After yet another come from behind victory on Wednesday afternoon to sweep the Mariners, the Orioles are on a serious roll. That makes seven straight wins to keep pace at a game and a half back of the Twins for the second AL Wild Card. It’s especially impressive when you consider that three of the games were started by the dynamic trio of Chris Tillman, Wade Miley, and Ubaldo Jimenez.
It’s a little easier to win those games when your offense is working as well as the Orioles’ right now. Since the All-Star break, the Orioles’ offense leads the American League in hits, runs scored, home runs, total bases, batting average, slugging percentage, and yes, even on-base percentage. So, yeah, the O’s have been swinging a hot bat.
With such impressive stats across the board, it would be easy to point to the offense as the driving force behind the team’s current seven-game win streak. But I think we need to take a step back and look at what is truly driving the Orioles’ current run- the pies.
Back on August 18th, Orioles fans who stuck it out were treated to not one, but two miraculous gifts. First, they witnessed a walk-off grand slam from Manny Machado, good for his third home run of the game. Then during his post-game interview, they saw something maybe even more rare in 2017, a post-game pie courtesy of Adam Jones. And the pies haven’t stopped.
A life of pie
The pies were a post-game staple at Camden Yards under the Buck administration. So much so, that in 2014 they found a sponsor in Dangerously Delicious pies to replace Jones’s shaving cream pies; probably a good call if you’ve ever had the pleasure of getting some shaving cream in your eye. With full embrace of the pies, the Orioles naturally went on to win their first AL East crown in 17 years. The baseball gods love the pies.
Under the veil of “player safety,” the pies were outlawed prior to the 2016 season. Matt Wieters took one following an Opening Day walk-off that was later referred to as a cake, and that was it for the season as the Orioles headed towards a disappointing wild card exit.
For a day this April, an April in which the Orioles went 15-8 I might add, the pies made a quick, yet triumphant return. Following a rare Ubaldo start in which the $49 million man went 7.2 scoreless innings, Ubaldo took this whipped cream pie to the kisser.
BREAKING: @SimplyAJ10 DEFIES POSTGAME TEAM PIES-IN-THE-FACE BAN IN ORDER TO CELEBRATE RARE JIMENEZ QUALITY START pic.twitter.com/rbSoh9jlZi— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) April 20, 2017
Despite picking up some buzz, that was the end of the pies as we knew them and the Orioles started playing under .500 ball. Until two Fridays ago.
The return of the pies
Back on Friday the 18th, I tweeted out this image in a moment of Orioles-induced ecstasy. There it was. Another pie.
When you hit three homers in one game, and the last one is a grand slam, that’s a pie-worthy feat. It was amazing, but I think we all figured this was a special occasion up there with the rarity of a quality Ubaldo start. Little buzz came from the pie outside of some game recaps. Certainly no one expected a full-blown pie resurgence.
But then, last Wednesday, Machado hit yet another walk-off home run and was treated to not one, but two post-game pies. While the pies were still supposedly banned, that made two post-game pie incidents in less than one week. And the Orioles haven’t lost since. Coincidence? I think not.
Just like the Orioles, the pies haven’t cooled down. Dylan Bundy had the finest pitching performance by an Orioles starter since Mike Mussina and was rewarded with three times as many pies to face as he allowed hits. All deserving.
Dylan Bundy got the rare triple-pie tonight following his one-hit CGSO. pic.twitter.com/B1RBKynvIo— Avi Miller (@AviMiIIer) August 30, 2017
And finally yesterday, Welington Castillo took this adorable pie from his oldest son following a four-hit performance.
"Hey dad, how about some pie to celebrate your 4-hit game?" https://t.co/X0umiDT9Bt pic.twitter.com/CTehoVuwLq— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 31, 2017
But the thing is, yeah four-hit games are impressive, but they are definitely a notch below walk-off home runs and one-hit complete game shut outs. Castillo’s performance didn’t approach the levels of the special occasions that have warranted rogue pies and later discipline from Adam Jones.
The evidence suggests the pies may be back, at least temporarily, at Camden Yards. It’s time for everyone to embrace them. The Orioles fans have taken notice, and clearly the baseball gods have taken notice. The Birds clawed themselves back into the wild card picture with the power of the pies, and now is not the time to stop.