I’ve never been one for making a big deal out of a game; however, there’s always something special about Opening Day.
Yes, some of the stuff I’ve heard over time about the importance of it sounds fairly hokey; however, for the region, it seems like a big pep rally and communal event that brings everyone together.
It was once again a big, grand party at the Yard to open the 2014 season for the Baltimore Orioles and they did not let the fans down. The streets of downtown with emblazoned in orange and black with everyone glad to see baseball back after a miserable, freaking winter.
Driving around downtown Baltimore was a mess, plus parking was painfully hard to find; however, no matter what the obstacles were in getting to the park, all would be good once I stepped foot into Camden Yards.
I was in Florida last week and arriving back in town on Sunday afternoon, it was snowing outside and wondered what Monday would bring.
However, it turned out to be a very nice day outside despite an ever present breeze.
Although the Orioles are picked by most to finish in the middle of pack in the American League East, they showed their mettle as they defeated the world champion Boston Red Sox, 2-1.
The Yard was sold out and tickets (perhaps more so than ever) were hard to find.
The contest was thrilling as the game was deadlocked at one until the seventh inning as Nelson Cruz’s bomb to left field – a solo homer – made the difference for Baltimore.
Opening Day starting pitcher Chris Tillman labored through five innings, although he only gave up a run; meanwhile, newly-anointed closer Tommy Hunter made things interesting in the ninth before notching his first save of the season and sending everyone home happy.
Zach Britton did his job out of the bullpen as he pitched two solid innings in relief and earned the win.
Nelson Cruz – who we all know was suspended in 2013 for PED use – was cheered on as a conquering hero after his difference making homer and a amazing catch in left field.
The Yard chanted “Cruuuzzzz” as he trotted around the bases and everyone seemed to forget – at least for now – his sordid history.
If he hits year round, no one will care about the past. Only time will tell.
He’s a Bird now.
As fans, we can only grasp so much about a season after one game.
However, it looks like the Orioles are off to a good start. The season is going to be long, but I truly believe that they will be a lot better than what most experts have put forth.