The Birds Nest

Friday Replay: Orioles Make Great First Impression

And other top news from Baltimore sports this week.

O’s make a great first impression on Opening Day.
Here’s to next Monday being as good as the last one: Opening Day at Camden Yards. More than 45,000 fans in the ballpark. Cal in the front row. The weather held up nicely all day. And, just before 7 p.m., with the stadium’s fancy new LED lights flashing and Mark Trumbo rounding the bases, the scene on the field and in the stands was pure jubilation.

The Orioles made an indelible first impression this 2017 baseball season. Trumbo (happy to have you back) smacked a game-winning home run to left field in the bottom of the 11th inning, shortly after closer Zach Britton found a measure of redemption against the Toronto Blue Jays, pitching a scoreless ninth and 10th, after not getting a chance to throw in a eerily similar situation in the O’s final, playoff-exiting game of 2016. And Manny Machado, our dear third baseman, dog-lover, and best bud of teammate Jonathan Schoop, wasted no games making a play worthy of a Gold Glove.

In the end, the lasting image of the day might have been the empty Gatorade coolers near home plate—thrown in celebration—and their icy contents melting into the dirt, as players and staff headed to the clubhouse.

The O’s beat the Jays 3-2, and they have now won their last seven Opening Day games, all under Buck Showalter. Two nights later, they beat Toronto 3-1 against a gorgeous sunset backdrop, so tonight the team welcomes the Yankees on an undefeated streak.

Michael Phelps sports a goggle tan.
Boy, he looked tan, didn’t he? Baltimore’s Olympic hero — and his sunburned red face — made the Internet rounds later on Monday night, when CBS’ broadcast of the NCAA men’s basketball championship game between North Carolina and Gonzaga showed Phelps’ sporting what some reporters with too much time on their hands deemed a “goggle tan.”

The memes took no mercy.

But don’t feel bad. This may be a case of what goes around comes around. Just 48 hours before, on April Fools’ Day, Phelps tweeted out to the Internet that he was making another Olympic comeback in 2020 in Tokyo. He’s not, for the record, he later said.

Manny sports Skittles.
If accessories make the outfit, then consider the aforementioned Machado red-carpet worthy. He’s apparently a big fan of Skittles and, inside the self-designed Air Jordans he wore on Opening Day, are insoles with pictures of the rainbow candy on them. Plus, the candies are personalized with the letters M, Y, and K, for his name, his wife, Yainee, and his dog, Kobe. Turns out Manny’s wife gives him a goody-bag of Skittles for every road trip. The shoes also boast the number “305,” in homage to the area code of Miami, where Machado played in high school. Swag on.

Adam Jones talks education.
If there’s any week to go heavy on Orioles news, it’s this one, especially when a face of the team like Adam Jones spends the day between the O’s first game and their second (a 3-1 win over Toronto on Wednesday) talking about the value of education to a group of kids from the local Boys & Girls Club.

The Orioles, Jones and his wife, Audie, the former Roland Park girls basketball star, made a $75,000 donation to the youth organization for the fourth straight year. Jones never went to college, because he pursued a major league career right out of high school in San Diego, but told the kids “education is the backbone of anything.”

Baltimore Brigade’s first season starts tonight.
It was a relatively slow news week on the Ravens front—the team welcomed free agent center Nick Mangold for a visit to the Castle (he left without signing a contract), the club traded defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan to the Eagles, and it signed wide receiver Michael Campanaro to a one-year deal. Those are humdrum developments compared what’s happening tonight: the debut of the town’s newest football team, the Arena Football League’s Brigade, as it kicks off its inaugural season in Washington, D.C. Here’s some more info about the team, which will host its first home game on May 7 at Royal Farms Arena.