The Happiest Place on Earth

Without question, that place was the Orioles clubhouse following their 5-1 Wild Card victory in Texas. I have never seen a group of people that full of joy. Nick Markakis smiled for minutes at a time. Remember, Markakis is the surly star who wears a shirt pre-game that reads: Do I look like a *$&^$*@ people person?

Buck Showalter smiled too. The serious taskmaster let down his guard, never tried to fix his hair after a six champagne bottle dousing, and relished the victory.

Meanwhile, Joe Saunders beamed at knowing he made so many second guessers apologize. I told him that during the 6th inning, Twitter had blown up with the likes of, ‘Wow, was I wrong about Saunders.” He replied, “I appreciate that. I know my record sucked in this ballpark…. but I’ve had some success here too. I’m just glad to bring playoff baseball back to Baltimore.”

Miguel Gonzalez, with whom for some delightful reason has started to share a bond, came up and hugged me, then told me this was the best day of his life.

Adam Jones and Tommy Hunter shared the award for most exuberant. Their collective efforts to ensure nobody left that clubhouse without wrinkled digits will never be forgotten.

And there was Brian Roberts too. He who suffered through so much bad baseball, only to now miss out on the good times took part. He earned it through years of wallowing as the face of a downtrodden franchise.

But I think the biggest moment may have been when the players surrounded Dan Duqette, screaming and singing, as they bathed him in booze. He gave so many a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd chance to stick in the bigs and they showed their appreciation to the point I’m not sure he could breathe.

As someone who grew up watching the Orioles glory years, then watching them waste away, to be thrust into the middle of the best franchise moment since 1983 was an honor and privilege that continues to give me goose bumps. I apologize the pictures aren’t the clearest, but even through the blurs, I believe the true measure of the moment is shared.

Can’t wait to see what might happen next.

Watch Pete’s videos from the clubhouse on wbaltv.com

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