"It's phenomenal; I get chills just thinking about it," left-handed reliever Brian Matusz said on Saturday. "I can't wait for tomorrow to see a packed Camden Yards. The fans have been waiting for this for a long time, and it's exciting to bring playoff baseball back to Baltimore. Personally, to be a part of it, it's an unbelievable, special feeling. I'm going to take advantage of every moment."
The ballpark's last postseason contest came on Oct. 15, 1997, when the Indians closed out their AL Championship Series triumph in Game 6. From then through 2011, the Orioles had posted 14 straight losing seasons, finishing higher than fourth in the AL East only once.
Meaningful late-season baseball returned to Camden Yards this season, as the O's went 93-69 and finished second in the division. The players noticed the fanbase responding.
"Baltimore, it's a great baseball town, and we saw that throughout the year," catcher Matt Wieters said. "As we kept winning, we saw the fans come out -- what great baseball fans we have here. Playoff baseball, it's going to be even better, so we're all excited in here."
The fact that it's the rival Yankees coming to town could add even more intensity to the next two nights, but considering his franchise's drought, center fielder Adam Jones wasn't going to be picky about the opponent.
"I don't care who we've got to go through -- it doesn't matter," Jones said. "We've put ourselves in position. If my mom was on the other team, I've got to go through her. I don't care. At this point in time, I don't care who's in another jersey. I'm like a bull. I'm just ready at this point."