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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Baseball Takes its Revenge

BALTIMORE -- Now, Robbie Alomar may wish that he had been suspended after all. Baseball has a wonderful way of squaring its books. Sometimes, the process takes years. This time, 16 days was enough. Alomar went from spitting in an umpire's face to ending up with egg on his own.

The Great Expectorator, whom many fans think should have been on an enforced holiday during the playoffs, ended the season wearing a Scarlet E. His comical fielding gaffe in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series opened the door for five unearned runs that sank his Baltimore Orioles.

Thanks to the conclusive 6-4 outcome, no Oriole can deny the Yankees their first trip to a World Series in 15 years. New York stomped Baltimore in all nine games played here at Camden Yards this season.

This final playoff game finished on all the appropriate notes. Now, Jeff Maier, the Jersey kid who did what any 12-year-old worth his glove would have done back in Game 1, is totally off the hook. The Orioles died so passively -- going into a complete clutch-hitting drought after the pivotal eighth inning of Game 3 -- that nobody would dare blame it on a bleacher boy.

Best of all, perhaps, was the way this game gave a final scene to the ugly Alomar episode. Those who wanted to see Alomar punished in baseball terms have their wish. Those who just think it time to drop this whole sticky mess and move on to any other subject have closure.

Four moments will square the compass of the Alomar Tale.

The first was in Toronto when Alomar spit in John Hirschbeck's face after an ejection.

The second came the next day, when Hirschbeck ran into the Orioles' clubhouse, screaming that he would "kill'' Alomar; Hirschbeck had learned that Alomar had made insensitive, inappropriate comments about the death of the umpire's child.

The third came eight days ago in Cleveland when Alomar had perhaps the finest game of his career. His down-to-the-last-strike hit tied the score in the ninth and his homer in the 11th won it as Baltimore eliminated the defending league champion Indians in the division series.

That seemed far too fine a finish for such a deed. Alomar's no devil. But a hero who led his team to the World Series? Perhaps that's simply not allowed.

Our final moment came in the third inning when Yankee Bernie Williams smacked a routine double-play ground ball to Alomar. The inning should have ended with New York ahead 1-0. Instead, the ball did not bounce. Or Alomar did not bend enough. Or, perhaps, the cumulative effect of millions of boos, barbs and voodoo needles in No. 12 dolls took their toll, as the ball scooted through Alomar's wickets.

Before the inning ended, the Yankees had scored five more runs -- all unearned, courtesy of Alomar's muff.

Many good teams brag that their home field is "Our House.'' Baltimore should call Oriole Park "The Guest House.'' This cozy ballpark and congenial crowd make visitors feel like vacationers. Why not put mints in the on-deck circle?