Orioles outfielder Lew Ford's mind definitely was on Game 1 of the ALDS on Sunday night. He went 2-for-4 with a double in the Yankees' 7-2 victory.
But before it began and after it was over, Ford had another game on his mind: the one in Central Islip, where the Long Island Ducks won the Atlantic League championship with a 5-4 victory over Lancaster in the deciding Game 5.
"I feel like part of those guys, too, you know?" Ford said.
Ford, 36, played for the Ducks in 2011 and again at the beginning of this season. He was batting .333 in 19 games when he signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles on May 18.
Ford, who played for the Minnesota Twins from 2003-07 before stints in Japan and Mexico, was called up to the big leagues July 29. He started Game 1 of the ALDS as the designated hitter against CC Sabathia.
Because Ford's game was delayed 2 hours, 26 minutes at the start, he got to follow the play-by-play of the first 8 1/2 innings of the Ducks' game. He later learned about the Ducks' bottom-of-the-ninth victory, but he didn't know they had won on Dan Lyons' walk-off bunt single.
"A bunt single," Ford said. "Awesome."
The Ducks, who also won the league title in 2004, lost in the final series last year. Ford assumed he would be trying to finish the job this year.
"I had a great time there," Ford said. "Made some good friends. We were trying to win a championship together and I'm just very, very happy for them, every one of those guys, to have accomplished that."
The Ducks also are rooting for Ford and the Orioles.
"Lew is a great guy and someone all of us in the Ducks organization is pulling for," Ducks general manager Michael Pfaff wrote in an email. "In fact, during [Sunday] night's celebration, the team was watching the Orioles playoff game and were rooting hard [and loudly I might add] when he stepped to the plate. Lew did a great job as a Duck and we wish he was there with us when we finished the mission. The fact that he was in the big leagues was the only acceptable excuse for him not being there!"
Ford hopes to win a championship with the Orioles; if he does, he'll get a World Series ring. He wasn't sure if 19 games entitled him to an Atlantic League championship ring from the Ducks.
"I don't know," he said. "I better get on that."
And if his season ends with a pair of rings? Hollywood might call at that point.
"That would be a dream," Ford said. "Anything's possible. To me, we've got as good a shot as anybody at this thing."