Around the time that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are preparing their respective departures, the Baltimore Orioles are entering my daughter’s world as a new outlet for her hopeful belief. She didn’t hear the thundering roar from 34 that filled my own ears at her age, although the “Ad-ley” chants on Friday night carried “Ed-die” echoes. Still, the Orioles are bringing to life the magic of Orioles baseball for my little girl.
Doug DeCinces birthed Orioles Magic on June 22, 1979. His walk-off two-run homer combined with a Ken Singleton solo shot three batters earlier lifted the Birds from a two-run deficit to the Detroit Tigers entering the game’s final frame.
The song celebrating the ascendant ’79 team debuted on April 15, 1980, the following season’s home opener, thanks to the off-season work of Walter Woodward. The adman turned professor penned the memorable anthem that was recorded in a Nashville studio, according to the Baltimore Sun (Wesley Case, “Catchy jingle takes on added resonance: Old ‘Orioles Magic,’ with its K.C. ties, is something team could use tonight,” Oct. 13, 2014).
The 2022 Orioles conjured that 1979 Magic when they found themselves down two runs entering the ninth inning on Friday night. There weren’t any homers, just hit after hit after hit after two-out, two-strike hit to continue an unlikely six-game win streak featuring three walk-off wins. And we were there.
They won’t create a song based on this night at the ballpark. Our silent dance party – can’t wake up the rest of the family – and air guitar solos at the house afterward will suffice.
My annual summertime trip home produced a moment that makes lifetime believers out of people like the little girl celebrating next to me in her inside-out rally floppy hat. Waffle fries, giveaway hats, fireworks, and time with family are memorable; a finish like that is unforgettable.
As the clock struck midnight on our fairy-tale night, we re-lived the moment by watching the highlights before bed. Her request.