Adam Jones lifted a seeing-eye RBI single to centerfield that broke a scoreless tie and four home runs took care of the rest in an 8-0 victory. The win boosted their record to 44-24 at Camden Yards. The Orioles have dismantled the opposition at home this year as through they were using mallets and shell crackers at a crab feast.
The Birds ended the game in the second inning. They struck quickly and surgically unleashing a cannonade of home runs to stun the visiting New Yorkers and take a six run lead. In the third Manny Machado homered to make it 8-0 where it stayed. The Yanks managed two hits.
Even though I could watch the game on cable, I listened. The sudden explosions of Oriole home runs, coming in bunches and the frenzied voices of Joe Angell and Fred Manfra slicing into the silence and breaking up the mundane reportage have made this season unique and exhilarating. I held my daughter Julia’s arm.
“Listen sweetheart, there it goes,” I said.
“Is that the Ravens?” She looked up from her anime.
Home runs taught me to read. I discovered a whole range of exciting verbs in the Baltimore Sun when I seven and mesmerized by Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Boog Powell who regularly “clouted,” “crushed,” “demolished,” “socked,” “clobbered,” and “whacked” balls out of the park. Though I love pitcher’s duels and abhor statistics, the home run is the most exciting event in sports.
Marianne Moore wrote in the poem Baseball & Writing, “the massive run need not be everything.” The Orioles have hit 213 homers. The Major League record is 264 by the 1997 Seattle Mariners. The home run, the tater, the big fly, the dinger, the moon shot, the jack, the big fly, and the souvenir—whatever you call them--the 2016 Birds can't live without them.
Orioles’ radio announcer Jim Hunter called Manny Machado’s third inning round-tripper “a majestic blast.” The ball traveled high above the stadium before landing deep into the left field bleachers. You can see it here in the 4th spot.
Campbell McGrath has a “majestic” description of an Eddie Murray home run in Captalist Poem #25:
And when Eddie swings at 1-1 pitch we know it’s gone before the ball rockets off his bat in a tremendous arc, moving slowly and even gently through the air, perfectly visible, stage-lit against the deep green of the grass, the right fielder not moving, just turning his head to watch it go, and it’s like the perfect arc of youth…
That’s just the overture in the greatest description of a home run I’ve ever seen in print. There are 250 more words that follow before the ball lands in the bullpen. That took place in Memorial Stadium. McGrath’s Capitalism is a grand slam of a book—please bring it back in print.
Roger Angell wrote eloquently about Memorial Stadium but Camden Yards is a poet’s ballpark. Its sightlines lines are pristine and breathtaking. The piece de resistance is the longest and narrowest warehouse in the United States, a vestige of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad that looks on its south end like the face of locomotive and defines right field. On Eutaw Street looking north, still within the confines, the Bromo Seltzer tower looms and for a second you are in a foreign city. George Herman Ruth, Sr. owned a saloon now covered by centerfield and where the young Babe hurled stones at police officers landing him in Brother Matthias’ care at St. Mary’s Industrial for Boys. Edgar Allen Poe also lived in the neighborhood and I imagine them both commiserating in eaves of the left field bleachers. Eddie Poe and the Babe holding court with the ghosts of ushers and beer men.
Even with a big lead, I still watched the game until the final out—keeping tabs on the Blue Jays, Tigers, and Red Sox.
The American League East is another slugfest this year. I’m not a Toronto fan and have never been going back to their beginnings in those robin’s egg colored space suits—all the way back to when Alfredo Griffin played shortstop. They lost in Tampa Bay. The Sox obliterated the A’s. With Betts, Bradley, Jr., and Bogaerts driving the offense and a solid pitching staff with David Price, they may take just the division.
The Yanks are at bay for the moment. The Orioles gained a game on the Blue Jays but stayed tied with the Tigers who beat Kansas City.
I know one thing. The Orioles will keep swinging for the fences.