Tales of A Baseball Geek:
My Favorite Camden Yards Story
Somewhere there is a video of a 24-year-old me screaming “He trapped it! At Oriole Park at Camden Yards!”
The ride from Willingboro, NJ to Baltimore is a little over two hours. We crossed the Delaware River on the Betsy Ross Bridge, allowing us to pass by Veterans Stadium, the then-home of the Phillies, which I made great hay out of on the tape.
Along the way to Baltimore I narrated the purpose of the trip, repeating the words “Oriole Park at Camden Yards—in Baltimore” some 30 times. As we crossed the Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge, I told the story of Tydings pitching a perfect game for the Orioles in the 1957 World Series (I’ve since gotten my facts straight on that…the only true part of that statement is that there was a World Series in 1957.)
We met Dad at his apartment and he drove us to the dazzling new home of the Orioles. I remember being surprised at the horseshoe shape of the seating bowl. After taking in Eutaw Street in awe and skipping the line for Boog’s (both of which I still do today, for some reason), we sat in our field level seats down the third base line.
the game Dad went and got hot dogs for all of us. In the effort of
handing out hot dogs to us and putting mustard on his, Dad inadvertently
left about a half-inch sized blotch of mustard on the back of the shirt
of the fellow in front of us.
The game, of course, was highly enjoyable like few Orioles games have been these days. The Orioles downed the Yankees 10-7...on the strength of a home run from Cal Ripken, a grand slam from Mike Devereaux, and a two-run double on a ball that the Yankees left fielder tried to trap...followed on the video by my high-fiving Chuck and shouting on the video, “He trapped it! At Oriole Park at Camden Yards!”
But throughout the game my father nervously awaited our mustard-stained fellow fan to discover the slowly congealing splotch of condiment on his nice new shirt. He even stood up to get something at one point, causing all of us to cringe, but no one pointed it out.
Eventually Chuck could contain himself no longer, and asked me what my favorite mustard was. I conceded that it was definitely Gulden’s. Chuck agreed, saying that “if someone tries to push that French’s on me, I say get off my back!”
We crashed at my Dad’s that night, with Mister Mustard never discovering the condimental clothing destruction on his back. Colonel, if you’re reading this, I’ll be more than happy to buy you a new shirt. Maybe even two…thanks for the laughs, man.
The next day we watched the replay of the game, with my father screaming “Get the bat off your shoulder you bum!” just before Devereaux’s grand slam. And we gave everyone at home a good laugh with a video of a mustard spot.
At Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In Baltimore.
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