I have been a Baltimore Orioles fan and a baseball fan for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure why as I live more than 500 miles away from Baltimore, but there it is. As far as baseball goes, I started playing it at 4, was the first girl to play in our town’s Little League, and played high school softball 7-12 grades.
I’m on the bottom row all the way on the left. I’m a whopping 5 years old.
While other girls had posters of the latest teen heart throbs decorating their childhood bedroom, I had posters of Cal Ripken, Jr, Brady Anderson, and Mike Mussina.
We didn’t have cable when I was growing up, and even if we had, I sincerely doubt Orioles games would have been broadcast in South Carolina. Instead, I listened to the games on WBAL radio [AM station…I was still barely within reach]. When Camden Yards opened in 1992, I was ecstatic. It is [in my humble opinion] one of the best baseball stadiums in the USA.
In 1995, the streak captivated me. I was glued to the TV every time I could find an Orioles game. [which wasn’t very often, mind you] How could one person play in more than 3000 consecutive baseball games is beyond me, but Cal Ripken did it. I still remember watching the unveiling of 2131. As a youngster in the mid 1990’s, I saved up all my pennies [and I do mean pennies] in a cardboard box creatively called ‘The Baltimore Box’ and when I had enough I bought a round trip Greyhound bus ticket to Baltimore and a ticket to an Orioles game. [For better or worse, I was a sneaky child. Each parent thought that I was at the other parent’s house, and neither knew that I had essentially run away until I mentioned it once I had become an adult.] That was September 1995. I watched it on ESPN. I was in awe. After Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s record, ticket prices went down considerably. I saw the Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers 12-0. I was gone just under 24 hours. And it was awesome.
Even though for the past 15 years the Orioles have been one of the most laughable teams in the major leagues, they have still been the team I rooted for…kinda like a marriage…for richer, for poorer…and it’s been hard times, people, hard times.
Gold gloves and Cy Young’s are nice, but they are individual honours.
I mention the walk down memory lane because recently I did something just as crazy as my 14 year old self did. Thursday morning I boarded a plane at 8am, [you get very strange looks when you arrive at the airport without luggage], arrived in Baltimore in plenty of time for the opening pitch for game 1 of the American League Divisional Series. Baltimore won 12-0. I got to try out my new camera, and I was back home in just under 20 hours. No Greyhound bus needed [I did have to take the train from the airport to the stadium though]. I even did the Camden Yards stadium tour before the game.
Camden Yards has one of the coolest entrances in all of baseball.
and if I ever move to Baltimore and become rich enough, I’ll invite you to a game from my box…we can eat cracker jacks on Orioles’ tables.
I am full of hope that 2014 will be the year Baltimore brings another World Series trophy to Camden Yards. 1983 was a long time ago…I was barely alive.