Sunday, April 29, 2012

Orioles Fever: I Feel A Bit Warm...and Retro-Avian

When I was a kid, the very first MLB game that I went to was the Baltimore Orioles vs. the New York Yankees at Memorial Stadium in June 1984. It was a seminal moment of my childhood. Away from the game, and without a tv most of the time, I turned to the 1986 topps set to keep the game alive on the carpet, organizing positions, teams and stars into piles that reset with a new schema everytime I felt like thinking about baseball.

I do the exact same thing now, although I now keep a "keeper" pile, a "new" (usually already-owned cards I am revisiting) a "time to sell?" pile and a "time to sell" pile. If I were to break it down, the stacks change on a semi-regular basis. It is a cathartic activity in which I have full control over the manipulation of single packets of information (or "quanta" if you wanna get quantum physical). This makes me "happy"...searching the web for my favorite card designs and writing in this blog are the other vectors that I have adopted in order to cut down on any purchases I may want to make. (in case you didn't notice, I still really miss UD)

I know that some of us can follow, or root for, one team their whole life. I have moved far too many times to have that luxury. Let's quickly go over my timeline

1. Memorial Stadium, Baltimore 1984-88, 5 games, Lived in Phoenix, MD
Baseball fascinates me. my young mind was already skewing the way of Bill James, counting and comparing. I will never forget the characters from those years. Sheets, Wiggins, Tippy, Dempsey. I lived not far up the street from Gary Roenicke and used to play with his kids once in a while. It seemed so normal to be a bird fan. (Important note: I did not follow wins and losses yet, and with the Birds in my backyard, I didn't think much about playoffs...just missed that)

2. Yankee Stadium, NY, NY 1988-1994, 8 games, Lived in South CT and then North NJ
Dad and I had some exceptional times heading in to the bronx. I will certainly never forget walking out in the upper deck behind homeplate as my intro to the best looking stadium I have ever been to.

3. Baseball Hiatus, 1994-2002 Strike, puberty, etc.

4. The Fox Hole, Osterville, MA 2002-2003, (Fenway, Boston, MA/MASN)
  watched every single Sox game while bartending my ass off after college. (Fell easily back into baseball culture of   pure team adoration-begin reading box scores in the paper again, no money to attend game at fenway).

5.Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI 2004-2005, 21 games
After taking a job in environmental politics in Milwaukee, the culture of my father's hometown baseball was intoxicating and Miller park remains the most welcoming park I have ever attended. The young brewers became "My Team".

6. the Diamond, Richmond, VA, 2000-2008, 20+ games
Home of the Richmond Braves until 2008, and a shoddy concrete mini-beast. My mother moved to Richmond with my sisters shortly before she passed, and this became home during my last years in college. I returned after both MA and WI to live with my sisters and assist in a new life with just the three of us in our new family. I got to see them win the International League Champioinship. I attended the last opening day and the last Braves game before we literally lost them due to simple yet massive neglect on behalf of the regions governing bodies. It was too late though, MiLB had me for good. I got to see quite a few current A-Braves tear it up in RVA. The first auto card I ever pulled was an Escobar the week before he arrived in Richmond, only to dominate all categories until being called up.

7. The Diamond, Richmond, VA, 2009-present 8 games
The Connecticut Defenders get a major refit as they arrive as the Richmond Flying Squirrels just before their parent organization the SF Giants won the chamionship, and Buster hit the big time. Now I like the Giants a lot too, as I get to see some of their youngest talent before it blossoms or wilts.

7. Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD 2009-present 2 games
My father got to go to Camden Yards on a business trip the year that it opened, and raved about it until he passed in 1998. We had planned to go to a game there, and that is part of the reason it took me so long to attend a game there. I adore the Baltimore baseball culture and it is more vibrant now than ever.

It means a lot to me (an many of us) that everyone ever involved in the game of baseball has their own web of involvement and experiences that coincide on the field and in box scores and, for our purposes here at SH&H, through the unique written styles of individual signatures.


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