(Originally published in Sept. 2006 as a prelude to the “Free The Birds” walkout, this is Part 4 of a 19 Chapter Series on how baseball and the Orioles created WNST.net. If you miss “The Oriole Way” and Baltimore’s love of baseball, please join us on April 5th for a civic action event.)
So, today I wanted to write and think about and talk about Memorial Stadium and 33rd Street and the wonder of baseball as a child in Baltimore.
Thirty-third street. The World’s Largest Outdoor Insane Asylum. The memories, the stories, the things we saw and experienced, the words we said and heard, and the people we shared it all with.
At the end of the day, Memorial Stadium was about people.
But, honest to God, I don’t know where to begin!
Look I don’t want to get too deep, but go ahead and show me a place where more people in this community have gone, worshipped without regard to race, color, creed, religion — and all came together in a common civic bond. There were only two colors that ever mattered on 33rd Street. Orange in the spring and summer; blue from fall through the cold of winter and that was that!
As for its significance and impact on our community, there must’ve been a reason why grown men wept in the aisles there on Oct. 6, 1991 when the Orioles walked away from 37 years of history on 33rd Street. Or literally, a MILLION different reasons to ponder, reflect and pay tribute to the good times of our lives, especially for those who experience our lives through this prism that is “sports” over the last century.
Memorial Stadium is one of those places: if you were ever there and experienced any of the “Oriole Magic” then you just know what I’m talking about. And if you weren’t, there isn’t a columnist alive or any old grainy clip or any soundtrack that could ever make it as vivid and real and clear as it is to the rest of us who felt “The Magic.”
As it turned out, that giant sign with the steely letters was indeed prophetic. Major League Baseball has been gone for 15 years now and the sign said it all:
“Time Will Not Dim The Glory Of Their Deeds!”
So, instead of getting even more poetic, I’ll just tell you a few of my favorite stories.
Hopefully, they’ll remind you of yours.
And, hopefully, these incredible memories will trigger a voice pulling you downtown