The retiring of 'Orioles Magic'

The Baltimore Sun

If something seemed like it was missing at Camden Yards last week, you deserve points for your observational skills.

The campy "Orioles Magic" song that hearkens to the days when there was a "thundering roar from [Section] 34" got scratched after Opening Day.

In the past four games, the Orioles have darted out of the dugout before the first pitch to "Click Click Boom," a song by the rock band Saliva, which might or might not have been inspired by former Oriole Roberto Alomar.

The concept of never-say-die Orioles Magic seemingly expired years ago, and now the song has taken at least a temporary hiatus from pre-game at Camden Yards.

Don't start mourning yet, oh tradition-obsessed Orioles fans. Or at least know this before you pine for the olden days: In those four games, without hearing about "when Weaver moves," the Orioles are undefeated. That includes an Orioles Magic-esque comeback against the Seattle Mariners yesterday, when they scored three runs in the ninth against a team that didn't blow a game like that all last season.

So when a keyed-up Orioles team returned to the clubhouse after the inspiring victory, how did it celebrate? By blasting "Orioles Magic" as loud as it could on the clubhouse stereo.


Led by club DJ Kevin Millar and his stone-faced sidekick, "Master G" Jeremy Guthrie, several players got into the mood by banging their fists against the wooden dining table to the catchy rhythm.

"Orioles Magic, baby," Millar howled. "First-place Orioles."

Laughing while walking away from the dining table, Orioles newbie reliever Matt Albers couldn't help himself, quietly singing, "Magic, Magic, Magic, Magic," all the way back to his locker.

Here's the deal. This team isn't close to the ones of the late 1970s and early 1980s that helped energize this city. There's still plenty of reason to believe it will be the worst to wear Orioles on a road jersey since 1988.

But these Orioles have a sense of humor. And are having some fun early on. Maybe recent versions had fun at some point, too. But the good times have been erased from the memory bank by terrible results and lack of hustle.

The 2007 Orioles would have lost a game like yesterday's - trailing 2-0 in the ninth. All last year, they won just four of 91 games in which they were losing after the eighth. They were 13-31 in one-run games.

Those Orioles were more apt to lose one the way the Mariners did. In fact, yesterday's ending was fairly similar to the Orioles' Mother's Day Meltdown in Boston. In that one, Guthrie, like Seattle's Felix Hernandez yesterday, was cruising into the ninth and was replaced by an imploding bullpen that snatched a loss from the jaws of victory.

Yesterday, though, the Orioles were celebrating a mini-winning streak.

"It's a different team, different year. There are a lot of younger guys, a lot of energy," designated hitter Aubrey Huff said. "There are no expectations on us this year. We are just going out there, having fun and playing baseball, and good things happen when you have fun."

This team will lose its share and likely will finish last in the American League East, yet there's a hint they will go down fighting, something we haven't seen in years here. Maybe it's Dave Trembley and his upbeat nature. Or maybe it's just an infusion of new guys - such as outfielders Luke Scott and Adam Jones and shortstop Luis Hernandez - who are trying to prove themselves.

"There are a lot of kids here that want to play, that are more excited to play," third baseman Melvin Mora said. "They just want to be on the field."

Several of those guys weren't born when "Orioles Magic" first was played for Orioles fans. It might take some time before the Camden Yards faithful hear it again.

"I don't care if it is in the clubhouse, just not when we take the field," Huff said. "I think we are ... 0-1 when we came out to it Opening Day, and we haven't lost since we quit playing it. So let's just keep that off the field."

Huff is not exactly the ambassador of all things Baltimore since his "horse - -" comment in the offseason, but he is right on this one.

As he said, "It was great for the '80s."

This isn't the "O" in the anthem or John Denver crooning in the seventh inning. This is a song written for a particular time and preserved because there have been few highlights since.

It had its purpose, but it no longer fires anyone up. So it's time to pull the plug, or at least let it be a mocking, team-unifying guffaw after big wins.

It can be a reminder not to take this game so seriously.

And who knows? Maybe a little levity leads to some magic every now and then.

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