Cal's ejection reflects frustration of slumping Birds
by Matthew Taylor
It was too soon to panic in Charm City, but Birds fans were panicking nonetheless. The O's first place lead over the Yankees, which stood at eight games on July 4, was down to 3.5 games after the Orange and Black dropped a brutal 10-2 decision to the White Sox on July 20, 1997. It was Baltimore's 10th loss in 13 games.
O's starter Shawn Boskie, in his penultimate Major League season, gave up seven runs and 10 hits in just five innings pitched. Overall, the White Sox pounded out 19 hits against the Birds.
The O's avoided the shutout in the 9th inning when Tony Tarasco - whose name will forever be linked with Jeffrey Maier after the prior season's ALCS - hit a two-run homer off Chicago starter Jaime Navarro. Navarro went the distance and sent 47,800 fans at Camden Yards home unhappy.
Perhaps the most notable event for Birds fans was Cal Ripken's ejection for arguing balls and strikes in the bottom of the second inning. It was the third and final time during The Streak that Cal would be ejected from a game.
As good teams tend to do, the Birds followed the loss with a win streak. The team won nine of its next 10 games to extend its Division lead over the Yankees to six games by July 31. This was, after all, the Wire-to-Wire season.