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Why Do I Love Baseball?
I arrived home tonight in time to see my much beloved orioles rally from down 8-3 against the accursed much hated red sox to win 11-8. Bravo to the boys, but I have watched far too much to baseball to ever cry in the absence of a 7th game.While flipping channels back to my morning alarm wake up of cnbc I ran across a Maryland public tv production of the birds of 33rd.Back in the day some of you may recall that the Baltimore orioles played in memorial stadium on 33rd street in Baltimore. Long before single use stadiums it was laid out to fit the birds... and the colts(a subject we shall discuss in the fall).As they reviewed the history of that great baseball venue,the worls largest outdoor zoo as the exit sign of 83 south reminded all,that palace amidst the degredated(the bronx has NOTHING on 33rd street) ghetto of the neighborhood it was in, my very life splashed across my eyes.
The same stadium where Billy Madisons dad taking me to my very first major league game. Palmer pitched, Eddie Watts relieved and Andy Etchebarren homered to straight center and we won 2 to 1 against Cleveland. I was 9 years old,a baseball fanatic who sle[t with a transistor radio under his pillow from the age of 5 to listen to brooks,frank and boog wreak their righteous vengeance against the american league, who at the age of 6 wrote to the orioles begging them to trade for Mickey mantle for which I got back an autographed photograph of Frank Robinson I still posses.
The same stadium where I watched the pirates beat the orioles in 1979 in a painful world series. The same stadium where I watched us lose to the brewers in the LAST game of 1982 to the Brewers to lose the dam pennant by a game. The stadium where in 1983, in the one and ONLY my baseball game my father and I ever attended together a month before he died, the orioles hit 5 singles in the 9th to beat new york on Brooks Robinson night. The Stadium where I watched them win the world series after he died because I knew he would come back from the dead to kick my ass if I didn't use the tickets he bought me as his last gift to me.
The same stadium where I used to take my infant daughter, the same daughter I just left at the hospital, to damn near every game in 1984 and 85. The stadium where when she was but 4 months old we watched a nail biter with the Yankees and every time she cried I gave her another bottle. Now imagine..august...bellyful of Milk..as soon as I picked her up to go home, got them all back right down my back. No Problem right. game was over, just go home. I was 23 and broke. We were riding the bus. Only game I ever took the old 23 line home where we had plenty of room.
Martinez picking off three in the ninth against the blue jays. The look of delight on my fathers face at finally being able to take his son to a game. The look on my face when I took my daughter, and eventually my son to a game. They both went to games at the zoo on 23rd. they only remember Camden yards, a great stadium to be sure. But is not the palace, the green cathedral that was memorial Stadium.
I cried. For my father. for the smell and feel of my infant daughter in my arms at a Yankee game. For this special feeling of 12 ounces of baby vomit down my back on the bus home.Because I never leave a game anymore before the last out because my fathers best friend and and I left a game at the top of the 9th and eddie murray hit a grandslam to win the damn gameBecause the love of the game she learned all those years ago on 33rd street my daughter called FROM THE HOSPITAL to say "hey day did you see that.we beat the damn red sox." Because my 17 yr old son and I can quit fighting long enough to talk baseball, as could my father and I.In that memorial to 33rd street so much that was important was recalled.
Want to know why I love baseball? See above