I know, I know, there’s still a bit of baseball left … a World Series (yawn). With some teams … playing somewhere. Oh, I don’t know.
I guess I’ll watch. But, secretly, I’ll be counting down the days until Opening Day 2014.
But, before we close the book on 2013, here are some extra innings to honor my sweet Baltimore Orioles and their second consecutive winning season.
(Hey, did you know that the Orioles broke a major league record this year, by committing the fewest errors – 54 – ever in a single season? I just love a tough and graceful defense!)
Free Baseball: All About the O(rioles): Offense, Defense, Pitching & Pumpkins!
10th Inning: “Crush” Davis, Home Run King.
Orioles First Baseman Chris Davis hit 53 home runs this season. The most anyone hit this year and an Orioles’ record.
Wanna see the first 50? Of course you do. And, it will only take a minute.
(Chris Davis also led all of baseball with 138 runs batted in and tied for third in the American League with 42 doubles. And, in the field he led baseball with 153 double plays turned.)
11th Inning: Hakuna Machado!
The Orioles’ Manny Machado makes beautiful baseball over on third.
Manny is one of the best defensive players in the game today. Gold Glove worthy. (Oh, and he led the AL with 51 doubles, too.)
“Hakuna Machado” – a takeoff on The Lion King song – is a Birdland cheer for Manny. Here’s a great song and video some folks over at MLB.com put together for Manny this season.
Just 90 seconds. Plus, Orioles’ reliever Tommy Hunter sings. Worth it just for that.
(Manny had surgery on his knee earlier this week. He’ll be on the mend for six months or so. May Hakuna Magic heal Manny up and bring him back to Birdland in the Spring!)
12th Inning: Jim Palmer, Pitcher. Jim Palmer, Pitchman.
Jim Palmer is not only the greatest pitcher in Orioles’ history … he is one of the greatest pitchers. Period. (Please do not argue with me. This is neither the time nor the place.)
Here are some career numbers over Palmer’s 19 seasons (1965-1984):
20-Game Winner: 8 Times
Cy Young Awards: 3
Gold Gloves: 4
Win Percentage: .638
Win Percentage in Post-Season Games: .727
Grand Slams hit off of him: 0
Today, Jim Palmer does color for Orioles’ television broadcasts. He’s quite good – interesting, informative, entertaining, without being arrogant or a windbag. (Although he will happily remind you about that grand slam stat from time to time.)
He taught me one of the most important rules of baseball: “Never be the first or third out at third.”
In addition to pitching, Jim Palmer sold a lot of Brylcreem and Jockey shorts back in the day. A few of his commercials were gathered by the cool blog “30-Year Old Cardboard” to recognize Palmer’s 68th birthday earlier this week. Click here.
13th Inning: Pumpkins!
One of the most popular posts on this blog is from last October when I wrote about the Oriole pumpkin I carved. The pumpkin is pretty miserable (in a “you let a 3-year-old hold a knife and slash up your pumpkin?” sort of way) and the photo is blurry (“and he took the photo, too?”).
It was a sloppy Oriole pumpkin honoring a team that, in 2011, was pretty sloppy, too – they lost nearly 100 games. In all of baseball, only Seattle, Minnesota, and Houston played worse.
But, the photo includes Oscar – who lived to be nearly 20 and was a mighty good cat. He always smelled like sunshine. He’s gone now, but I always smile when I see this picture.
For the post, Oriole pumpkin stencils, and all things pumpkiny, click here.
(Psst! Giants fans, I’ve got you covered, too … click here.)