For 14 seasons I have covered the Orioles — most of those years, frankly, were terrible. I have witnessed some cool moments, however, such as Cal Ripken Jr.'s final game and the improbable 2012 playoff run.
Nothing, though, compares with the eighth inning of Game 2 of this year's American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers. Not much background is needed on this one.
Trailing, 6-3, in the bottom of the eighth, Detroit's bullpen imploded. With the bases loaded, one out and the Orioles down by two runs, pinch-hitter Delmon Young slapped a double to left field for a 7-6 lead that held up, propelling the Orioles to an eventual sweep over the vaunted Tigers.
As J.J. Hardy's hand grazed the plate with the go-ahead run, Camden Yards erupted. The noise was ear-splitting. It was the sound of 17 years of frustration and hope and elation all at once.
Yes, it was by far the loudest I have ever heard Camden Yards. But it goes beyond that. It was the loudest roar I've ever heard in a stadium. And I have covered World Series games in Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and St. Louis, among other places.
The coolest part for me — especially as a Baltimore native — is that I was writing the game story that afternoon. It was up to me to try and capture that moment for posterity. To put it in perspective with all the other great postseason moments in Orioles history.
Call that a highlight of 2014 — and a career highlight, too.