Until that four-game series in early September, I’d never seen Camden Yards full of Orioles fans. The place was always more of a home-away-from-home for the Yankees, full of Jeter jerseys and “Let’s Go Yankees!” chants.
These days, Camden Yards is something entirely different, and that’s what stood out about last night’s win.
“I was surprised that many people left that early,” Nick Swisher said. “This is an amazing ballpark, especially when it’s packed like this, so it’s a lot of fun to play these games. But that crowd, that was rowdy early. They had the orange towels going. What did it say, BUCKle up or something on there? I think more than anything, if we just go out there and play our game, worry about the things that we need to take care of, that’s where our focus needs to be.”
But it’s hard to overstate just how pumped up Camden Yards was earlier in the night. Even after a nearly two-and-a-half-hour rain delay, the place was packed with its largest crowd of the year. There were orange towels waving everywhere. The Orioles had such a magical, unlikely regular season, there was reason to believe anything could happen.
They’d come this far, why couldn’t the Orioles beat the Yankees?
“(Jim Johnson), he’s nasty,” Swisher said. “… I think his numbers kind of speak for themselves, but it was nice to be able to get to somebody that’s had that much success this season, in Game 1.”
Last night was a statement wrapped up in a win. The Yankees didn’t just beat the Orioles, they beat the best part of the Orioles. They beat the Orioles bullpen, in front of a packed crowd that had been waiting for the magic to show up again.
All year, the Orioles gave themselves reason to believe. Last night, the Yankees gave them reason not to.
Associated Press photos