On Thursday, Major League Baseball presented “Opening Day at Home” -- a full slate of 30 games broadcast nationally across various platforms including networks, digital streaming and social media, creating a full-day event on what would have been Opening Day. The experience was intended to invite fans to feel a
On Thursday, Major League Baseball presented “Opening Day at Home” -- a full slate of 30 games broadcast nationally across various platforms including networks, digital streaming and social media, creating a full-day event on what would have been Opening Day. The experience was intended to invite fans to feel a sense of community and unity on a day many were looking forward to while underscoring the importance of staying home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Using #OpeningDayAtHome, fans connected with each other while watching their team’s selected game at a set time. The Orioles were featured with Game 2 of the 2014 American League Division Series, known simply as “The Delmon Young Game.”
“Opening Day at Home” also is an opportunity for MLB to raise awareness for several worthy charities that are helping provide relief to the most vulnerable communities impacted by the pandemic. Last week, MLB and the MLBPA made a $1 million joint donation to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels, in addition to a $30 million commitment made by MLB clubs to emergency relief for ballpark employees. If so willing and able, fans can contribute toward these charities, MLB official charity Boys & Girls Clubs of America and additional causes at MLB.com/give.
• Complete Opening Day at Home coverage
Orioles fans had the chance to relive the club’s most cathartic and triumphant October moment this millennium.
“That was one of the most exciting moments on a baseball field I've ever had," catcher Caleb Joseph told MLB.com in 2018.
After becoming AL East champions for the first time in 17 years, the Orioles encountered the Tigers' three former Cy Young Award winners -- Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and David Price -- in the 2014 ALDS. They rallied late to get by Scherzer in Game 1, then returned to Camden Yards behind a crowd of 48,058 to face Verlander, who’d pitched to an uncharacteristic 4.54 ERA that season.
A Nick Markakis solo homer and a J.J. Hardy single chased Verlander after five innings, but the Tigers scored five runs against O’s starter Wei-Yin Chen.
All that did was set up Baltimore's legendary comeback. The Orioles greeted the Tigers' bullpen while down, 5-2, then they were down, 6-3, six outs away from heading back to Detroit with the series tied at 1. Detroit manager Brad Ausmus called upon Joba Chamberlain to begin the bottom of the eighth, sparking a string of events that sent Baltimore west with a commanding 2-0 series lead.
Facing Chamberlain and later former All-Star closer Joakim Soria, the Orioles changed the narrative in a span of six batters. With one out, Chamberlain hit Adam Jones with a pitch, before allowing consecutive singles to Nelson Cruz and Steve Pearce. Chamberlain was then lifted for Soria with the Tigers’ lead cut to 6-4 and the go-ahead run at the plate in Hardy. Soria walked Hardy on five pitches to bring up Ryan Flaherty with the bases loaded.
Or so the world thought. Or so traditional managing might suggest.
Not according to Buck Showalter.
Purposefully forfeiting the platoon advantage, Showalter pinch-hit the right-handed-hitting Young against the righty Soria. The AL Championship Series MVP for Detroit two years earlier, Young was 10-for-20 as a pinch-hitter in 2014 and had grown into Showalter’s most trusted late-game bat off the bench.
“It’s OK for me to say, ‘I don’t know.’ I don’t know [why or how Young had so much success in the role],” Showalter said at the time. “He keeps doing it, and we keep giving him an opportunity. That’s pretty easy.”
The rest was history. Young lined Soria’s first pitch into the left-field corner, scoring Cruz from third, Pearce from second and Hardy all the way from first, as his go-ahead three-run double lifted the O’s to a 7-6 win and sent Camden Yards into a frenzy. With the hit, Young joined the likes of Moe Drabowsky, Tito Landrum and Jeff Reboulet in franchise postseason lore.
The O’s went on to sweep the Tigers, 3-0. They haven’t won a postseason series since.
"It's still the loudest roar I think I've ever heard in real life," Joseph recalled in 2018. "And I've been to playoff football games, playoff hockey games. It was a moment you are never going to forget in terms of the energy. It felt like the stadium was moving because so many people were excited about what was going on."
This week, MLB unlocked its expansive vault and is offering fans special access to the most unforgettable moments. MLB has made the entire 2018 and '19 game archives free to all fans through MLB.TV. Fans can also access more than 200 full classic MLB games on YouTube including timeless World Series games, memorable postseason matchups, no-hitters and perfect games.
Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.