Wednesday, March 28, 2012

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND

YOU BET CAMDEN YARDS WAS THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA.

Here's the last post on some of the forgotten things I recently rediscovered in my memorabilia closet:

Kind of ironic I found the Oriole Park at Camden Yards scorecard and the button because this is the 20th anniversary of the monolith that changed the way all parks would be built and how games would be "viewed.'' I wasn't at those first games; I bought the card and button at the '94 National in Atlanta. I did attend a series during the inaugural season: a late July match-up against the Rangers. 

I'd like to say I remember a lot about the actual games. I don't. And I was a serious scorecard-keeping geek. The venue, not the action, was the juice. That might be the Yards' lasting legacy for all retro-parks that were to come. When I returned to Camden Yards two years later, the novelty didn't wear off; I was still mesmerized by the park and the game a foggy memory.


I WISH I WAS THERE.
Of course, the exterior architecture and interior comfort were state of the art, the choice of beers unprecedented, the food selection out of this world, especially Boog Powell's barbecue pit beyond the right-field wall. 

My mom and wife were with me at the Saturday game and we stood in a long line to try it. It was moving slowly and I was getting a little frustrated until I noticed why: Boog himself was at the head of the line greeting fans. I couldn't believe it. My wife immediately bolted to the team store inside the warehouse to buy his barbecue book we saw the night before among the other Oriole chotchkies. She had plenty of time to get back in line. She got it autographed and I a baseball. He was as nice as I imagined he would be. I asked him which barbecue recipe from his book he'd recommend and he said try the dry rub, which he wrote on the inside cover by the inscription. We never talked baseball. Or even thought about talking baseball.


BOOG, YOU'RE THE BEST WHETHER SMOKING 
LINE DRIVES OR RIBS.
Where was I? Lost among the foodie zombies of Paula Deen World?

I do recall Nolan Ryan pitched against Mike Mussina (Ryan and the Rangers won), but I don't remember watching them pitch. Or watching Cal Ripken field or hit. That kind of bothers me. But those Boog sandwiches were awesome.


Buy me some peanuts and Crackerjacks?

Get real. It's BBQ and crabcakes.

Root, root, root for the home team?

Sure, when we're not feeding our faces or touring the park.

I don't care if we ever get back?

Oh, definitely. As long as the game doesn't end before we've had our fill. Of course, all of this comes at a price few can afford. Sometimes, I long for parks like old Memorial Stadium. Lots of history there. And soggy hot dogs. And flat tap beer. And terrible sight lines, too.

And to see a player like Boog, you had to actually watch the game. Imagine that?  


TOO BAD THE CHEF'S HAT DIDN'T HAVE THE CARTOON BIRD LOGO.
BOY, THAT'D SELL AT THE WAREHOUSE TEAM STORE.
THE DRY RUB RECIPE WAS PRETTY AWESOME.

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