Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Baseball Been Very Very Bad to Me

When I was a boy, my dad used to get seats a few times a season to Orioles games. The tickets were from work, The American Can Company, way back when it made cans, not Bloomin Onions. Usually the good games would get swept up by the big wigs, so we'd go to see the Blue Jays or the Angels or some other team nobody in Baltimore cared about. Man it was great. Dad would walk us down to the dugout for autographs and once the Blue Jay's left fielder even rolled a ball to my best friend Greg.

When they opened the Safeway at the Rosedale shopping center, Brooks Robinson came to sign baseballs and tussle heads. Jim Palmer came to my school. He gave a speech which, as far as I know he is still giving 24 years later. My soccer team in 3rd grade had 3 Brookses and I know 2 couples with baby Cal's. I don't think there are going to be too many baby Raphes and even fewer baby Angeloses.

Orioles Baseball has been a part of the fabric of Baltimore since 1882 and this, my fellow Baltimorons is the worst moment to be an Orioles fan since the end of the 1902 season when large market pressure forced Wee Willy Keeler's NL Orioles to move from The Land of Pleasant Living to NY NY and spawn the hated Yankees.

For the first time in my life, people don't care about the O's. It wasn't too long ago; nearly everyone in this city could name at least a few Orioles. Kids wore orange, not Yankee pinstripes. At one point this year I literally couldn't give away box seats.

It's strange to say with local ownership but the team doesn't feel part of the city. A seemingly unending series of moves have driven the team away from the average fan and, to some, it seems a lost cause.

I wanted to write something profound. I wanted to make a point about what the decline of the O's means to this town. It hurts too much to do anything but lament. I really hope Cal Ripken and Peter Angelos read this blog. Peter, sell the team to Cal. You are killing baseball in this city.
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