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A celebration for the ages

When the Orioles made the playoffs in 2012, they learned that they were heading to the postseason upon boarding their charter flight to Florida just hours after a home win at Camden Yards.

The Orioles weren't able to celebrate with the hometown fans, which is what made this season's Clinchmas — when they clinched the franchise's first division title since 1997 — so special.

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Once first baseman Steve Pearce scooped up a grounder and touched the bag for the final out of an 8-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 17, the entire city of Baltimore could celebrate together.

I had one of the best seats in the house. Just getting ready to push send on my early game story, I watched from the press box as a dogpile formed in the infield, streamers flew from the upper deck and orange fireworks lit up the sky.

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The Orioles briefly retreated to their clubhouse for a champagne celebration, but within minutes they were back on the field sharing the moment with their fans.

But the best sight of all was manager Buck Showalter watching his players celebrate while leaning against the dugout railing, smirking like a proud father. This was their moment, but he wanted to make sure he took a mental snapshot for posterity.

You never know when you'll be able to capture that feeling again. Showalter understood that, and so did the city — and that's what made that moment so memorable.

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