It could have been one of the coolest scenes in Baltimore baseball history.
Players and fans cheering together at Camden Yards as the Los Angeles Angels lost to the Texas Rangers and gave the Orioles their first playoff berth since 1997.
It was still pretty cool, but it didn’t work out as neatly as hoped. The Angels came back on the Rangers and closer Joe Nathan, scoring two runs in the ninth on a Torii Hunter double to give the Angels the lead. They won it in the ninth, to keep the Orioles’ postseason clinching celebration at bay at least until later Sunday night when the Angels and Rangers face off again.
But for a few minutes Sunday afternoon, the Orioles players stood in the middle of the diamond and watched the big video screen that was displaying Angels-Rangers.
“It was kind of strange. I don’t think anybody really knew what to do. It kind of got awkward to be honest with you,” said left fielder Nate McLouth. “It would have been a neat moment to share had it worked out. But you really can’t expect anybody to lose. You have to take care of your business. But it was nice to wave goodbye to the fans. It would have been neat to have clinched right there, but it was kind of a cool moment anyways.”
Once the Angels took the lead, the Orioles went back into the clubhouse to watch the game privately. The fans streamed out of Camden Yards.
It was a bit of a bummer, for those fans at the park. But, really, ending this way wasn’t unexpected. This season hasn’t exactly been a smooth one for the Orioles.
“It definitely was a little awkward, everything was kind of working that way (toward a clinching moment), but we’ve had to fight for everything this year,” Johnson said. “With the way that game finishes up, this (season) is going to come down to the wire. Look at how last year finished, March Madness in September. This game is crazy, you never know what’s going to happen and that’s the way this team has been fighting all year.”
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said the team would have liked to clinch in front of the home fans, but that’s not going to bother this focused group.
"You’re in you’re in. I don’t care, nobody cares,” Jones said. “We can (clinch) at home or we can do it on the plane. We are going to party somewhere."