Before Saturday night’s Orioles game, members of the current team sat in the dugout as the 1983 World Series championship team was honored in front of a sold-out crowd.
They watched as Eddie Murray and all his swag got the crowd riled up. They witnessed the shrieks as Cal Ripken Jr. was introduced. And, of course, they took part in the classic cheer from Rick Dempsey.
“It gives you a chance to see how much it means to the fans,” pitcher Kyle Gibson said. “It gives you a chance to see what you are working for.”
Then, with “Orioles Magic” blasting through the speakers, the past champions left the field and the 2023 squad took their place.
The 1983 team was the last one to bring a World Series to Baltimore. The current team is hoping to be the one to change that.
There are 51 games left in the regular season. But the 1983 team has seen enough from the 2023 team to know that it has what it takes. These Orioles have packed the stands again, making Baltimore a baseball destination again. They are fun and silly. And they win. A lot.
The Orioles took a step closer to their goal Saturday, beating the Mets 7-3 to move three games ahead of the Rays in the American League East.
“This is a really fun team,” the veteran Gibson said. “This team is just very different than any team I’ve been on with how many young guys are so good at this game, how many young guys who understand how to play the game the right way.”
Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Hendreson — key parts of the team reaching its goal in October — once again led the way. Rutschman hit a leadoff single, then Henderson hit a two-run home run. His 19 home runs are tied for second most by an Orioles rookie since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954. Like the 1983 team, they aren’t just good players, they are good characters. The two — along with Ryan Mountcastle and Colton Cowser — showed up to the homestand in matching velour tracksuits, just because they thought it would be fun.
The Orioles also got contributions from Anthony Santander, their top power hitter, who had a double and a home run. But they know that, to follow in the footsteps of the greats, they need the whole lineup to produce.
They did that Saturday. Cowser, who had been on base just once this month, came through with a walk in the bottom of the sixth. Then Ryan McKenna, filling in for the injured Aaron Hicks, knocked him in with a double to tack on another security run. Cowser finally did get a hit in the eighth, his first since July 24, and his first career stolen base.
“We’re passing the baton on to the next guy,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That’s really the attitude right now. We are getting some big hits. I love the way we are running the basses. I love the defense we’re playing.”
Gibson made it through seven innings for the fifth time this season, giving up just three runs and, more importantly, saving the bullpen from a long day. He struck out nine in his 100th career win.
“It’s cool,” Gibson said. “Anytime you get to a milestone it’s pretty cool. I get the chance to look back and realize it’s been a long road to get here. I told the guys after the game, ‘I think I have 98 losses so glad to get to 100 wins before 100 losses.”