Obviously, we're never getting anything like that - but you can't take that imagined movie away from me either.
He was just a small part of the 2012 team, yet Stacey was right - he was an awesome part. All of the parts of those awesome teams are always worth remembering fondly. Well, maybe not Kevin Gregg. Everybody's got their irrational favorite Orioles. Nolan will always be one of mine.
He was called up. He played. Nolan is Birdland.
Of the 52 players who appeared with the 2012 Orioles, 10 remain on the 40-man roster.