Hey ya'll, sorry I've been MIA for a while now - taking care of some personal stuff, and gearing up for my own trip down to Ft. Lauderdale for 10 days. But now that everything is settled, you should be hearing more from me.
But for now, better late than never, my account of the January Q&A with members of the 1983 Orioles.
Back in January, the Orioles hosted a 1983 Reunion at the ESPN zone, and I managed to head down to attend. According to Emcee Jim Hunter, this reunion is going to be one of many celebrating 25 years since the Orioles' last World Series win.
The players in attendance - Ken Singleton, Tippy Martinez, John Stefaro, Bill Swaggerty, Al Bumbry and Scott McGregor all had a great time answering questions from fans in the audience and reminiscing about the past, sharing inside stories and offering tips about present-day teams and how the fans effected the outcomes of games. Each story came with players passing the microphone around to allow each player to add in their two cents.
All the players agreed that the curtain call or standing ovation only made them play harder, because the recognition from the fans meant that much to them. They also commented that they wish they would see more of it in games today.
Laughing and insisting he was not complaining, Singleton recalled telling a reporter that the American League should be allowed to use their rules in American League stadiums, because at that time, the Designated Hitter was used every other year in the World Series, no matter what park the teams were in.
Tippy Martinez recounted his famous game in which he picked off three batters in extra innings, because the team wasn't positive how accurate the catcher's arm would be in throwing to second base. His candor and the side comments from the rest of the panel brought laughs to the crowd.
When comparing the 1983 team to any modern team, the players unanimously agreed "our team" would have won because of great pitching and defense - the outfielders knew who to throw to, and the great bullpen was there "just in case" and not overworked like the bullpens of today.
And how did they feel about winning the World Series, with 15 players returning from the 1979 team? "We finally did it," McGregor commented, adding that it was nice to sit back and realize that they were World Champions. Tippy recalled that the entire city of Baltimore was up and waiting for the team when they returned to Memorial Stadium.
By the end of the night, after all the questions and the players signing autographs for anyone who asked, they all agreed that baseball gets into their blood, and they all have games they'd like to relieve every day.
For Ken Singleton - Opening Day, especially the year when the day started at 75 degrees and ended in the snow.
For John Stefaro - his first Major League game, with the feeling of stepping onto the field for the first time.
For Al Bumbry - The playoffs against California, dropping a "shoestring" catch and not knowing how he did it until the next day. He promised to make the catch if he could repeat it.
For Scott McGregor - The final game of 1980, winning his 20th game of the season, and the 100th game for the team.
The night was full of laughter and reminiscing, and showed the city of Baltimore that we once held a great ball-club, and that there is promise in the future.