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Nick Markakis: Hand Injury Will Not Derail Resolute Orioles

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 08: Catcher Russell Martin #55 of the New York Yankees looks on as Nick Markakis #21 of the Baltimore Orioles scores a run during the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 8, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
James MorisetteCorrespondent IIISeptember 8, 2012

On Saturday, New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia struck Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis in the hand with a pinpoint inaccurate fastball.

This tragedy struck in the fifth inning.

Markakis seemed to know his fate immediately, shaking his hand while jogging over to Orioles athletic trainer Rich Bancells. With Buck Showalter and trainer looking intently, Markakis removed his batting glove. After a short boots on the ground look, Markakis and Bancells disappeared into the darkness of Baltimore’s first base dugout.

Wind fled the sails of 46,000 strong at Camden Yards, for the clap of Sabathia’s 93-mph fastball smacking bone sounded more like it hit wood.  

For Baltimore’s faithful, watching Markakis leave the game briefly conjured thoughts of more bad luck that has plagued this team for over a decade.

At the time, the game was 3-2 in the Orioles’ favor—but the crowd was hush hush. Losing an ironclad leader like Markakis will do that to a fan base.

Markakis has stuck with this ball club through thick and thin, never making excuses, and performing at a high level his entire career.

But for the apparent sadness in the crowd and in the O's dugout, something happened—something that has been a trademark of this increasingly special baseball club.

Baltimore’s players did not make excuses.

Nor did they buckle in the face of tragedy.

As Baltimore has done all season, when one flag-bearer dropped the flag, another man picked the flag up and kept marching with his head held high.

Enter Orioles’ shortstop JJ Hardy, who led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo homer—just beyond the outstretched glove of Ichiro Suzuki.

After Mark Reynolds flew out to left the following at-bat, Adam Jones delivered a one out double. Lew Ford singled Jones home with an opposite field single to right field to make the score 5-2 Orioles.

Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Nate McLouth—who had entered the game when Markakis left—chased Sabathia from the game by smashing a one out double over Suzuki’s head.

The Orioles’ went on to win the game 5-4, and in the process guaranteed a two-game split with the Yankees.

Markakis did come back to the dugout in the eighth inning, wearing a brace—a sad sign of a broken thumb that was confirmed by Buck Showalter during his press conference (per the Baltimore Sun).

Markakis will be out for the next six weeks.

But while obviously disappointed, Markakis still had a subtle grin on his face. Perhaps this is because, unlike season’s past, he has grown men beside him in the dugout who smile in the face of adversity.

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