With my Capitals out of the running for the Stanley Cup (Congrats Rangers on your wins... I suppose *insert disappointed grumble*), I've started to turn my attention fully to baseball. Baseball has always been a game that I mostly understood. Not to say the sport is easy, because I can tell it truly isn't. For me it was easier to understand the rules, how you scored and how you advanced. For years in my youth and still often times today I still get a bit lost in football, hockey and other sports but my understanding of these sports is leaps better than it used to be only 4 years ago. I give credit to my husband and to watching more college football, not being afraid to ask questions and taking it all in like a dry sponge. Baseball was a different story, you get a run, you get a point, simple as that. You got three outs and it's the next teams turn to try again to do the same thing. Now, please don't ask me how to tell the difference between how the umpire decides if something is a strike, a ball, or a walk because frankly I haven't got a clue.
For years I didn't realize how lucky I was. I was working at a local printing company and often times as a perk our paper sales people would bring us free tickets to local sporting events. Every once in a while our head pressmen wouldn't want the tickets and lucky me would get two free tickets to a Baltimore Orioles game! Not too shabby for an office assistant/graphic designer if I do say so myself.
I didn't know at the time how awesome the tickets were. I knew that most days you could get affordable seats wayyyyyyyyy up in the nosebleed section of the stadium. That's fine with me, I could still tell what was happening and sat in those seats many times before. The first night I was able to go with some free tickets from our sales rep I was floored. My best friend and I headed to Baltimore for the night, got our prime parking with special passes and entered the stadium. Not knowing what to expect I sort of figured we'd have to climb some steps to get to our seats. I was only half right. Instead of climbing up steps, we were walking down them. We showed an usher our tickets and he directed us to walk further down the bleachers. I kept saying to myself "No way... NO, WAY!" When we got to our seats we were approximately 12 rows from third base. It wasn't until the O's took the field that I had my full on freak out. I started punching my pals leg and making noises that could only be described as grunts of disbelief... there he was, my silver fox Cal FREAKING Ripken, Jr. After my friend finally told me "OW, YOU'RE HURTING ME!!! WHAT?!?!?" I was able to get it out... "It's Cal.. He's RIGHT THERE!!!" It took all the composure I had not to run down the rest of the steps and jump the fence and tackle him. At the time I will be honest I had a huge crush on Brady Anderson and his insane side burns (remind me again why that was hot?), but he was wayyyyy on the other side of the field. Security would get me before I got to him, and to be honest, Cal has always had my heart. He was my favorite baseball hero, and still is.
I don't remember a lot from that game, mostly the excitement, and I can't tell you if we won or lost. I was probably quite a few Miller Lites into the game, and totally preoccupied with people watching. If I could go back in time I'd kick myself into paying attention to the game. We weren't the best team back then, but I will always bleed Orange and Black for my local Maryland Baseball team.
I was able to return to these amazing seats a few more times of the course of my employment and I tried to make the most of it every time. It's one thing I miss about being home in Maryland. To this day if I see someone in an O's hat it makes me giddy and smile, especially being so far from home. My husband and I plan to take a trip home this summer and will hopefully catch a game while we are in town. And I can't wait, have you seen the O's record this year? They are still #1 in their division. I thought it was a fluke early in the season, we've been here before but we are still hanging strong and I'm so proud of the team, the franchise and I'm so happy for the community. True O's fans have waited a long time for a feeling like this and they, I mean WE deserve it.
My husband has never really followed baseball, but with the anticipation and the desire to hit up a game while we are home, he's tuned into every game on his smart phone and often gives score updates and play by plays when we can't watch the game on TV. (Being in the Atlanta Braves market you can see where this would be an issue right?). I really love that he's getting so into it, for years we sort of neglected keeping up with the O's and I've felt guilty and much like a fairweather fan and that was never my intention. I love the team and will be honest when I say it's pretty much the only Maryland team I follow and cheer for. (Sorry Ravens). Shameful for a Maryland girl born and raised but it's true.
I'm ready for my vacation, and even more ready to step foot back into what I feel is one of the most beautiful MLB stadiums around, Camden Yards. I am ready for cold beer, good times, and hopefully seats that aren't too far at the top of the stadium, but that are jusssst right for my husbands first O's game.
Did I mention he's already been shopping online for the perfect O's shirt. I really love that we've bonded and started to support the same teams. Some were his first, some where mine. It makes for a happy home.
So how any of you are loving baseball season?
NEWS JUST IN: The hubby emailed me to let me know the O's just won again, SWEET!