Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Celebrity Night at Camden Yards

A week ago I met Matt and Angela at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for an O's game against the Marlins. Matt is from Miami and wanted to see the Marlins in person, he found some good seats at a great price online, and I haven't been to a game in a couple of years, so it was on.

I arrived before they did, so I had some time to kill. I had read that the O's had jacked up the price of game-day tickets--as an encouragement for fans to purchase tickets in advance, I guess--so I went up to one of the ticket booths to find out how much they were charging. As I approached, Rick Dempsey, a well-known former Oriole catcher who was the MVP the last time the O's were in (and won) the World Series and is now an O's broadcaster for MASN, walked right in front of me. I might have called out to him and said hi, but I'm not that kind of guy.

Giveaways are frequent promotions at ballparks, and tonight each fan received an orange Oriole t-shirt with Ty Wigginton's name on it. For a while I just hung around Eutaw Street where various shops are located, in particular Boog's Barbeque. Boog Powell was the Oriole's first baseman during their glory days in the late 60's and early 70's when playoffs appearances where the norm and the Orioles were in the World Series 4 times, winning twice. He was a big dude in a time when lifting weights was considered detrimental to baseball players. Boog was the American League MVP in 1970 and an All-Star for four straight years from 1968-1971. He was (and still is) a fan favorite during my childhood when I first began following the O's.

Hanging around waiting for Matt and Angela I noticed that Boog himself was actually there. So I took a picture with my cell phone and texted Angela "Boog's here!" After a few minutes he moved next to the entrance to his stand, and sat at a stool to sign autographs.

I'm not an autograph-seeker, but he was there, there was virtually no one in line yet, and I wasn't doing anything, so I got in line.

When it was my turn I handed him the free shirt I was given. As he signed it he said, "So it's Wigginton night tonight, huh?"

And I said, "Yeah, but I'd rather have your name on my shirt."

He looked at me with a smile, held out his hand, and we shook. It was pretty cool.

Our seats were next to the door to the press room and I was sitting on the aisle, and after a while O's field reporter Amber Theoharis came trudging up the stairs toward the press box.

I say trudging because it was in the high 90's, humid, and she looked like she had been climbing 100 steps rather than the 20 or so it actually was.

Since she was passing right next to me I again thought about saying hi, because I am that kind of guy--I mean, look at her, she's cute as a button--but she looked absolutely miserable and I didn't want to delay her getting to the air-conditioning. Truth is, she looked like she was maybe 3-months pregnant, and I make it a rule not to mess with hot, miserable pregnant women who are seeking air-conditioning. (Angela agreed that she looked pregnant but she was at that stage where you don't risk saying anything for fear of major embarrassment.)

It was a miserable game, a typical example of what has been a miserable season from the start. But it was cool seeing people you only see on T.V.

And I got a shirt that I won't want to wear.

P.S. O's have won four straight! Thank God for the Nationals!

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