Guest Post — May 24, 2013
Note from Dan: The former regular ‘Mike’ hasn’t graced this blog in a while with many observations. Here’s an account of taking his daughter to Opening Day in Baltimore, and the amazing time it was.
One of the few times I was able to escape from work, my wife (M) and I took my daughter (A) to Baltimore for her first Orioles game on Opening Day. At the time, A was mostly excited about the opportunity to get a ball. Despite my admonition about how rare that is, she was absolutely convinced she would get one.
As it was Opening Day, we arrived a couple of hours early so she could see the stadium. Like most kids, she gravitated towards the field as the Twins took batting practice. Within 10 minutes, one of the Orioles ground crew who was on the field tossed her a ball that Joe Mauer punched into right field, setting a high bar for future games (more on that in a minute).
After a trip to Polock Johnny’s booth for a healthy lunch, we made our way to our seats for the Open Day festivities, which were impressive. While A had trouble following some of the game, she was aware of the circumstances when Chris Davis came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th. Of course, Davis hit a grand slam to give the O’s a four run lead, and the crowd erupted. As the game ended, the team set off fireworks, and the Oriole himself (or herself) came by and gave fans, including A, a high five. At that point, in her mind, it was perfectly normal to:
1. Get a ball
2. Have player introductions, pregame fireworks, and pageantry
3. Experience game winning grand slams
4. High five a giant bird after the game
5. Witness Adam Jones deliver a post-game shaving cream pie to the face of Chris Davis during an interview
The next day, as we discussed the game, I tried to tell her how rare most of those events over a season (or a lifetime when it comes to getting a ball – I’m 43 and never had a whiff of a ball). Like a typical 12-year-old, A just rolled her eyes and announced she would get another ball that night at the game.
Like any dream-killing father, I told her I hoped she did but that she should not be disappointed if she didn’t. I’ll be damned if she didn’t get another ball after we’d been at the Yard just 10 minutes, this time tossed to her from a Twins reliever. She came home the next day with two Major League baseballs and a huge crush on Manny Machado. At least we have the crush in common.
As you can imagine, A was full of herself when we returned. It only got worse when she watched the opening game replay on TV and saw herself on the screen.
The great news is that now A and I share a love for the Orioles, even if I have zero baseball credibility left in her mind. Last week, she even mailed off a letter to Manny as part of an English assignment in school. I am eager to see if she gets a response.
It’s great to see the next generation of Orioles fans, but I hope she doesn’t have to wait 30+ years for the Birds to win a championship. Come to think of it, I was about her age when they last won the Series.