Let's Go O'S!
(The Baltimore Orioles play* at Texas tonight in the American League Wild Card showdown. The O's made the playoffs after a 14-year postseason drought, and they did so dramatically, setting a modern-day Major League record by going 29-9 in one-run games. They won 93 contests after winning just 69 games a year ago. What a great season!)*
"Let's go O's! Let's go O's!"
If you attended either of our recent home games against the Patriots and Browns, you were part of the masses that stood and chanted "Let's go O's!" when we showed current members of the playoff-bound Orioles watching our games.
When Buck Showalter, Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, Jim Johnson, Mark Reynolds, Tommy Hunter, Nate McLouth, Chris Davis, Matt Weiters and other teammates appeared on our RavensVision boards, the crowd stood in unison and started chanting.
How cool is that! First, these great athletes and manager from the Orioles cheering us on, and our fans and players saying: "Right back at you."
"I started clapping with our fans both times," Ed Reed said. "I think it gave us a little boost knowing that they were there supporting us. I know a couple of them, including Adam Jones. They're good guys like us, laid back away from the game."
"Yeah, I heard the fans chanting for the O's. It was cool. I think it had to make them feel like the Ravens and the fans are behind them. It was pretty exciting," Anquan Boldin said.
"It made me smile when I heard 'Let's go O's!'" Joe Flacco recalled. "I feel like we live in a city where the fans really back their teams. It's exciting to see what's happened for the Orioles with the way they've played and won all those close games – and the way the fans stepped up in the last month to really support them. It was a little upsetting not to see them get that support the last couple of years."
Ed, Anquan and Joe go to Oriole Park for games. "I take my son down there. He really enjoys it, so we definitely go down there and support," Anquan explained. "We go sit in the stands. That's the only way to watch a baseball game in person. Be with the other folks who like the game. That's part of the fun."
Earlier in the season, Flacco took Dennis Pitta, two large recognizable guys. Did fans let you watch the game? "Yeah, they were pretty respectful," Flacco said. "Some people were trying to get to us, which was ok. But, the ushers did a nice job of helping us watch the game."
Reed threw out the ceremonial first pitch for an O's game in May. "I love baseball and really enjoyed it. I talked to a bunch of the pitchers. Hung with them and shagged some balls in the outfield. They were cool to me," Reed said. "I know Adam Jones. He reminds me of me out there – like a safety flying through the air to get those balls, like he was getting interceptions. But, I'm sure he's happy with baseball and not playing football."
Could Ravens Play In The Major Leagues?
"Actually, baseball was my best sport when I was growing up. I was a pitcher and shortstop," Boldin said.
"I have too much respect for other pro athletes to say I could do what they do. It would be easy to say, 'I could do it.' But, when you have a curveball coming at you, or a 100-mile-per-hour fastball, that's another thing. I used to take batting practice with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and I started feeling like I could do it. Then I saw Randy Johnson get on the mound and thought, 'No, I'm straight. Football is for me.'"
Flacco's brother Mike is in the Orioles' minor league system, and Joe was an outstanding high school baseball player. "Baseball is such a tough road, going through the minors and fighting to get to the big league. Really, really tough, and those guys are the best at what they do. I could really hit ever since I was little, but I don't know about a Major League curveball," Joe said.
Asked a couple of Ravens players who they thought could play in the Majors, and all said "Reed." Ed is considered by many the best athlete on the team. "A lot of guys think that basketball shows true athleticism, but I think baseball is more of a true test," Reed offered. "Most guys can't play baseball, let alone catch a fly ball or hit a fastball. I played centerfield and third base. Also pitched some, which is probably why my shoulder is never right. I was All-State. Majors? I don't know about that."
(Ed, by the way, is a humble athlete. A few years ago, we were talking about basketball, and I asked Ed if he played in high school. This is what I recall him saying: "I did a little. I was just a guy, and we lost in the state semifinals my senior year." Well, did you start? "Yeah, three years." Remember your stats? "As a senior, I think I scored like 23 a game, had about seven rebounds and seven assists a game." And Ed thought he was "just a guy" in basketball. Raise your hand if you were cut from freshman basketball.)
Maybe Ed could be an umpire? "I used to be an umpire. When I was 16 or 17, I was umping Little League games. If you watch a game with me, you'll see calling balls and strikes or what kind of pitch it is. I'll say 'Let's turn two,' and stuff like that. I tweeted that out while watching an O's game a few weeks ago, and someone tweeted me back that I should tweet we need a grand slam, but I didn't. We just needed base hits at the time." Reed said.
Coach Harbaugh Enjoys Baseball
"I love what the O's have done. My family and I go to Oriole Park and have been since we arrived in Baltimore," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We've become loyal fans. 'Buckle up!' I have total confidence in Buck [Showalter] and the team."
Tonight's playoff game between the O's and Rangers is about as close as baseball gets to football. "It's one and done, just like the NFL playoffs," Harbs added. Baseball teams play 162 regular-season games. We play 16 in the NFL. Do the math. One loss in the NFL equates to losing 10 in a row in the Major Leagues. Let's hope we win "10 in a row" at Kansas City on Sunday. Let's beat the Chiefs.
Talk with you next week,