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Sports Orioles

Unexpected reunion

Writing the daily Oriole notebook -- a hodgepodge of team updates, personnel news and injury reports -- can become monotonous on the best of days. On nights when you are by yourself on the road and you face tight deadlines, it often falls into the survive-and-advance category.

So when a notebook lead stands out it must be something completely different.

On Sept. 22, Orioles lefty Troy Patton made his first big-league appearance since 2007 due to shoulder surgery. Patton retired two batters, walked one and allowed a hit in the Orioles' 6-1 loss at Fenway Park.

The comeback story was nice, but this was so much more. In the stands were Patton's dad, Dave, and Patton's 34-year-old half-sister, Heather.

Dave Patton and his first wife divorced when Heather was 4. Her mom moved her away and cut off contact between father and daughter. Patton's dad attempted to find the girl, once unsuccessfully hiring a private detective. In 2010, he found her on the social media site, Facebook. She was a flight attendant based in Boston. They decided to meet at Fenway Park.

"It was a really good venue for them to meet at and a low-pressure situation because they were just watching a baseball game," Patton said.

The three had dinner once and lunch twice and the father and daughter watched three games together. Patton pitched in the series finale, and he fanned Boston slugger David Ortiz.

"When he struck out Big Papi, that was cool," Heather said. "I felt a little conflicted because I have been to Red Sox games before, but you've got to root for your brother, right?"

Patton was extremely appreciative of the story. And he said his own Facebook page blew up with friend invites from all over the country.

Not bad for an Orioles' notebook.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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