Baltimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde caught an unusual smell while sitting in his Camden Yards office ahead of Wednesday’s game. For the past three weeks, Hyde’s been almost over. team’s infamous losing streakhad reached 19 games.
Hyde jumped up and went into the corridor that connected his office to the players’ clubhouse. There he faced 29-year-old first baseman Trey Mancini, the longest-serving Oriole.
“Do we smoke different kinds of cigarettes?” said Hyde. “What’s going on at our clubhouse?”
His players didn’t smoke or smoke anything stronger than that. They were burning sage and parading in the clubhouse, bunker, and field in hopes of changing the mojo, as Mancini said.
“It smelled a little weird,” said midfielder Cedric Mullins, the Orioles’ only All-Star this year. “But the sage stepped in.”
He certainly did, like the Orioles, worst team in baseball (39-86 going into action Thursday) finally put an end to his misfortunes. Not only did they crush three home runs Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani, winner of the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award, but they made an exciting comeback. At one point 6-2 behind, the Orioles scored five points in the eighth inning. 10-6 victories it felt so much more.
“It’s electric,” said Mullins, 26, of the scene in the clubhouse after the victory. “I know it looks like a big 2-0 today,” he added later, referring to the 20th straight loss probability, “but we persevered.”
The Orioles haven’t had much to celebrate this season, or indeed the past few years. Their most recent winning season was 2016. They’re on a 111-game losing pace and may be the first team to lose at least 108 games in three unbridled consecutive seasons since the Mets expansion in the 1960s. they are deep a complete rebuild that still feels years away from clearing a contender.
Players and coaches on the team know this, but that doesn’t make it easy to stomach 19 consecutive defeats, many of them disproportionate.
“We’re sick of hearing this and seeing it on TV,” Hyde said. “Everybody’s sick of it.”
A few days ago, Mancini said he and his teammates vowed to find something, anything, that could help shift their energies. Bearded all season, Mullins had recently shaved off. Mancini tried a variation of this tactic: He got rid of everything but his girlfriend’s mustache, which he disliked and hated.
“It was kind of a form of self-punishment but also trying to keep things a little lighter,” Mancini said. Said. “I told all the boys I’d shave it when we won.”
It was 30-year-old hunter Austin Wynns who came up with the idea of burning sage, which is used as a cleansing ritual in some cultures. So, according to Mancini, Wynns bought some online and shipped it overnight. They burned it on Wednesday afternoon.
“I thought of it like Pedro Cerrano leaving the ‘Major League’,” said pitcher Chris Ellis. superstitious sloth In the 1989 comedy movie. “It was hilarious. I was sitting in my closet reviewing the cast for the day, and I saw Trey Mancini walking past with a bunch of sage and everyone could smell him.”
Mancini said he and Wynns were “walking around the playing field and thinking of everything we could do”. He added: “We took a good 15 minutes just to walk around and make sure we took our time and got it right. And yes, it worked.”
At first, it didn’t seem like it existed. Right-fielders Anthony Santander and Mullins single-handedly defeated Ohtani on the first inning, but Baltimore’s porous pitching staff took the lead and the Orioles trailed 6-2 in the fourth quarter.
However, the Orioles were smashed by two runs at the bottom of the fourth and one at the seventh. Along the way, the Orioles have been the only team to make more than one home tour from Ohtani in one game this season.
Down 6-5 in the eighth inning, the Orioles scored five goals against the Angels. Ramon Urias walked loaded with bases to tie the score 6-6, and Kelvin Gutierrez did the same to send him to the leading run. Austin Hays did a two-lap double that put the Orioles comfortably ahead.
“I felt like post-season pressure. I’ve never had a mid-August match with a pair of teams that didn’t have that many in the end-of-season hunt,” Hyde said, his voice hoarse as he tried to find the right words. “There was tension in our bunker.”
A fair number of 15,867 people attending the meeting remained and cheered happy to see their low team’s defeat over for at least one night. “NO ONE CAN TAKE ORIOLES 20 TIMES UP!!! NO ONE!!!” A fan at Camden Yards He wrote on Twitter. (Sure, in reality, Orioles Lost a franchise record of 21 games in 1988.)
After the final game, the Orioles celebrated for the first time since August 2. In the clubhouse, Mancini kept his word and left his mustache. Hyde said loudly that the post-match locker room was full of excited and relaxed people. “It’s good to hear our guys feel good about a game they just played,” he said.
Hyde admitted that he really likes the scent when it comes to the burning plant that sets the stage for the win. “Tomorrow sage?” he added.