I have been a baseball fan for a long time but last Thursday I did something that I hadn’t done in three decades of fandom and also did a few things that I had never done before.
As mentioned before the first Major League Baseball game I ever attended was a Baltimore Orioles home game at Memorial Stadium in 1983.
Since then I have seen numerous Orioles Spring Training games over the years in ballparks all across Florida. But for 30 years I had not seen the Orioles play in a game that counted in the regular season standings. I had also never seen them play in a regular season game outside of Charm City.
When this year’s MLB schedule was released and I saw that the Orioles were coming to Houston to play the Astros, it was a no brainer that I would circle one of those games on my must watch list for the season.
That lucky three decade drought ending game was Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park. Of course, I did not just end the 30 year drought with one game in one city.
No, no. I went one step further in true go big or go home fashion and saw the Orioles in St. Petersburg, FL as well when they wrapped up a series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
So in the course of four days I ended a 30-year drought with not one, but two, games in two different cities in two different states.
So let us compare and contrast the two ballpark experiences starting first with the Orioles and their visit to Minute Maid Park.
Selecting a day game to see the Orioles was an easy choice to make as I try to attend one day game a season. Thursday was this year’s selection for that honor.
I enjoy day games for multiple reasons, but two in particular rise above the others. The first reason of course is that it just seems down right fun to be sitting at a ballpark watching a game while the majority of the world is working.
The second thing that makes day games so much fun is that they have smaller crowds on average (see reason one as a probable cause) which tends to mean better odds to catch a ball during batting practice.
For the past three years I have caught a ball at all of the day games I have attended. So it was that experience that had me feeling fairly confident that my luck would continue this year when I went to see the Orioles visit the Astros.
I arrived at the gate shortly after it opened and made it to my seat in front of the short right field porch. Sadly when I surveyed the field I noticed that batting practice was not going on.
At first I thought that it was just starting later than usual but then I realized that none of the tell tale signs of batting practice were on the field. I would not get to continue my streak of catching batting practice balls. I know I can always add another day game later in the season but I thought that it would have been nice to catch a ball from one of the Orioles.
The game itself was nice once the disappointment of no batting practice subsided. The Orioles ended up with the victory and although I did not go home with a ball I could be consoled by the fact that I saw a victory by the first team I ever rooted for.
My Orioles karma continued Sunday at Tropicana Field, as did my string of missing out on batting practice.
As was the case earlier in the week the Orioles were victorious although the Rays definitely went down swinging.
In both instances I was conflicted somewhat regarding who to root for since all three teams are in my stable of teams that I follow.
But in most case during head to head match ups I will tend to pull for the Orioles. So in that sense I saw two Orioles victories in four days and was happy.
Tropicana Field is also home to a Ted Williams museum which is a must stop for any visitor to the ballpark. Admission to the museum is included as part of admission to the game and allows fans to see various artifacts from both Ted Williams as well as artifacts from the earliest Rays season.
Now if you’ll excuse me I need to think of some other long droughts to end while I am one such a roll.
Copyright 2013 R. Anderson