and respecting the opponent or the obstacle.
They are the guiding principles in my life: things that I’ve tried to use every day in everything I’ve done or ever dreamed of doing.
Baseball, in no small way, taught me all about how to live the right way. And how to survive. And how to judge situations. And how to adjust.
To this day, my best friend Tom Kapp and I talk in a language all our own. We can put virtually any life situation: family, friends, business, money or just about anything, and we can draw from or make a baseball analogy. And he and I have only been doing that together since 1985. And even though 1985 feels like last week to me, it has been 22 YEARS!
And then there are the years. For me whole YEARS of my life are punctuated by baseball – just saying the words “1979″ can stir up emotions that, at least for me, all revolve around baseball and the Orioles.
Maybe it’s a stat or a batting average or a baseball card or a stadium opening or a prom or a birthdate or a dinner or a date or a wedding or a funeral or a plane ride or a city or a picture or a party or a bar — or more important than anything in my life — a person.
Because the people you surround yourself with ARE the joy in your life. And for me, nearly every single person in my life came to me — in one way or another — through loving baseball as a little boy and shaping my destiny, and I suppose for your purposes if you’re reading this or listening to this, the radio “powerhouse empire” that 5,000 watts at AM-1570 in Towson can afford me.
But they ALL have baseball memories for me, because my life has always been marked by baseball.
Over the next few weeks you’ll get to meet some of these fabulous people, that when my life is over, will have made up the story of my life. Every time there was a bend in that road, every time there was a choice, every time there was a challenge, much of what I’ve learned in baseball or about baseball or the people I’ve met through baseball steered me in the destiny that has become my life.
We are all here today — me as the writer, you as the reader, this station as a conduit, this website as a forum, the hosts at WNST as products of it and everyone (listeners, guests and sponsors) – - everyone I’ve ever touched or who has ever touched me — because of baseball and the Orioles.
And if that sounds like a deep thought, well, I kinda think it is, too!
I kinda think that this community has recognized that “depth” on several occasions, like the day when Memorial Stadium closed its doors to the Orioles in 1991. Or when Cal Ripken ran the bases that night in September 1995. Or like me, when my father died in July 1992.
And, I’ve concluded after some very deep soul searching, that every single good thing that’s happened in my life has happened because a man taught a boy to love baseball. And when you’re from Dundalk, if you love baseball, then you love the Orioles.
But today, I’ll start with the most significant person in the story of my life: my father.
Many of you might be familiar with the annual show I’ve dedicated to my Pop on his birthday: usually, on or around, March 5. He was born in 1919, in Elmira, N.Y. (the place where Earl Weaver managed