It’s that time of the year again . . . baseball season!! The family and I were fortunate enough to get opening day tickets for the start of the Baltimore Oriole’s season this year. The only problem? We would be on a plane headed home from Disney during the game. Drats. So, we decided to do the next best thing . . . get tickets for the next night’s game. Which is where we found ourselves one brisk spring evening in April.
Baseball in Baltimore has a long legacy. The Orioles have been really good for some of those years, and just plain awful for many more. And in fact, excepting last year’s playoff run, the birds have stunk up the joint for about 2 decades past. Luckily, Balmorons have a short memory, and it seems that every spring, no matter how bad they have been or for how long, there is still a feeling of hope. An optomistic thought of, “maybe this will be our year.” And with the playoff run at the end of last year, the citizens of this fine city may just have a reason to hope this year. Fingers crossed.
So, it was with this resurgence of hope and optimism that we entered the stadium, with a couple of thousand other hopeful fans. It was our first game of the year, and the entire family was in attendance, including even some extended family who had seats in another part of the park. We were all very excited. My husband had ordered our seats specifically so we could be close to the field, hoping that there might just be a small chance that my oldest son, 7 years old and in love with all things baseball, might just get lucky enough to get a foul ball. Our seats were front row on the left field side of the outfield. Pretty nice, really.
We arrived at the stadium about an hour before the game, intending to get there early enough to relax, have some food, and settle in. Instead of our usual m.o. of running late, rushing around, and showing up mid-way through the 1st inning. This was a far better way of dealing with this kind of event, especially with young kids.
While we were settling into our seats, we saw the Oriole Bird come onto the field a little ways from where we were sitting. My hubs took my youngest over to see what was happening on the field. That is when we realized that they were grabbing kids from the stands to come out and “play baseball” with the bird. Once we realized this, we asked our kids if they wanted to go over to be picked. My youngest was all for it. My oldest . . . you know, Mr. I Love Baseball . . . wanted no part of it. No thanks, not interested. I’ll just watch. (Oh man, he is so my son).
But my 4 year old leapt out there onto the field when it was his turn. And he hit the ball(s) thrown to him, and got to run around the “bases” set up out on the outfield there. He thought it was pretty awesome.
But then, as my older son is just standing there watching, not even right in front of where this was occurring, but probably about 2 sections over from where all the commotion was happening, one of the “handlers” comes running over to him. He points up to him and says, “hey, do you want to come down?” And my son is like, “sure.” Wait, what? Oh, and did I mention that at this point there is a line of children waiting to go down on the field in the area they had been picking kids from? Yeah, I have no idea what prompted this guy to run over and grab my son, but I was just glad that he agreed to do it. Because he had so much fun.
What was even cooler was that the Bird kept doing this thing where he would pick up 2nd base as the kids were running towards it and play keep away with it. With my son, he picked it up, played keep away, and then tossed it over his shoulder, so that it landed about mid-center field. My son, who is a very, “huh, ok then,” type of kid, just altered his course and took off running to the newly distributed second base . . . all the way out in the outfield of Camden Yards. So, basically, he got to traipse all around the field because of the Bird’s nonsense. Pretty sweet for that huge baseball fan.
So, once my kids were done playing with the Bird and making their imprints all over the field, it was time for the game to start. A couple of innings in, I started to get very thirsty, so I figured I would stretch my legs a bit and go get a beverage. As I was walking around the outermost ring of the stadium, where all the food and beverage kiosks are, I chose one that basically had the shortest line. As I got up to the girl serving the beers and ordered 2 (1 for the hubs, I wasn’t that thirsty), the girl said something that endeared her to me for all time: “May I see your ID?” Yep, that’s right, people. I got carded! I did notice a sign posted that said they carded everyone under the age of 30, but still, that would make me look 29. I will totally take it!
After I got back to my seat, and then everyone played a few rounds of “take a child to the bathroom to empty his bladder,” it was time to settle in to watch some baseball. It was getting dark, and subsequently, the temps were dropping. Everyone was pulling out their winter accessories . . . hats, gloves, earmuffs, etc. It was really quite chilly. And we had just returned from 80* Florida weather the day before, so it was pretty jarring.
Accordingly, when a player from the Minnesota Twins hit a foul ball straight to our section, landing in the outstretched winter gloved hand of the man sitting 3 seats to my right, instead of actually catching the ball, it bounced of his highly padded paw and dropped back onto the field. And subsequently, the outfielder, Nate McLouth, jogged over to pick it up, then looked up at the outstretched baseball gloved hand of my 7 year old, and tossed it right up to him. That’s right, he got that foul ball, after all! Good planning with those seats, hubs!
All in all a pretty stellar night at the Yard. Kids got to run around on the field, foul ball straight from a player’s hand, and I was indirectly told that I look 29. Yep, a good night all around, I’d say.
If you haven’t already, make sure you visit my last post, and enter to win the raddest mug ever! All you have to do is tell me about your Happiest Place on Earth. And really, can’t we all use a little happy right about now? Go on . . .