A year ago Friday, Robert Andino etched his name into Orioles lore with a ninth-inning sinking liner to left that escaped the glove of Boston’s Carl Crawford, plated Nolan Reimold with the game-winner, extinguished the Red Sox’s playoff hopes and helped send that franchise into an unforeseen spiral.
So what does the Orioles second baseman think now about that one swing, that one moment which ended the 2011 season that will be forever known as “the Curse of the Andino?”
“Want to know my true feelings about it? I really don’t care about it anymore,” Andino said Friday. “It was a year ago. Yeah, it was fun. Yeah, I remember it. But I couldn’t care less about it now.”
On Friday, roles were reversed, with the Orioles close to clinching a playoff spot and the Red Sox playing for pride.
“This is 2012. We wanna get in the playoffs,” Andino said. “We’re not trying to spoil nobody’s [situation]. We’re the ones trying to get in.”
These Red Sox couldn’t be much more different from last year’s version. Crawford is now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jonathan Papelbon, who gave up the game-winner, is with the Philadelphia Phillies. Manager Terry Francona is a TV analyst. Two of his coaches, DeMarlo Hale and Ron Johnson, are now with the Orioles organization.
Only second baseman Dustin Pedroia and catcher Ryan Lavarnway were in Boston’s lineup that night and also started Friday.
And a case can be made — though it might be a stretch — that that game helped propel the Orioles to where they are now. It was a big game with playoff consequences in front of an energized crowd. They weren’t expected to win — not with Boston ace Jon Lester facing Orioles spot starter Alfredo Simon — and yet they found a way.
Normally, manager Buck Showalter doesn’t bite on such storylines, but he did to an extent Friday.
“I can’t say it didn’t help. It does. You create your own intensity and this is a self-starter group,” Showalter said. “I think once again we fed off the emotions of our fans, too.”