The Orioles recently announced they’ve hired Carlos Tosca to manage their Gulf Coast League Orioles minor league team. That won’t mean much to many people, but it did make me smile.

Tosca is a typical baseball coach/manager who’s worked here, there and everywhere. However, I had an interesting interaction with him 21 years ago.

In late May of 1996, I was doing a freelance story about the Portland Sea Dogs.They were playing in Bowie (then, as now, the Orioles’ Class AA minor league team), and a newspaper in Portland, Maine, wanted me to cover the series.

The first night was a doubleheader. In the minor leagues, doubleheaders are seven innings, not nine, and the first game moved quickly but the second game dragged on into the 14th inning.

That made my pregnant wife rather nervous. She was due to have our daughter about a week later and felt when I talked to her at the start of the 14th that she might be going into labor shortly. I had to get out of there as fast as I could. Well, the game thankfully ended that inning, but reporters are supposed to wait 10 minutes afterwards before talking to a manager.

I was a bit jumpy and told the Portland media guy that I really needed to move quickly on this, due to my wife. Tosca was then the team’s manager and saw me standing in the hallway, smiled and waved me in after something like four minutes.

It turned out my wife wasn’t going into labor — that came about a week later, truth be told — and the Portland paper asked me to do the series when the team returned in late August. I went in to talk with Tosca after the first game.

He saw me and smiled. “How’s the baby doing,” he asked.

I was floored. “How did you remember,” I asked.

“Well, you were kind of nervous that night,” Tosca said, and his whole coaching staff burst out laughing. Then, he wished my daughter the best of luck.

I didn’t see Tosca again until a few years ago when covering a game in Washington. He was a coach with the visiting team. When we crossed paths in a locker room hallway, I told him how much I couldn’t believe that when they came back to town in 1996, he remembered what happened.

Tosca laughed and said he still remembered it and gave me a few details to prove it. He really did remember. .

Then, he smiled. “You look much calmer now,” he said.

Jeff Seidel is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.

 

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