The Orioles win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday, as important as it was for their place in the standings, was also quite an unlikely one. Just in general, it’s hard to pull off a ninth-inning comeback, even when trailing by only a run. Before last night, the O’s themselves had only won three games all year when they trailed to start the ninth.
It was more unlikely still because the Orioles offense is itself in a bit of a slump. They’ve scored more than three runs just once in their last eleven games. They haven’t performed well in the second half in general, especially when it comes to clutch hitting. And even MORE unlikely is that Hyun Soo Kim, the man who was booed by some dumb fans on Opening Day, came through with a home run for just the sixth time all year.
Seemingly everything was stacked against the Orioles on Wednesday night. Even precedent was stacked against Kim’s dramatic home run. According to the gurus at MLB’s Statcast, the previous 91 times that a player had hit a ball similar to Kim’s by exit velocity (92.9mph - slow for a home run) and launch angle (25 degrees), none of those balls were home runs.
In a place with wind, the ball may not have been a home run, nor if it was a place where the weather is colder, or even a place where the fences are farther back, or higher. But in the closed-roof Rogers Centre in Toronto last night, everything lined up just right for Kim’s clutch pinch hit home run, keeping the Orioles a game ahead of the Tigers and pulling them within a game of the Jays.
There was a lot to celebrate with the hitting of that home run, and, since Kim is Korean, that celebration could happen on two continents in two different languages.
Here’s MASN’s Gary Thorne, no stranger to dramatic Orioles home runs:
Good bye, home run, indeed. Outside of the playoffs, they don’t get much better than that. If the Orioles are able to squeak their way into the playoffs, which is far from assured at this point in time, that home run by Kim will prove to be one of the reasons why they do it.
But it’s tough for even a fantastic home run caller like Thorne to hold a candle to the jubilation of the Korean announcers who are calling Kim’s homer, because he has a whole country behind him back at home (h/t to former Camden Chatter Sung Min Kim for the vid):
Aside from the general excitement of the announcers, not a word of which I can really understand beyond “Kim Hyun Soo!” this video is great because it goes on for longer than the MLB clip, which includes Caleb Joseph trying to cheer Kim with what the replies to this tweet tell me is Joseph’s rendition of a common Korean chant, and pitching coach Dave Wallace going for a handshake but ending up with he and Kim bowing to one another instead.
That was fun. The Orioles should do this again tonight, except maybe this time they can take the lead before it’s the ninth inning, thanks.