Family Night at Camden Yards

As we head into the All-Star break a look at the Orioles first half may require some form of pain reliever. 14 games out of first, eight games under .500 and only a game and a half up on Tampa in the fight not to finish last in the A.L. East. The overbearing weight of the journey to a 9th consecutive losing season makes it hard to breath for Orioles fans.

So we could talk about the frustrating rotation or the happy, sad, happy saga of Miguel Tejada. There are though positives over which to peruse. You have to love the play of Nick Markakis and the best move thus far for the Flanagan-Duquette era, no doubt the acquisition of Ramon Hernandez. Plenty of pop and more disruptive to base stealers than four inch high heels. I won’t call it a crime that he’s left off the A.L. All-Star roster but a grand jury could have indicted.

But after all that, I’m changing the subject. Still on board with the Birds but I want to share a Camden Yards experience. For years I’ve heard fans complain about the way they are treated at Oriole Park. That the ushers are rude, you can’t stand and cheer, that they cater to visiting fans with far greater enthusiasm than for those cheering the orange and black.

I attend about 4-5 games a season in the stands and have yet to endure any such problems but when you hear enough people complaining, there must be some credibility.

That said, I took my kids to their first Orioles game a couple of weeks ago. A major endeavor for my wife and me as we each strapped a 9 month old twin into a Baby Bjorn, lugged along an overflowing diaper bag, and made the hike into the stadium.

And then the surprising pleasantries from the stadium staff. After purchasing tickets an usher approached asking if this was the twins first game at Camden Yards. We shared that it was and he then directed us to fan services where we could receive certificates documenting the momentous occasion. The employee did so with genuine excitement for us. For those non parent readers (like TV-11 producer Chris Dachille who looked confused and maybe even a little sad for me when I shared this story because how could a stupid piece of paper mean anything), trust me, little tokens like that actually mean a lot.

Anyway, problems with the Orioles on the field aside, this made for a great family experience. Although the fact my daughter loved the game, laughing throughout, and my son cried most of the night has been a little tough to swallow. Don’t worry son, we’ll try again.

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