(Originally written and posted in Sept. 2006 as a prelude to “Free The Birds” walkout, this is Part 18 of a 19 Chapter Series on How baseball, my Pop and the Orioles created WNST.net. This chapter feels the most “dated” because my son is now 27. He was 21 at the original walkout.)
There’s really not too much to tell about my son’s relationship with baseball.
Barry and I communicate in other ways — music, philosophy, comedy, pop culture — that sorta thing.
Baseball is just not his “thing.”
But despite that he isn’t a roto geek or fantasy sports expert (nor am I, by the way) I DO have PLENTY of baseball memories with him, just not the kind my Pop and I had.
I took him to Memorial Stadium a handful of times, including his first game when he got to see Nolan Ryan pitch for the Rangers. Honestly, when a kid isn’t that interested in baseball and you ARE, it’s a tough place to be.
He didn’t care much about being there and you couldn’t sit and watch the game anyway when you had to chase him. So, for my kid, the zoo or the mall or the park (he was BIG into the teeter-totter) was a much better place to hang out when he was 4 or 5 than 33rd Street.
When he got a little older, he DID love to go to Philadelphia, though, because it was more of a “he does something he wants to do” and “I get to do something I want to do” kinda deal.
Barry and I used to bug Shonda and Curt Schilling for tickets at least once a month in the 1990’s when Curt was a Philly and Barry had gotten a little older. We’d go to The Vet, stop off at Dave and Buster’s for fun, eat Rita’s Italian Ice at the games and he’d try to run around the stadium and spend as much money as possible at the concession stands on swag and charity fundraisers. Remember, Camden Yards was PACKED every night so running around a crowded stadium just wasn’t an option.
At The Vet, Shonda would always get us the tickets in the family section right behind home plate, so you couldn’t beat the seats but he still never watched the games.
I took him to a couple of games a year at Camden Yards, especially on the nights when I didn’t expect to work the clubhouse after the game, but other than getting an autographed ball and a handshake from Brady Anderson and Cal Ripken one afternoon, he really wasn’t all that enthused about sitting through nine innings in a ballpark that was extremely full.
We haven’t had a lot of “big” baseball games in this city since OPACY opened.
Here’s his “baseball experience” in microcosm:
He was with me the night of Game 3 of the 1996 ALCS and was ready to go the game. I was broadcasting from what was then, Balls Sports Bar. He had just turned 12 at the time and he really was drinking up the “My Dad hosts a sports radio show” part of the baseball postseason thing.
Again, he was 12, ripe for the picking as a budding baseball fan if the Orioles would’ve sucked him in.
Of course, I put him to work, handing out SPANK THE YANKS signs everywhere around the bar and out in the