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Parasiliti: Experience of O's vs. Nats hard to put into words

June 02, 2013
  • Bob Parasiliti
Joe Crocetta

We writers fancy ourselves to be artists.

We witness an event and then try to create a masterpiece by finding the right words to paint a picture to capture our readers’ imaginations. 

It’s kind of like having one of those color-by-number sets when you are a kid.

And because of that, there are times we come out looking as focused as Rembrandt and as abstract as Picasso. Then, other times, we come off as confused as a 3-year-old using a crayon on a wall.

Sometimes, events defy description. Sometimes, you just have to be there.

One of those times might have been Wednesday night at Camden Yards, where I attended Washington Nationals-Baltimore Orioles III.

For those who don’t know, the O’s and Nats played consecutive home-and-home two-game series last week. They split a pair in Washington before the O’s swept the Nats in Baltimore (that’s three out of four total for the O’s if you are counting).

It made this quartet of games something special. For the second straight season, both teams are playing for something meaningful.

The close proximity — the 35 miles between Baltimore and Washington — has made this a compelling rivalry. And on Wednesday, the 39,129 fans who showed up — no matter who they rooted for — rode a roller coaster of emotions. 

The opening scene was predictable. The Orioles took the home field with a sea of orange cheering from the stands. It didn’t hurt that 10,000 Chris Davis shirts were handed out before the game.

But those Nationals fans were sneaky. They dotted the stadium, almost strategically placed, to cause a bit of controversy. 

Ryan Zimmerman hit his first of three home runs in the first inning and the red-clad Nats fans sprung to their feet cheering, almost as if someone turned the crank to “Weasel” on a jack-in-a-box. 

Their cheers caused an orange-tinged backlash. The tigers were poked in their cage.

Nats fans jumped to their feet again when Roger Bernadina hit his solo homer in the fourth inning. They greeted him as he rounded the bases by swinging their arms up and down, resembling a shark’s snapping jaws. Zimmerman hit his second blast to give Washington a 3-1 lead.

Baltimore fans could only boo. The Orioles hadn’t done anything.

Yet. 

The O’s fans shot back when Davis, the team’s new folk hero, hit his first of two home runs in the bottom of the fourth. Orange came up loud and proud and turned cheers for red into gray noise for a bit.

After Zimmerman hit his third home run in the fifth, allowing Nats fans to celebrate a 6-2 lead, the Orioles suddenly had enough.

Baltimore started figuring out Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann, beginning when Nick Markakis homered in the sixth to get one of the runs back.

Orioles fans had been there before and were expecting more. Their interest began to pique.

The fuse was lit and the chant began, with a quiet rumble through the stands.

OoooOOOooooOOOOooo. OoooOOOooooOOOOooo. OoooOOOooooOOOOooo. 

The Orioles made their noise, and turned up their fans’ volume with six runs in the seventh inning to take a 9-6 lead. It started with Steve Pearce’s surprising home run and was capped with Davis’ second shot, his major league-leading 19th of the season. 

OOOOoooOOOOooooOOO. OOOOoooOOOOooooOOO. OOOOoooOOOOooooOOO.

From that point, as each of the game’s final outs was recorded, the chant grew louder. Nationals fans headed to the doors faster than a congressman going on Christmas break. 

With the 9-6 outcome completed, no words were needed. The emotions and sounds said it all.

There were short A’s — the ahhhs heard with each Zimmerman homer.

There were the E’s — the “eeeeee” sound the fans on the wrong side of rallies made as their team was getting scored upon.

And then, when it was all over, there was that chant. The anthem of a legion of fans who are coming back as the Orioles play the best ball they have played in years.

“OOOOoooOOOOooooOOO. OOOOoooOOOOooooOOO. OOOOoooOOOOooooOOO,” could be heard as the fans streamed out of the stadium at the end of the game.

It all proves there are times when any artistic writer’s search to put emotions into words is futile.

That’s because sometimes, syllables are wasted when only a few vowels will do.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reach at 301-791-7358 or at bobp@herald-mail.com.

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