will be closely emulated on Sept. 21 downtown for The Rally to FREE THE BIRDS!
I worked my butt off over the four days that the “event” was staged in Baltimore. I stayed downtown and just walked everywhere from 6 in the morning until after midnight every day.
My Pop died almost a year to the day earlier, and I can’t tell you how many times I thought of him that week and how cool he would have thought it was that I had a press pass to any All-Star Game, let alone the one in our town. Especially after all of those years we watched on TV religiously and stayed glued to the set until the last out. The Pete Rose incident (I don’t remember seeing it live, but my Pop LOVED Ray Fosse and always talked about it.). The Dave Parker throw to the plate. Steve Stone’s Dodger Stadium clinic. The Atlee Hammaker-Fred Lynn, Comiskey Park salami.
The best was part when we found his old 1958 All-Star Game ticket stub one day cleaning out his dresser drawer. I still have it to this day!
And now, I could put it next to my ticket stub from Sect. 388 that night. Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles, who was a great guy, hooked me up with a pair of his tickets.
I didn’t need a ticket with the press pass, but I wanted to sit with my buds.
And then there was the press pass, my first “big event” press pass (unless you count the Preakness) and I had been in the media for almost 10 years then!
I chatted with Barry Bonds and Michael Jordan in the NL clubhouse. I met Tony Gwynn for the first time. I met Jeff Montgomery, the Kansas City closer, that day and we became lunch partners and business confidents every time the Royals came to town until he retired.
I was on the field at the on-deck circle (illegally of course!) for the Home Run Derby when Griffey flipped his hat backward and he and Juan Gonzalez muscled balls toward the beltway.
I took my son Barry to the Fan Fest. He was almost 9 years old that summer. We played games, bought stuff and ran around the Baltimore Convention Center. They had a simulated video batting cage and he got to hit off of “Mike Mussina.” He smacked a liner up the middle. That night, I told Mussina my kid got a hit off of him.
He said: “What was I throwing, like 60 (mph)?”
On the day of the Workout, there was a celebrity home run contest in the morning that included Bill Murray, Patrick Ewing and this basketball player named Michael Jordan. It was that day that Jordan fell again for HIS first love, BASEBALL, and decided to go on the Birmingham Barons trail.
Late Orioles team photographer Jerry Wachter took a picture of me with Bill Murray — I must’ve seen the movie, Stripes at least 500 times as a kid, not to mention Caddyshack — a picture that I STILL never received before his death last year. It was a source of great amusement for both us for the rest of his life. I’d always ask for it, but I’ve still never even seen it!
Murray and his son were a constant at Camden Yards in 1992 and 1993 because he was close pals with Rick Sutcliffe, whom he befriended when Sut was a Cubbie in the mid-1980′s. He actually knew me by first name and would come over and pick on me, in his fun way. I’d recite Stripes’ lines to him and he’d always add fun little twists on the prose, telling me not to steal his lines.
He was a great guy!
But I STILL never got that picture!
Jerry, who died last year, like a lot of people in this business, had a son who was also a prodigy like my pal Kenny Albert.
Scott Wachter, who I met at Camden Yards in 1993, was also my age and loved sports. His sports photography, which was featured everywhere from Sports Illustrated to USA Baseball Weekly, was really magnificent and he was Cal Ripken’s personal photographer for several years leading up to The Streak in 1995.
Scott Wachter has lived out West for more than a decade now, mostly in the Phoenix