Point of No Return: O’s, candidates, clowns and hurricanes. Oh my!

Ubaldo Jimenez? Really?

I will be muttering the words “Ubaldo Jimenez” while wandering the streets in my bathrobe for the next five months. When the Baltimore Orioles were locked in a battle with the Toronto Blue Jays in their winner-take-all Wild Card matchup on Tuesday night, and the Blue Jays had runners on first and third with one out, Orioles manager Buck Showalter went out to the mound.

“Britton time,” most Orioles’ fans were thinking.

Yes, Zach Britton. Arguably the most dominant pitcher in the world this year, Britton posted an ERA this year of 0.54. To put that in perspective, an ERA of 1.54 for a career gets you your own wing in the Hall of Fame. An ERA of 2.54 gets you a spot in the annual All Star Game, and a contract with a lot of zeroes in it. An ERA of 0.54 is patently ridiculous.

But then Showalter made his way back to the Orioles dugout and Jimenez was left on the mound, with the Orioles’ season hanging in the balance.

To be fair, Jimenez has been pitching well the past few weeks. His previous history of metaphorically tossing gasoline on a Dumpster fire every time he pitched had softened a little bit because there was vast improvement in his game as of late.

But, still. The most important situation the Orioles had been in all season, with the best pitcher on the planet sitting in the bullpen, and Showalter stuck with Jimenez?


Toronto blasts a three-run homer, the Orioles watched their season end in an instant and Zach Britton never once worked up a sweat. There’s an old expression in the military that says one should never be taken prisoner as long as one still has ammunition. Well, Britton was the best ammunition the Orioles had, and Showalter left him on the bench in the season’s ultimate moment.

I love Showalter, and hope he remains the manager of the Orioles for the next 10 years. But... yuck. Bad call, Buck.

• Like many in the area, my remote was working double-time Tuesday night, alternating between the Orioles game and the vice presidential debate. I’m hoping to watch the entire debate on the DVR this weekend, but I did have a few quick thoughts.

For starters, I don’t see how it is so difficult for grown people to let someone talk without interrupting him or her. I don’t know if it was a strategy by Sen. Tim Kaine to try to throw Gov. Mike Pence off his game, or if he is just a pretty obnoxious gentleman, but it made it nearly impossible to comprehend what Pence was saying because Kaine just kept muscling in every few words. Pence jumped into Kaine’s comments too often for my liking, as well, and once again the American public was left trying to decode what, if any, content was actually being expressed.

Our production guru Tom Maglio made an interesting comment Wednesday morning when we were discussing the debate. He mentioned that it looked like two parents justifying the behavior of their children on national television.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, will probably be the only compliment I ever pay Tom Maglio.

• It was sad to hear that Millville was canceling its Great Pumpkin Festival last weekend, but I can’t fault them even a little bit for that decision. That was an awful lot of rain we got last week, and we certainly had our fair share of flooding throughout this community.

For those who were upset there wasn’t a rain date scheduled, it’s important to remember that vendors usually have pretty tight schedules in the fall and spring, and you can’t just expect them to be available at another time.

It was a shame to not have the event take place, but you really can’t blame organizers for their decision. It was a no-brainer.

• Speaking of weather, the fine people at The Weather Channel are getting their annual spike of ratings from people along the Eastern seaboard and through the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Matthew has been taking center stage for a while now, as the nasty storm was moving toward the Bahamas on Wednesday morning. People here were breathing a sigh of relief as it looked like the storm would be moving east before it hit our little slice of Heaven, but we all know these things can change paths in about the time it takes for Ubaldo Jimenez to ruin my winter.

• Clowns. Yeah, clowns.

Part of me believes this entire thing started off as a prank by a couple of people, and has just escalated into copycat clowns trying to jump on the “this-is-popular-right-now-so-we-better-be-included” train. Another part of me thinks it began as a publicity stunt for a clown-centered horror movie coming soon to a theater near you. I do have two thoughts:

First, my guess is that it would be unwise for someone to dress as a clown and start surprising people in the woods in Sussex County.

Second, following the movie launches of “Snakes on a Plane” and “Sharknado,” could we really be that far away from seeing Hollywood launch “Clownicane,” starring Ubaldo Jimenez and Buck Showalter?