Opening Day Blown Save A New Low For the Baltimore Orioles
I woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning. A gut-wrenching conclusion to a baseball game hotly anticipated since last October will do that to a guy. Went to sleep last night chanting all those cliched mantras about how it’s only one game, blah blah blah, yet here I am over 12 hours later still feeling like something awful has happened. Here’s why.
Last night marked the 57th “Opening Day” game for the Baltimore Orioles, and it was the first them they’d EVER lost (EVER!) a season inaugural aftering suffering a blown save by one of their relief pitchers. I suspected as much. When I was 12, my Dad took me to me first Opening Day, and the Birds got spanked 7-2. A few days after he died, I went to another Orioles Opener and they lost 12-0 (not to mention another 20 in a row after that). I was also their for the last Opening Day at Memorial Stadium when Baltimore got drubbed 9-1 amid much pomp and circumstance. So I know a thing or two about disappointing starts to baseball seasons. Last night was a doozy, though.
The only other time in club history a Baltimore pitcher had blown a save on Opening Day came in 1985, when free agent acquisiton Don Aase (like Mike Gonzalez last night) made his Orioles debut. Aase inherited a 2-1 eighth inning lead from Storm Davis at home against the Rangers, surrendered a bunt single to the first man he faced, and a game-tying safety two outs later. Not to worry, Cal Ripken walked leading off the bottom of the eighth, and Eddie Murray followed by clubbing a two-run homer. Baltimore won, and Aase earned a save for the American League All Stars the following year before injuries wrecked his career.
Last night was more proof of that old adage that you’re liable to see something new in baseball every day if you’re paying attention. Watching the O’s leave 10 runners on base and go a pitiful 1-12 with runners in scoring position, I muttered to myself “They don’t deserve to win this game” last night in the top of the ninth inning. Well, in the bottom of the ninth, they lost it. And I’m still bummed. Thank God there’s another game tonight. Go O’s!
by Malcolm Allen