Sports Outside the Beltway

Thoughts about 25 years of season tickets

From the Baltimore Orioles mailing list … (reprinted with permission)

This is kind of a long ramble, but hey…its about the O’s :)

I went to this game last night….My family has had season tickets since ’82. 20+ rows back from the O’s On Deck circle. Back then we had 4. A few years into Camden Yards we increased it to 6. A few years after the tailspin began, we lowered it back to 4. 2 years ago we lowered it to 2 seats. My family is now thinking we’ll give up our seats next season. We
can’t find anyone who wants to split them anymore and at $97 a game ($45/ticket, $7 parking) to watch this crap, its just not worth it.

So I figured I’d take my nephew and go to one last game in the family seats. We rushed to make it in time for the first pitch–which Zambrano promptly used to nail the first hitter in the side.

It only got worse…and it just seemed as if he had no control other than to lay it in there. Any time he tried to actually PITCH, they took it for a ball. Only things getting over the plate were medium speed meatballs.

Finally they pulled him after it was 5-0, bases loaded 2 outs. Birkins then completed Zambrano’s night by allowing all 3 inherited runners to score.

8-0. Zambrano’s line? 2/3 inning, 8 runs. I kept repeating that in my head. 7…8…9 years ago, that would have been all the sports stations were talking about the next day. Yet today I know that if I turn on 1300 or 1570, it’ll be mostly Ravens chatter about their game in Cleveland (I’m a huge Raven’s fan, so that doesn’t bother me that much).

On the drive home (we left after the 6th inning since it was a bit sticky out and a school night and I had to get my nephew home), I called my Dad and chatted a bit. He lamented about giving up the tickets, but knew deep down the only reason he’d kept them these last couple years was for my nephew who’s a huge Orioles fan. Prior to that, we’d kept them because my mother and I were crazy Orioles fans and loved going to the games. My dad was always a tag-along and would bring the Wall Street Journal or a sailing magazine and read while my Mom and I would follow the finer points of the game.

Every Opening Day was like a holiday for my family. I would have an excuse written to get out of school to go see my dentist. What the administration didn’t realize was my Dentist was my Dad and I’d be seeing him sitting next to be at the ballgame! (side-bar, I submitted this many years ago to ESPN the Magazine for best excuse used to get out of something for opening day
and they printed it in issue #2).

Anyway, so I talked with my dad and just said “Angelos has killed my love of the Orioles. Can you believe it? A diehard fan like me and he has left me just not caring.” And its true. I used to attend or watch well over 140 games a year when I was younger. I knew the O’s TV schedule by heart and looked forward to watching each game. As the losing continued, I would watch less and less. I’d check the box scores less and less. Every Spring I would get so excited. I had to watch the first televised spring training game, even though I knew I would only see the real players for the first inning or two. Didn’t matter. It was the O’s.

And here I am now. I’m 32 years old and I feel like I’m in mourning. I sat in the old seats and it looked and felt different. I couldn’t see the Bromo-Seltzer Tower because of the monstrosity of a hotel they’re building which blocks out 1/2 the view of the outfield (not really Angelos’ fault, but still. The players are mostly mailing it in, other than Markakis. Even BRob looked a little slow and uncaring on some plays/at-bats. There were maybe 5 thousand people in the stands. There are far less employees around (nobody directing traffic in the parking lots, most concessions only had 1 cashier working).

And in that phone conversation with my Dad I realized it didn’t matter if he gave up the tickets; honestly, what exactly would I be missing? It didn’t FEEL like a fun place to come. It felt like a Shiva house (a Jewish house in mourning). I’ve gone to maybe a dozen Frederick Keys games over the last decade and I can get more enjoyment out of those games. It feels like a place people want to come! My boss has season tix to the Nationals so I’ll probably got a few of their games next year. Not that their record is much better, but they show more promise and don’t have the weight of 10 losing years hanging on them.

I’ll have positive memories of games I’ve attended in my family seats…

’83 playoffs and world series in Memorial Stadium (we had practically the
same seats/sections before the move)
Last game at Memorial
First game at Camden
Ripken’s 2131 game with my mom
Playoff runs in ’96 and ’97
Ripken’s last hit from game1 on 10/05/01

I’ll always remember last night…but for much different reasons. With all apologies to Don McLean, for me, it was the day the Orioles died.


Kevin Gandel
IT Manager
Lemek LLC dba Panera Bread

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Related Stories:
Recent Stories:

Hey, I’m a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan and reading your post you could have replaced the O’s with the Tribe and you’d have my lament. I am in total shock the Indians eliminated the Yankees last night, but as a Cleveland fan, I know it’s only a matter of time until the BoSox take it to the Indians. 1948, the second longest wait in baseball behind the Cubs. My love of the game and the Indians remains, but I have lost all interest in the present day sport. I’ll take a 1973 ESPN Classic game over one today anytime!

Posted by Squonk | October 9, 2007 | 03:06 pm | Permalink

RSS feed for these comments.

Comments are Closed


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.