John Means of the Baltimore Orioles got to watch a dream play out last night in Kansas City. Means’ hometown is about 30 minutes from there, and he grew up a huge Kansas City Royals fan. Athletes dream of playing in their hometown against their hometown team; not only did Means get to do it, but he pitched a gem in doing so. Means’ line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K.
Means was welcomed home in a semi-inauspicious manner, as Kansas City took a 1-0 lead in the first on a solo home run by Soler. However Means had some help in this game; that help of course in the form of Oriole bats. Pedro Severino‘s RBI-single in the second tied the game at one. Kansas City never had the lead or even got close again.
Anthony Santander smacked a three-run homer in the third, and the O’s were off to the races. Severino would add another RBI-single later in the inning, and Richie Martin a sac fly-RBI. Kansas City’s other lone run came on an RBI-single by Cuthbert in the last of the fourth. Other than that, Means kept them off the board.
And for their part the Orioles couldn’t stay off the board. Hanser Alberto‘s two-RBI single in the fifth opened the game up wide. Jonathan Villar would later steal home in the seventh to give the O’s a 9-2 lead. When all was said and done and the smoke cleared, the Orioles had defeated Kansas City 14-2.
Oriole bats were huge in winning this game – that goes without saying. But you have to feel good for John Means, who was able to provide such a dominant performance in his hometown in front of his parents and other family and friends. Means on the outing (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports:
It almost felt like my debut. I had so many friends and family here. The first inning, a little butterflies, you know in my home ballpark. But it was a cool experience. I didn’t think I would ever make it here, to be honest with you. It was always my dream, but I was a realist as a kid; I’ll probably have to get another job. But it was really cool. The big crown in center field. I grew up (and) probably came to 200 games here in my lifetime. I’m definitely familiar with the park.
Means seems like he understands what a cool moment he was afforded last night. And in saying that I mean the opportunity to get to play in his hometown, albeit as a visitor. Not every athlete gets to do that. Not only was he afforded that opportunity, but he seized it and ran with it. Pitching a gem like that in what amounts to his home ballpark is probably something that neither he nor his parents will ever forget.