The O’s are doing me a favor tonight.

April 11, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

Even though I’d MUCH rather be at the ballpark tonight, I gotta admit I’m enjoying watching the game on TV and getting involved in the blogosphere…I think I might be good at this kinda thing.

I sit around a LOT of nights thinking about the Orioles, if you can believe that.

I’ve been kinda melancholy about the whole thing…the loss of joy for baseball…memories of my Pop and my childhood…

I ran into one of my best friends from elementary school walking into OPACY as I was on the street handing out FREE THE BIRDS signs before the game. We have a breakfast date tomorrow — we still get together every couple of months for an omelette and a cup of coffee…

But here we are, just about 30 years gone from our childhoods in Colgate, and we still run into each other randomly in the center of downtown outside of the stadium on Opening Day. And I never run into him anywhere outside of this diner we hang out in on Eastern Ave. Baseball’s beautiful like that for friendship and bringing people together.

I went to a cocktail party earlier tonight, and I was cornered by some of my really cool older neighbors — it was a neighborhood association mixer. Three dudes at my table — I’m the youngest by 20 years minimum — and you know what the topic was: BASEBALL!

They’re both season ticket holders and wanted me to go to a ballgame with them this year. And I decided right after Sept. 21 that baseball is too important to me to not go. I crave it.

So, my neighbors have promised that they are going to give me their extra tickets and I’ll be at the ballpark a bunch this summer. I won’t spend any money at all on principle, and I want to thank John Angelos for allowing me to bring food and drink into the park — that’s gonna make things a LOT easier on my diabetic wife (although she’s always stowing Clif Bars somewhere)…

So I’ll be at the ballpark anytime I can scrounge (is that word?) tickets off my friends, clients, etc.
If anybody wants to take me to the game, I’ll do with them, talk baseball, hear their stories, write about them…
THAT WOULD BE FUN!!!

So, anyway, my one neighbor is a great guy — local businessman. HUGE baseball dork, just like me. Went to Fantasy Camp in ’89 had a blast…got in shape the next year, dropping 20 lbs. (“They all kidded me that I must’ve had the baby,” he joked) and proceded to break his ankle sliding into second base on Day 2 in ’90…went back in 91, had hip replacement and that was that. “Doc told me it was time to give it up,” he laughed.

“How old were you in 1989?” I asked.

 ”Forty-four then!” he groaned. “Those were the greatest weeks of fun I ever had. Moe Drabowsky on the bench. Playing with my heroes! Man, that was the BEST!”

THESE ARE THE MEMORIES BASEBALL CREATES….

I know every decent story that happened before my 30th birthday had a baseball bent to it…Literally ANYTHING that happened during those six months of summer revolved around the Orioles. If we were at the beach, we watched the games. If were out somewhere, we rushed home to watch the ballgame. If it was still not dusk when the game started, we’d stop playing ball to come in and watch Brooks and Chuck or Chuck and Bill or listen to Jon Miller once I got a little older.

Baseball is really great…it brings people together and that’s the really important thing.

So, tonight I want to blog about a few things (other than this new food “take-in” policy at Oriole Park, the first TRULY fan-friendly thing I’ve ever heard them doing…I can’t believe Peter even KNOWS about it yet!) that are good.

Tonight I’m feeling particularly upbeat about watching games on TV. I’m sitting in the relative warmth of my home — again, my thanks to John Angelos for banning me from the press box tonight — watching one of the most entertaining marriages I’ve seen since Ricky and Lucy.

The pairing of Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer is nothing short of brilliant. I’m watching a 0-0 game in the 6th, the sacks are loaded as I write this with nobody out…and Palmer and Thorne are again engaged in some siginificant, high-brow conversation about baseball, showing that THEY love baseball as much as I do.

I’m also wondering — as a hockey zealot — what the hell Thorne is doing here tonight?

The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are starting tonight and GARY THORNE IS IN AN EMPTY, FREEZING BALLPARK IN BALTIMORE CALLING ORIOLES GAMES!!

(Whoops…boo boo by Roberts…Williamson had ‘em bailed out…but WHEW! TWO RUNS!!!) 2-nil Tigers…

I digress…The NHL REALLY sucks, allowing the greatest hockey announcer on the history of the planet to be calling Orioles games over the next six weeks. April ALWAYS means Gary Thorne in my life.

Gary Thorne — for the zillions of you who don’t like hockey — is Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods all rolled into one in his chosen field: hockey excitement brilliance!

I’m happy he’s here (shameless MASN plug)…and if I gotta watch a team that’s probably gonna stink or at best be a .500 team that really never gets involved in the race, then I’d rather do it with Gary Thorne. Maybe MASN, in its many shameless plugs, will actually tell the public which games he’s doing.

I’d honestly MUCH rather sit at home and watch him call a game then be in that morbid stadium. Unless the weather is good. Then, all bets are off…but I would literally schedule my Oriole Park visits around Jim and Gary. If they’re calling the game, I should stay home!

I’m not anti-Buck, but the color guy HAS to have local flavor…he MUST! Palmer does. Bro Lo did. Brooksie did.
Buck doesn’t. Too ESPN-ish for me.

(If I start thinking about why Lowenstein isn’t here, I’ll go postal again…so I’ll leave on an “up” note. Maybe if I kiss their ass here a lot in cyberspace they’ll “give me” my press pass back.

OK…so I’m rambling and getting petty! LOL…

HEY…IT’S BIG NEWS….I found something GOOD about MASN (who lost their signal in the 5th inning).

HELL YEAH for Gary Thorne!!

And I’ve always been a Jim Palmer guy…I remember one night at the Harbor Castle Westin Toronto having drinks with him and Fred Manfra in the lobby and hearing him regale me with stories for an hour.

I’m a Jim Palmer guy…

I’m a Gary Thorne guy (even though I’d rather watch him do hockey and have Jon Miller and John Lowenstein calling the game tonight)…

But, hey, I’m TRYING to be upbeat and positive and cheery…

cheers,
nestor

p.s. For ANYONE who ever wonders…this is the first “blog” I’ve ever really done in my life. I’ve NEVER signed up or posted on any message board in my life, really. So if someone was ever on one of the other sites posting as “nasty”, it WASN’T me.

First, I don’t sign my name “nasty” anymore…I’m 38, I’m old, I’m washed up…I’m unimportant, insignificant, “retired”…whatever…

But I just wanna say this for the record because people come up to me on the street and say the strangest things about the poseurs in chat rooms who pretend to be me and what they attempt to write or recreate. The web is strange like that. Anonymous cowards. Phonies. Fakes. I hate that and I won’t allow this website to degenerate into hatred or meanspiritedness.

This site will be about sports and community and Baltimore and cool people…

And by the way, why would I post on some board defending myself when I have a radio station and a website to do that?

I’ll post here…For those of you who dig reading it or responding to it, I think that’s cool…

This is gonna be fun…I think…I hope…

LOL…

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