For the Birds # 1
The Orioles reached a new franchise low on June 22nd against the Florida Marlins. First, they squandered a four run lead in the ninth with their closer on the mound and then, in the tenth, pitcher Todd Williams, in an attempt to intentionally walk a batter, tossed one too close to the plate and it was slapped into right field for the game winning hit by Miguel Cabrera. The Oriole Way prided itself on a mastery of the fundamentals. The Orioles have lost their "way." I started watching the Orioles at the age of six. Brooks, Frank, Boog and Jim Palmer became my surrogate fathers and the late Oriole announcer Chuck Thompson was my babysitter as I sat through every inning of nearly every game on television. My favorite Oriole player back then was centerfielder Paul Blair. Blair was lithe and cool, with leopard-like quickness. I learned to catch flies one-handed and wave the bat slowly like him. I went to a game at Memorial Stadium with a sign, "Yankees Beware, Here Comes Paul Blair." My first lines of poetry.