On May 31, 2013 I witnessed an unprecedented Orioles comeback over the Detroit Tigers that made a hero out of a fringe player that barely made the team.
My brother and I had club level seating. This was the first time the two of us had ever sat in these seats and it offered a great view from behind left-field. The great view was rewarded with disappointment early on as a home run from the reigning MVP Miguel Cabrera coasted towards us and landed in the left-field lower reserve seats. The score was 2-0 Tigers in the top of the first. Matt Wieters made the scoreboard a little nicer with a sac fly in the second.
In the third Adam Jones walked up to the plate and belted the second pitch of the at-bat to the center field batters eye. The crowd went absolutely nuts. It was a Friday night and no one wanted a boring game. Adam brought in Nick Markakis in front of him making the score 3-2 Orioles.
The Tigers weren’t done though. They scored in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and the Orioles had no response. The score was 5-3 by the end of the sixth. The Orioles actually went hitless after Adam Jones’ home run in the third. Rolling into the ninth, the people in my section had given up and wanted to beat the traffic out. My friend was about to leave us but I told him you can’t give up on this team.
Bottom of the ninth. Markakis hits two-strike leadoff home run that barely squeaks onto the right-field grounds crew shed. Score is now 4-3 Tigers. Next batter, Jones gets on with an infield single. Next up, Chris Davis moves him over to third with his own single. There’s still no outs.
Matt Wieters takes the plate. He just has to hit a ball deep into the field and Jones can tie it up. Sadly, he pops out to first. J.J. Hardy walks up and pops out to shortstop, fitting. Two outs and it’s time for the fringe player, Chris Dickerson.
Dickerson is nothing special and definitely nothing to write home about, but that night Dickerson might as well have been God. One ball, two balls, foul ball….”GOODBYE, HOME RUN.” Dickerson launched a no-doubter to center. The stadium shook in a way I wouldn’t experience again until the 2014 ALDS against the same team.
High-fives were being slapped all around our section. I was hugged by a man I didn’t know. Women were screaming at the top of their lungs. It was an unforgettable comeback. We spent 20 minutes standing in the stadium just talking about what happened with friends that had been sitting near us. Stadium security didn’t even care and joined in saying “What a game!”
When it was all over, I looked at my friend that wanted to leave and said “I guess, you’re happy you stayed, huh?”