Opening day is now less than a week away (and you can STILL buy a ticket or two or three…which, of course, would have been UNTHINKABLE 20, 15 or 10 years ago) and it looks like a certain someone is starting to think more about baseball than he has in the past couple of years.
Well, I really hope Nestor’s plan to go back to the ballpark is successful. And, by “successful”, I hope he gathers a lot of people, visits a lot of bars and restaurants before the game, and has fun in the stadium this year. Lord knows the team’s marketing efforts haven’t yielded a growth spurt in attendance over the last five years…maybe THIS kind of community caravan is exactly what the franchise needs.
I received a bunch of e-mails from people today asking me what I’m going to do this summer? “Drew, are YOU going back too?”…”Are you going to sit on Nasty’s lap in the upper deck and act like everything you guys have said and done to the team should be forgotten about now?”…”Yeah, Drew, I bet you’re ready to jump back on that bandwagon too, now that the team is about to be good again.” Those were three e-mails I received…the other half dozen were similar in nature.
By the way, “Greg”, since when was this team “about” to be good again? They’re on the verge of maybe having a 100 loss season in ’08. I don’t think that qualifies them as “about to be good again”. Like Ben Affleck said in Good Will Hunting: “I don’t know much, but I know that.”
Anyway, Nestor’s proclamation earlier today – followed by the e-mails I received from listeners wanting to know what I’m going to do – has MADE me at least consider that question…what AM I going to do this spring/summer/fall?
The answer is easy.
I’m going to do the same thing I did last year, and the year before that and the year before that, and so on.
I’ll go to baseball games at OPACY. In fact, as I thought about it today, I think I’ve attended a game in every season since 1968, when my mom and dad took me to Memorial Stadium for my very first game against the Detroit Tigers.
I’ve been going to baseball games since I was 5. This year will be no different. In the summer of 1980, I went to 41 of the team’s 81 home games. I remember the number, EXACTLY, because it was a goal of mine to see more than half the home games, and I did. I was a baseball NUT growing up.
So, I’m going to spend the summer of 2008 doing the same thing I did last summer. I’m going to go to home games (presumably WITHOUT a press credential, but I don’t care about that anymore…if they want to be bush-league – again – they can knock themselves out) and I’m going to watch road games on TV and I’ll listen to radio broadcasts when I’m in my car. I’m a fan of the team.
Then, every weekday morning, I’ll go on the air at WNST and speak the truth about what I see…what I observe…and what I think about the franchise.
I’ll still go to games – I’ve never stopped going – and I’ll still report on them.
If they don’t put BALTIMORE back on the road jerseys/logo in May, I’ll go apes**t again, like I did last year.
If the attendance at home games continues to hover around the 10k-12k mark (actual bodies in seats) for half of their home schedule, I’ll talk about that as well.
If their announcers on radio and TV refuse to call the team the “BALTIMORE” Orioles, I’m sure I’m going to bring that up from time to time on the air and here at WNST.net.
I will NOT be beating them up about not coming on the air with me at WNST, because I’ve suspended all of their personnel from doing so through December 31, 2008. That’s ONE thing you won’t hear me talk about this season. Hopefully, though, someone in town gets to ask them tough questions at some point between now and the end of September. There are, and will be, plenty of important questions that need to be asked – and answered – and the club has recently specialized in dodging them. Maybe this year will be different and they’ll be stand-up people. Like the Ravens.
So, I’m sure I’ll see you at the ballpark at some point this season. I was there 19 times last year, nearly 25% of the time…
In fairness of full disclosure, I will admit that I do NOT – and will NOT – buy a ticket to the game. That won’t happen. Once they club shows an appreciation to me, you, and the rest of the people in BALTIMORE who supported the team in the 60s, 70s and 80s (like my late mom and dad, and probably YOUR mom, dad, aunts, uncles, etc.), then – and only then – will I shell out money to actually see the team play and support their business venture.
The disregard for the heritage of the franchise is non-negotiable, in my mind. My mom and dad went to 25 games a year throughout the 60s and 70s. The very reason that people like Greg Bader, Monica Pence, Jay Moskowitz and, yes, even John Angelos have a job, today, in baseball in Baltimore, is because people like my parents – and me, even - kept the franchise alive in the early years by buying tickets to home games. How many games in YOUR life have you purchased tickets for? How many? Well, the current ownership group and EVERY single staff member at OPACY owes you a debt of gratitude for supporting the club in BALTIMORE. So, once I feel like the team is ready to once again embrace BALTIMORE and show everyone they understand the importance of the ticket buyer, I’ll be a ticket buyer once again.
But, I’ll get free tickets whenever I want them and I’ll go to games, like I’ve been doing for the last couple of years once I got smart and decided not to line everyone’s pockets over there when they don’t care about BALTIMORE.
I agree, there’s nothing like watching a baseball game on a summer night. It’s a mystical feeling, at times.
But, watching a baseball game at OPACY when there are 9,400 in the stadium on a Thursday night in June when the Blue Jays are in town is just not something I can ignore.
I’ll gladly promote Nestor’s game-night details and urge all of you to think long and hard about going back to the stadium (if you’ve been away) to take part in his “fun” nights.
I’ll be up there with you on occasion…and we’ll have fun. I’m quite certain at some point this summer, I’ll bring baby Ethan out for his historic first-ever baseball game. I can’t even imagine right now how special that night will be…because I’ve always dreamed of taking my son to a baseball game.
But, I’m not selling my soul for them and I’m certainly NOT going to stop reporting the truth on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
My dedication to reporting the truth has cost me a press credential (only in Baltimore, by the way, would such an event take place), but they can NEVER stop me from going to the games.
I’ll go when I want.
And, like I’ve done since 1968, I’ll be going again this year.