After bizarre clinching, Orioles aren't letting up: "We want the division"
Considering the Orioles unpredictable run, the way they found out about clinching their first playoff berth in 15 years Sunday night had to be a little fitting.
After winning their afternoon home game against the Red Sox - and needing just an Angels loss later that night to seal a postseason bid - Orioles manager Buck Showalter said they often checked their cell phones on a team charter plane to Clearwater/St. Petersburg. Anaheim did lose the second game of the double-header to Texas, but there was no wild mile-high celebration, as Baltimore's plane had to take a precautionary emergency landing in Jacksonville because of smoke coming from the oven onboard.
Though Twitter and internet reports caused an alarm saying the plane "caught fire," Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones said it was overblown. Showalter said the short delay actually give them a chance to catch the end of the Eagles-Giants football game.
"I didn't see a fire, I didn't smell a fire," Jones said. "Who's cooking? There's no kitchen on the plane, is there? Just some little bunsen burners?
"We're fine. We're here, alive and well."
And not done yet. Their celebration for the long-awaited playoff berth - after 14 consecutive losing seasons - was subdued, consisting of handshakes, as well as a short team meeting - a toast - after arriving at the Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg.
But while there were commemorative playoff hats hanging from their lockers in the visitor's clubhouse at Tropicana Field, only a few put them on, with Baltimore setting it's eyes on the American League East title. Currently tied with the Yankees, the Orioles are taking each of the next three games against the Rays seriously.
"It's still must win the rest of the way," Jones said. "We want the division."
-- JOE SMITH