The winner of the ‘Baseball Memories’ contest is here…

August 22, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

It was hard and long and tedious and I NEVER wanna judge another one of THESE again…

In the future, we’re gonna LET YOU pick the winner!

There were so many GREAT stories — of youth, of teams, of heroes, of Little League, of Cal Ripken, of dads and moms and family — everything you can imagine regarding baseball and its meaning to different people. We got the "full monty" here! We will post many of the best entries here on WNST.net in the next 24 hours.

BUT…after MUCH deliberation and debate, we finally have a winner!

Mike Loewe submitted this entry and will be heading to Miami for the Ravens-Fish game in early December, courtesy of Miller Lite, Towson Travel and WNST.net:

There I was, 13 years old, sitting in the front row of the left field stands. I was 2 seats from the foul pole with my brother and my dad.

It was as exciting a game as I had ever been to or have since for that matter. The chants, banging the seats with your hands until they felt like they would fall off, and then banging them some more. I had my plastic Oriole helmet on (you remember, the one with the black back, white front, orange bill, and that beautiful cartoon bird on the front), I had my glove, a big bag of peanuts, a huge soda, and my Oriole’s jersey with Murray on the back.

"Give that fan a contract!"

Oh, Rex, you are missed.

The place was the loudest I had ever heard, and then I heard something louder across the way in the upper deck. I trust you know where I was looking! All of a sudden, I heard a swift crack of the bat and saw a perfect white baseball coming my way.

Eddie was sending me a gift!?

Now, as I said, I had my glove, but I’m pretty sure I would dive from this rocket. Unfortunately, I never found out, because the ball sank into the corner just below me. As I leaned over the wall to get a closer look, I saw something flying out of the corner of my eye from my left.

Is that? Yep, that’s a beer barreling toward Ron Kittle and it was thrown by the guy 2 seats to my left.

Eddie cruised into second and Kittle lost it!

He was stomping, pointing, and screaming up at us like we stole his dog. Rookie of the year…please!

The game stopped, the umpires converged, the culprit tried to hide, and that’s when it happened. I looked left and saw the mounted camera below had a bright red light on and was aimed at me. At least I thought it was, what did I know?

I waved, took off my helmet and pointed at the bird on the front (the symbol of my childhood) for all the world to see, as I showed the number one sign (the real one, not the bad one).

My dad flashed me a big smile to see me so proud of ‘his’ team, realizing it was now ‘ours’. Poor, poor White Sox…you never had a chance!

To my surprise, as I strolled into Dumbarton Middle the next day, realizing that no homework gets done at the ALCS and I was gonna hear about it from at least one teacher, I apparently had achieved rock star status for the first and last time of my life.

Everyone saw me — everyone!

My friends, teachers, girls, and more importantly the girls that didn’t talk to me before wanted to now! Relatives from across the country were calling my house, asking if it really was me. (Did I mention the girls? Just making sure.)

And to think, the whole experience almost didn’t happen.

My beloved school refused to let me (and my brother) leave for our "game." They considered it fake.

Then, my hero, my dad stormed the principal’s office and the next thing I heard was mine and my brothers’ names over the intercom telling us our father was there to pick us up.

Dad needed to see batting practice.

The game was great, the series was great, the fame was great, but that has all faded. What hasn’t faded and never will, is my hero.

The team still tugs at my heart and I’ll never forget that experience, but spending it with my dad and remembering that smile is what I take and hold close.

We still talk Oriole baseball and rattle off the stats as we wait and hope and dream for it all to come back again and we have faith that it will.

I was there with him when Lowenstein was carried off and saw my dad screaming at Nolan Ryan warming up, that it wasn’t twilight.

In ’82 my dad ended our O.C. vacation early, because he HAD to see that final game vs the Brewers, so we went. Bye Earl, for now anyway.

I caught a ball from Cal and got my honorary contract from the team.

I worked the radar gun one night for HTS (Towers vs Wakefield…no speed to report to the truck).

I went to the airport with my dad in ‘83 to welcome them back…twice.

I was a Junior Oriole and rode the bus to games with my dad and my little brother.

I still have my orange bat from bat day and that 1983 team picture, and countless other memories of Baltimore Baseball.

They all pale to my dad’s smile that evening. He was proud of me and how can that ever be topped.

My dream is to take my dad when it happens again and get front row left field corner tickets. My brother too.

Maybe it’s not 33rd street, but we have that memory.

What I wouldn’t give to live it all over again at Camden Yards.

It’s a dream and right now it seems as far away as ever, but it will happen?

It has to happen.

It must!

 

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