Most of what I am going to write about down the line on WNST.net will be about football, but I wanted my first blog post to be about baseball and what some of my best memories are about the game as a kid.
WNST.net is running a great promotion called Baseball Memories. You can submit yours for a chance to win a trip to Miami to see the Ravens play the Dolphins. We invite you to send in your best memories and share in what you enjoy about baseball, even though the Orioles have struggled for the better part of a decade on the field.
Growing up in the 1970s, I was (and still am) a huge baseball fan. I was a big Colts fan then, too, but baseball takes up each and every day of the summer when you were not in school, especially when you are young.
For many kids in Baltimore during that time, a trip to Memorial Stadium was special. The grand old lady of 33rd Street was huge, especially to a kid dressed in a Oriole cap and t-shirt riding in a car with his grandfather. When you made the turn onto 33rd Street, the first sign that you were getting close was the bright glow of the light towers that came over the trees in the late afternoon.
Once you found a place to park (whether it was in a nearby neighborhood yard or at the high school parking lot) it seemed like an eternity to make the walk across 33rd Street and the famous stadium facade that proclaimed, “Time Will Not Dim the Glory of Their Deeds.”
My grandfather and I would stand in line to buy our tickets (usually in the upper deck) and would make our way into the stadium. As you walked up the long ramps, the first thing you noticed was the noise coming from the vendors in the lower deck concourse selling programs and food and the fans milling around.
Then as you go a little more up the ramps you got your first view of the field through the chain link fence that separated the ramps from the back of the lower deck. The grass under the lights seemed incredibly bright green for someone who grew up on the concrete streets and alleys around Calhoun Street. The ground crew was finishing their final work on the field as they wet down the infield and set the batters’ boxes and baselines. All of the descriptions made by Chuck Thompson and Bill O’Donnell on the radio about Memorial Stadium had come to life.
As we made our way to our seats with our Cokes and hot dogs, my grandfather and I would look out toward the sun beginning to set and finally see the white uniforms of the Orioles including my childhood baseball hero, Brooks Robinson, coming out of the third-base dugout with the painted orange words, “Go Orioles Go” on the top.
Whether the Orioles won or lost didn’t matter (although we were certainly much happier when they won). What was fun was sitting with my grandfather (and later in life, my uncle and my friends) enjoying a beautiful summer night with several thousand fans in a place that came to life when the Orioles were winning and smiling all of the way down the ramps back to the parking lot to listen to the highlights and scores from faraway places on the car radio from Chuck and Bill as we made our way back home.
Many years and games have passed for me, Memorial Stadium is part of history and unfortunately, my grandfather is no longer with us, but nothing was more special than those times with him, who passed down his love of baseball and the Orioles to me.
Don’t forget to gather your best memories and enter the contest by clicking the link on the WNST.net front page. What made baseball special to you? What game do you remember the best? Which player did you look for in the box score first in the newspaper the next morning? Write it down and pass it along to us.
BTW, thanks to Nestor and Emily, who have added me to the list of bloggers on WNST.net. It is a privilege for me to be a small part of this station and be among friends who I have spent time with on and off the air.