Fans, players revel into night at Camden Yards
BALTIMORE -- At about 10:40 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the Orioles' celebration for their newly-claimed American League East title spilled from the clubhouse onto the first-base line at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Adam Jones led the way with an AL East champions flag and a new championship belt. Those who were left of the 35,297 in attendance serenaded him with chants of "MVP!" The outfielder ran to the front-row seats armed with some of his "Dangerously Delicious Pies." He smashed one into one fan's face. Then another. It's a perk of clinching at home -- the O's had a chance to celebrate in their unique style.
"I don't think there's any more electric place than this ballpark when something's on the line for the city of Baltimore," manager Buck Showalter said.
For the fans, the celebration began before The Star-Spangled Banner was even sung. With the Blue Jays in town, the evening started with O Canada, and a portion of fans inserted Camden Yards' signature "O!" into the final line.
The O's began their celebration in shallow right field after Steve Pearce stepped on first base for the final out in an 8-2 win over second-place Toronto. AL East championship shirts were thrown over jerseys and hats were fitted atop heads. Nelson Cruz's was affixed with a video camera to record the next hour of festivities.
Eventually, things moved over toward the Orioles' dugout and down into the clubhouse. Cases of beer replaced baskets meant for dirty laundry. Plastic coated the walls, lockers and televisions. It was the usual scene -- champagne erupted around the room and beers were poured on heads.
In one corner, catcher Nick Hundley congratulated Ubaldo Jimenez, who capped his frustrating season with a fantastic spot start.
In another, relief pitcher Tommy Hunter dumped a beer on Ben Barlow, whose late wife Monica was a long-time O's PR staffer before passing away from lung cancer earlier this season.
"Chris [Davis] had her picture up the whole year, Buck's got her picture up in there," Hunter said. "She's finally smiling."
And in a flash, everyone was back out on the field. Fans still wanted to celebrate and the Orioles weren't going to stop them.
Jones was smashing pies. Starting pitcher Bud Norris was celebrating with the Oriole Bird. Hunter tossed a beer into the crowd. Players were taking in the moment with their wives and girlfriends.
"I think I'm going to have a heart attack," said catcher Caleb Joseph, whose wife was out of town for a wedding. "I told her she might miss something special."
Showalter conducted one interview that was broadcasted on the Oriole Park Jumbotron. Jones was next.
As he walked down toward the dugout, a group of teammates snuck up from behind and gave the All-Star a taste of his own medicine. Jones finally had a face covered in whipped cream.
"Do we have any more pies?" one clubhouse attendant asked another. It was getting close to an hour since Baltimore clinched its first division title since 1997, and the city was far from finished celebrating.
"It feels great," Jones said. "We've got a lot of work to do, but we are going to celebrate tonight. The whole city of Baltimore."