Good evening, from Camden Yards in Baltimore, Orioles baseball on the radio presented for your enjoyment. This is Jon Miller, along with Joe Angel. Tonight, the Orioles, all alone atop the American League East standings, take on the last-place New York Yankees.
"The Yankees, of course, have the worst record in baseball over the past 20 years under perpetually laid-back owner George Steinbrenner. What was the headline on the back page of yesterday's New York Post, Joe? 'Steinbrenner to Yankee fans: "Chill, it's just a game!"' Somebody's gotta light a fire under that guy!
"On the mound tonight for the Orioles, Curt Schilling, who is 10-1 with a microscopic 2.45 ERA. He'll go up against the Yankees' Roger Clemens, 2-8, who's battled weight problems and really been ineffectual his entire career. Big guy never lived up to his potential, did he?
"Well, it looks like we're ready for baseball. Digging in at the plate is the Yankees lead-off batter, Johnny Damon ... Schilling into his windup ... Damon takes a strike, and we're under way!
"O's manager Davey Johnson has had to tweak his starting rotation for this series. Staff ace Mike Mussina pitched last night for the Orioles, of course, and shut out the Yanks on four hits. ... Ball, low, to Damon, 1-and-1. ... Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, the Orioles' newest acquisition, goes tomorrow night, with 20-game winner Daniel Cabrera taking the ball the following night.
"There's a strike to Damon, the count 1-and-2. ... You really have to hand it to Peter Angelos on that deal with Minnesota for Johan Santana, Joe. Is there a better owner in baseball? All he does is pour money into the team and stay out of the way.
"He lets the people in the front office do their jobs. If general manager Pat Gillick wants to get a big-name pitcher like Santana, Peter Angelos' reaction is always: Fine, you know best, do what you have to do. Look, the man single-handedly helped normalize U.S. relations with Cuba after the Orioles' visit there in '99, Joe. And now the island nation is a democracy, thanks to Mr. Angelos' tireless dialogue with Fidel Castro.
"No wonder the fans are throwing a big parade for Mr. Angelos next month. 'Nasty' Nestor Aparicio of radio station WNST will be the grand marshal. Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson headlined the 'roast' the fans held for Mr. Angelos at the Sheraton Inner Harbor last month. Brooksie and Mr. Angelos are such good friends, you might see the legendary Orioles third baseman at the parade, too.
"Schilling into his windup ... Damon swings, and it's a fly ball to deep center field. Drifting over is five-time Gold Glover winner Steve Finley ... and he makes the catch for out No. 1.
"Finley's 41 years old, but still gets it done. You think back to that ridiculous proposed trade of Schilling, Finley and Pete Harnisch for Glenn Davis in '91 ... good thing the Orioles didn't pull the trigger on that one ... or the Albert Belle free-agent signing that was the hot rumor in '99.
"Boy, could you imagine Belle's toxic personality on this team? Playing alongside Saint Cal Ripken? Unthinkable ...
"Fans, don't forget to join us this Friday night at Camden Yards for Rafael Palmeiro Bobblehead Night ... all fans 16 and younger receive a free Raffy bobblehead courtesy of Esskay meat products. The O's first baseman is a sure Hall of Famer, of course ... makes no secret that he's chosen an Orioles cap for his plaque in Cooperstown, too. ...
"Striding to the plate now, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Speaking of Palmeiro, Joe, Raffy recently received another honor, of course ... named to head up the surgeon general's 'Say No to Steroids' campaign directed at young high school and college athletes.
"Schilling deals ... ball, high, to Jeter. ... That's the thing about Palmeiro. He doesn't just talk the talk. Ever since his illuminating testimony before that Senate subcommittee looking into steroid use in baseball, he's been in the forefront of the fight to keep kids off the stuff.
"Here's the 1-0 pitch to Jeter ... ball 2, low. This series against the Yankees is sold-out, of course, as every game at Camden Yards has been this season. After this, the Orioles embark on a nine-game road trip to the West Coast ... always nice to see the team in those gray road uniforms with the distinctive orange script spelling out 'Baltimore' on the front of the jerseys.
"Schilling winds ... Jeter takes a strike down the middle, 2-and-1. Getting back to the road jerseys, Joe, that was Mr. Angelos' listening to the fans again. The fans said they wanted 'Baltimore' on the jerseys, and Peter Angelos said, 'OK, if that's what they want, we'll make it happen.'
"Schilling deals ... Jeter hits a bouncer to second gobbled up by 14-time All-Star Robbie Alomar ... Alomar's what, 42 years old now, Joe? ... still showing incredible range and hitting prowess for the Orioles.
"I'll tell you who loves Roberto Alomar - the umpires. Home plate ump Tim Tschida told me the other day that Alomar won the Major League umpires' annual Good Guy Award for the 10th time. The guy never complains about a call. ...
"Batting third now for the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez, another guy who's really struggling for the Yankees. ... Fans, don't forget, when the O's return from the West Coast, they'll begin a three-game series at Camden Yards with their arch-rivals, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
"That's the series everyone in baseball wants to see, of course. A limited amount of tickets will go on sale that day on a first-come, first-served basis.
"A-Rod takes strike 1. ... Orioles-Devil Rays has got to be the best rivalry in sports these days, Joe. O's fans complain when the Devil Rays fans come in, about how loud and boorish they are, but you gotta admit the place really comes to life when Tampa Bay's in town.
"Schilling into the windup ... the pitch ... ball, outside, 1-and-1. Boy, wasn't it great to see Wild Bill Hagy leading the cheers from on top of the O's dugout during last night's game? That guy is unbelievable.
"He's what, almost 70? And he hasn't missed a game in 25 years ... still pounding those Budweisers and getting up there with the burlap beard and the straw hat and the big gut doing the O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheer.
"Schilling gets the sign, into his windup ... ball, high, 2-and-1 to A-Rod. At one point Wild Bill was leading cheers with the Lemonade Shaking guy ... now that was a scene!
"Not that you need any more noise in this ballpark, Joe ... a lot of the newer ballparks, you get the wine-and-cheese crowd, the corporate lawyers, everybody talking into their cell phones instead of paying attention to the game ... not here, though. Camden Yards has to the loudest ballpark in baseball. Four pennants and three world championships in the past 10 years will do that, of course.
"Schilling's ready ... here comes the pitch ... and it's a line drive right at Melvin Mora for the third out. So it's a 1-2-3 inning for Schilling, with the Orioles coming to bat. ...
"Fans, don't forget that Wednesday, July 25, is Jeffrey Maier Night here at the ballpark, in honor of the heady then-12-year-old Yankee fan who refused to buckle to peer pressure in the first game of the '96 American League Championship Series and didn't interfere with Tony Tarasco's catch of Derek Jeter's fly ball, which propelled the O's into the World Series and their four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves."