With the Orioles set to face the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards in their home opener today, here are some of our favorite Opening Day memories.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: My most memorable Opening Day, appropriately enough, was April 9, 1990, the first regular-season game I covered as the new baseball beat writer for The Sun. Opening Day had been delayed that year by labor strife, and the Orioles opened up at Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) in Kansas City, Mo. That was the night that swingin' Sam Horn also made his Orioles debut and slammed a pair of three-run home runs, the second of which brought the Orioles back from behind in the eighth inning and allowed them to score an exciting 7-6 victory in 11 innings. It was a fitting way to pick up where they left off after the terrific "Why Not?" 1989 season, but they would not be able to replicate that magic. They ended up finishing fifth in the seven-team American League East with a 76-85 record.
Eduardo Encina, beat writer: Despite growing up as an Orioles fan in Jessup, I was never able to attend an Opening Day game until I began covering Major League Baseball in 2006 as the Tampa Tribune's Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat writer. It was completely coincidence, but that first Opening Day was against the Orioles at Camden Yards. That was the first time I stepped onto the field at Oriole Park. I've covered countless games there since, but that first Opening Day will be an experience I'll never forget.
Dan Connolly, beat writer: The most unforgettable for me was 2003, the "Snowpener." Most bizarre game of weather I ever experienced. Jay Gibbons lost a ball in a snow squall. Orioles won anyway in extra innings.
Childs Walker, reporter: I have two favorite Opening Day memories. The first was the 1989 game, which featured Steve Finley's crazy catch and Cal Ripken Jr.'s home run off Roger Clemens. We didn't know the delightful "Why Not?" season lay ahead, but that victory sure felt good after the 0-21 horror of 1988. The second was the snow-delay game in 2003, because I'd never seen anything like it at a ballgame and haven't since.
Jon Meoli, blogger: I didn't have tickets to my first Opening Day in 2010, and, being a college student new to the area, was surprised to see the ballpark finally full. My buddies and I each paid $20 to some guy who walked us around the turnstiles without tickets, then sat in right field behind the foul pole and saw, as Mike Gonzalez blew his second save in four days, just how badly Orioles fans wanted the team to be good. It's safe to say they've been rewarded.