06 September, 2007

Fenway Park South?

Jim Hunter and Fred Manfra used to lull me to sleep during the baseball season. Almost every night I would lay in bed listening to WBAL 1090AM, the broadcast home of the Baltimore Orioles. Without headphones, I would turn the radio way down to keep from waking my mom, and the low buzz of the AM broadcast would often put me to sleep before the end of the game. I would always know it was a good finish if I woke up to the cheer of the last out.

Then I went to college and didn't get to hear many O's games. I would listen when I was home, but that really wasn't too often during the season. Occasionally the game would be on TV, but Philadelphia is a National League town so it was a very rare occasion the birds had the national spotlight.

I grew up a Baltimore Orioles fan, and I would still love to take in a game every so often at Camden Yards. I enjoy watching the Red Sox as well, and not because of '04; I just enjoy the sport of baseball. I'd watch the Royals play the Devil Rays if it was the only thing on. Despite my current residence (Providence), which is deeply mired within 'Red Sox Nation,' I still root for the Orioles and wish them the best.

I remember Cal Ripken Sr., Frank Robinson, Johnny Oates and Davey Johnson. I remember Brady Anderson, Cal Ripken Jr., Roberto Alomar, B.J. Surhoff and Eric Davis. I remember when the Orioles won the AL East in '97, the last team to do so that wasn't named the Yankees. I remember people caring about a relevant team; I guess those days are gone (for now).

This evening I watched Papelbon pitch a perfect ninth to open the most recent Sox/Birds series, and after the final strikeout, the roar from the crowd was boisterous, cheering Paps as he left the mound. The NESN cameras panned around the stadium and the stands were filled with Blue and Red, not Black and Orange. The Orioles walked off the field, outsiders in their own ballpark. I know it's kind of silly, but I haven't felt that sad in a long time.