But for my Mom, anytime she was going to the game it WAS a special occasion.
I can probably remember 10 or 15 games when my Mom went to the games with us, but there were only two times when she and I went together, alone, just the two of us.
They were both in 1979 and, being the young opportunist, I absolutely milked it.
My Dad was working a Sunday shift — when you worked at the ‘Point you got like double time for working Sundays and holidays, so he was making some extra money — and my Mom and headed out to the ballpark.
She didn’t know any better, so when she asked where I wanted to sit, I said, “Let’s get box seats, Mom!”
Next thing I know, I’m sitting in the terrace box seats right behind home plate, Sect. 40. Dennis Martinez threw a five-hit shutout against the California Angels on that Sunday in May 1979. You can look it up!
The other time my Mom went with me, we wound up sitting up in Sect. 34 (another place my Dad would NEVER venture with me, but he did allow me to run up for one inning, usually early in the game and it was always fun running up the ramps and looking out and seeing Eastern High School through the fence along the wall.) It was during a very lengthy rain delay on a Saturday night later in 1979 and was the night the O’s clinched the AL East, but they backed in because the Red Sox lost that afternoon. Kinda anti-climatic! And I think my Mom smelled marijuana that night and thought it best that we sit “where Pop sits with you.”
Actually I had smelled marijuana once before — at the Colts game on Monday Night Football against my Houston Oilers the night before Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States.
But it’s not like I have a vivid memory of my childhood or anything, right?
The summer of 1979 was the greatest summer of my life.
It started on the second day of the season — Safety Day, and I was in the sixth grade at Colgate Elementary at the time — and it was the day that my favorite new Oriole Gary Roenicke was hit in the face with a Larrin LaGrow wild pitch. After that, he wore a football-style facemask the remainder of the season and that made me like him more — “Rhino,” and he looked kinda like one too!
My Pop and I went to 46 games that season, including Game 2 of the World Series, where the late game time put me to sleep out in left field (lower reserved, obstructed view — hey somebody had to sit behind the poles!) somewhere around the sixth inning.
I’m going to share this one more time, because I’ve told the story a lot over the years.
I went to 31 consecutive games that summer before the Orioles lost, which has to make me eligible for the Guinness Book of World Records. I was 31-0 going to games at Memorial Stadium that summer before I finally suffered my first loss of the season when Chicago’s Steve Trout threw a six-hit shutout in August.
It was just an uncanny, unbelievable run.
There was one night early on, in May I think, when my Dad begged me to go to a game to see the Brewers play. And despite the fact that Sixto Lezcano was there (he was my favorite player from 1976