Free The Birds…See The Birds…just go!

September 19, 2007 | Drew Forrester

In a manner perhaps similar to the Orioles and their much-too-often case of “scoring block”, I’ve had a couple of days of “writer’s block.”  It’s not that I don’t want to write something here, because I do.

But, in all fairness, what’s pertinent and topical this week?  Donovan McNabb?  No thanks.  I talked about it this morning and feel like I covered everything I could cover on my end.  Donovan has been the focal point of several media-generated “blow-ups” over the years and, frankly, on occasion he’s had a valid point.  This time, he’s dead wrong.  Not much else to say, or write.  He’s wrong.  Moving on…

Nothing noteworthy coming out of Owings Mills quite yet.  Most fans are off the ledge after Sunday’s scare vs. the Jets and Billick hasn’t called for a pass on a 3rd and inches this week, so the rabid anti-Billick legion doesn’t have anything to sink their teeth into on that issue.

The Orioles?  Hell, what else can be said or written?  12-0 losers again last night.  Half the team has stopped playing hard because the other half of the club has quit.  Roberts wants out, Tejada wants out, and no one wants in.  No one that matters wants in, I should say.

Monday night is Free The Birds2 at Camden Yards.  I’m going.  I’m going because it’s the last “live” baseball game I’m going to see in 2007.  I was going BEFORE Nestor unveiled plans for FTB2.  This was going to be my night to go, relax, sit in any seat I want, try and count how many people are REALLY there (my official guess for Monday – butts in seats:  4,209) and, perhaps, stay for the entire 9 innings, which I almost never do when I go to a game and sit in the press box.  Edit:  Greg Bader, you should know – and I hope you’ve been keeping an accurate count – that I worked 17 home games this season.  That’s basically 20% of the home schedule.  I doubt that gets me a season media credential next year, but I don’t care.  I proved you wrong this year.  And that’s WITH a baby arriving the first week of August.  Feel free to text me an apology.  Or is your cell phone still inoperable?  You haven’t returned a call/text since May.  I assume it’s still out of service.

So, keeping in mind I get up every day at 4:30 am (and once earlier in the night for Ethan’s feeding and a rundown of the west coast baseball scores…he likes to know what’s going on in the pennant races), I might stay for all 9 innings on Monday and I might not.  I might leave once the O’s fall behind 6-0.  I might leave once they make their first error of the game.

I don’t know what I’m doing Monday night, but I’m going.

I’m not going in protest.

I’m going to show my respects.

I’m going because about six players on the team have actually cared enough this year to put out a reasonably professional effort night in and night out.

I’m really hoping those six guys are GONE next year, because they don’t deserve to suffer with this losing anymore.

I’m going on Monday because it’s Fall.  And crisp air is the PERFECT weather for baseball, with all due respect to 97 and sunny with no breeze.  Baseball – the kind that matters – was meant to be played in September and October.

Every single one of you reading this hasn’t been to a September baseball game in Baltimore that mattered since 1997.


Yes, it’s been a long time.

So Monday night I’ll play make believe and close my eyes and pretend there are 42,000 there instead of 4,200.

I’ll close my eyes and pretend that Nick Markakis’ 3-run homer in the 8th inning gives the O’s a 5-3 lead and puts them three outs away from clinching the division title.

I’ll close my eyes and see the Royals out there with “KANSAS CITY” proudly emblazoned on their away jerseys.

Check that – the Royals ARE proud of KANSAS CITY.  That’s not a dream.  They really do have that on their away jerseys.

I’ll sit back, breathe in the fresh, Fall air, and start trying to figure out who I’m going to call for playoff tickets once the O’s clinch the division.

Monday night will be a night for dreaming.

It wasn’t so long ago that I didn’t have to dream about all of that stuff I wrote about above.

The Orioles made it all a reality.

These days, the reality they’ve made for us isn’t a dream.  It’s a nightmare.

They were supposed to fix it this year.  Come to think of it, they were supposed to fix it LAST year.  And the year before that.  And I’m thinking back in ’04 they promised us all it would get better.

I’m going out on Monday night to remind them – in my own, personal way – that I know that they know that I know that they know they promised us all it would get better – and that it hasn’t gotten any better.  In fact, it’s worse now than ever before.

I know it.

I’m going out there on Monday just to say that.  “Here I am…me and 4,200 other lunatics…watching a game that doesn’t matter again…just wanted you to know I’m not letting you guys off the hook.  Fix this franchise.  Thank you.”