Once an Oriole, always an Oriole.
Here are some former Baltimore Orioles playing the game. Only their uniforms have changed.
(What, you thought I’d never mention Nick Markakis again just because he’s a Brave now? And, not share last night’s baby video with you? What do you think I am, some kind of monster?)
10th Inning ~ Nelson Cruz
Sure, Nelson Cruz was only an Oriole for a season, but his league-leading 40 home runs last year helped the Orioles go deep into October. Thank you, Nelly!
Cruz took those home runs and parlayed them into a juicy, rich contract from the Seattle Mariners in the off season.
He returned to Camden Yards this week.
His reception? A warm standing ovation from Orioles fans. (The smattering of “boos” you hear are actually fans yelling “Cruuuuzzz,” just like they did all last season.)
O’s fans didn’t begrudge Cruz his single. They weren’t quite as happy about his home run in his next at-bat, but they probably weren’t all that surprised.
11th Inning ~ Nick Markakis
I’m still sad about longtime Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis leaving for the Atlanta Braves this season.
I wouldn’t say he’s irreplaceable in right, but so far the O’s have tucked Delmon Young, Travis Snider, Steve Pearce, and Alejandro De Aza over there, and it’s just not the same.
Markakis is doing a-ok over in Atlanta. And, last night, after chasing a foul ball, he stopped to greet a young Braves fan. Watch here.
I still miss you, Nick.
Look close and you’ll see a bonus Oriole! That’s former Oriole closer Jim Johnson on the mound handily getting through a clean 8th inning in the Braves win last night.
12th Inning ~ Jake Arrieta
Jake Arrieta had a challenging few seasons in Baltimore. Everyone insisted he had the talent, but he just couldn’t get it together when it came time to pitch.
Arrieta is the perfect example of how a change of scenery – and a burst of facial hair – can make all the difference. Traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2013, he’s thrived as a go-to starter.
On May 12 he shut down the Mets with 10 strikeouts in a 6-1 victory. Watch here.
(Fun Fact: Earlier this month, the Orioles tried twice and couldn’t beat the Mets.)
If solid starting pitching isn’t your bag, try these cubs instead …
Six bear cubs at the Wildlife Center of Virginia goofing off on the live Critter Cam. Watch here.
They are adorable. Almost as adorable as that Nick Markakis video from last night.
Free Baseball refers to the extra innings that come after a nine-inning game ends in a tie. Here “Free Baseball” are the extra things that don’t quite fit into my regular-sized posts.