Giving The Bird Back To Baltimore
Now that we [finally!] have major league baseball back in Washington, it’s time to proclaim once and for all that Baltimore is for the birds. As a young man growing up in D.C., Baltimore was strictly “second-city.” After all, Washington had NATIONAL Airport. Baltimore had Friendship Airport. Our city was named after the man who won the Revolutionary War. Their city was named after a British Lord, and according to my Fairfax County Public Schools education, they’re the ones that we beat. My first trip into Baltimore was in 1964. I remember vividly the Baltimore City clock tower. It had black block letters across its face, and as I stared through the windshield of my Father’s Buick Wildcat, the words became readable. “Bromo Seltzer.” Bromo Seltzer?? “Dad,” I began, “Why does Baltimore put ‘Bromo Seltzer’ on their city clock?” “Because,” my Dad began, with that rich, reassuring voice that all fathers had in the early ‘60s, “It is a reminder to use that medicine because living in Baltimore makes you sick.”
Now, that’s not why I disliked Baltimore. It was the Orioles. The Senators invited them to leave St. Louis and play in our back yard, and they repaid us by beating the snot out of us every time we played. The Orioles would trade for Frank Robinson and the Senators would trade for Greg Goosen [sigh]. In 1969, the Senators won 86 games and were competitive the entire year. The Orioles won twenty games more and went to the World Series. In baseball, Washington was the weak sister. When Robert Short did to Washington what he did to Minneapolis a dozen years earlier, I was destroyed [bet you didn’t know he was the owner of the Lakers who moved them to L.A. – that’s why they are the “Lakers,” because Minnesota is the “land of 10,000 lakes”]. But even this couldn’t make me an Oriole fan. For five years, I rooted for the Redskins and the Bullets, and spent my summers at Ocean City. But things changed in 1976. Her name was Sharon.
Having dated many girls, Sharon was the first “woman” I had dated. She was an avid Oriole fan, and wanted to see a game in Baltimore. Hmmmm. Hatred of the Orioles vs. a vivacious redhead [actually, the decision was closer than you’d think]. Just a few days before our country’s Bi-centennial, Sharon and I zipped down the parkway in her bight red VW convertible. I had a great time until we pulled into the Memorial stadium parking lot. I got kind of clammy. My stomach began to hurt. There before me was Memorial Stadium. It was nothing like RFK. RFK was [at this time] sleek and modern, and Memorial Stadium looked out of date, with its brick façade and 1930’s brushed aluminum lettering. I kept muttering to myself, “vivacious redhead … vivacious redhead” as we walked into the stadium.
I still don’t get it. Here, in the middle of a large urban city, the loudspeakers blared John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” after each inning. Didn’t see a single country boy in the stands. And people from Baltimore must like the sun, because there was no roof on the stadium and I boiled like a crab from their harbor. Oh, and the game stunk. Reggie Jackson hit two homeruns and Doug DeCinces made a couple of good defensive plays, but the O’s lost 14-6 to the Angels. But I couldn’t watch the game. I just couldn’t All around me were these giant Oriole bird faces with huge grins, staring right at me! They were laughing at me personally, because Baltimore had a baseball team and I didn’t. When we got home, the redhead wasn’t feeling very vivacious because her team had lost, and she asked me to leave so she could “rest.” Crap. The Orioles were even destroying my love life!
I had to get away from that stupid bird. I moved to Pocatello Idaho 15 years ago, where I don’t have to see that beaky grin laughing at my misfortune any more. Alas, the wrongs of the world have been righted with baseball again being part of my life. This time, Washington has Frank Robinson, and the Orioles have the modern day equivalents of Greg Goosen and Jim French. Just as Sir Peter feared, the Orioles will be but a postscript in Washington history. Way back there, in the deep recesses of Washington’s junkpile, next to the A, B & W Bus company, People’s Drug Stores and Glen Echo Amusement Park, will be the faint memory of the Orioles.
Thirty years from now, a young boy will dig up an old picture of his dad wearing an Oriole’s cap and, with tears in his eyes, ask “Why?” “Son,” the dad will begin, using lyrics from a song that rocked D.C. the summer of the Senators greatest year, ‘If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.’” Baltimore, we were lonely. We’re not lonely anymore. Deal with it.
Rasner Rocks For Yanks
What was it that Jim Bowden said when he lost Darrell Rasner to the Yankees through waivers last winter? Wasn't it something like, "C'mon, it wasn't like he was going to make an impact at the major league level?" Well Jimbo, it seems like some of your "minor" transactions are coming back to haunt you.
Rasner, a 6'3" righty from Carson City, Nevada, was waived February 11th by the Nationals, just a couple of weeks before the start of spring training. He was picked up and assigned to 'AAA' Columbus. He had some injuries this year, but it didn't effect his pitching. In 58 innings for the Clippers, Rasner went 4-0, 2.76. But wait. There's more.
Pitching on Sunday against the Twins, Rasner pitched 6 strong innings, allowing just 1 run on 6 hits. In two starts, he's now 1-0, 1.17.
What do you always like to say, Jim, something about "You can never have enough pitching?" Let's see, you waived Rasner, and he's starting for the Yankees. You waived Claudio Vargas, and he's starting for the Diamondbacks. You waived Byung Young Kim, and he's starting for the Rockies. You traded Tomo Ohka for a guy no longer in the major leagues, and
he's starting for the Brewers.
Jim, if I were you, I'd stay away from the waiver wire. Seems like you haven't figured it that it's supposed to help the team, not hurt it.
NATIONALS MINOR LEAGUE TEAMS
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Washington Senators / Nationals Caps
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About your humble host
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I am a 49 year old father of six. Born in Beirut Lebanon, I have lived in dozens of countries world-wide and ten states here in America. Although I was born in the Middle East, I consider Washington, D.C. my home town. I have lived in Pocatello Idaho since 1991. Although D.C. is a great place to enjoy life, Idaho is a great place to raise your children. My kids have benefited from the safe surroundings and quality education we have here.
Two of my six children were born with serious physical and mental handicaps, which has made my life anything but normal [don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have had it any other way]. Kendi died two years ago at the age of 20 due to a nurse's error during a routine medical procedure. I miss her so very much.
After 30 years in the business world, I have gone back to school to get my teaching degree. I am currently a junior at Idaho State University in Pocatello.
My wife Tracey and I have been happily married for 26 years. She is more than special; she is that which makes my life worth living. Without her, I'd be nothing.
I am a religious conservative, but I don't believe that my views are absolute or absolutely right. I come from a land where diverse opinions were silenced, so America's diversity of thought makes it a very special place for me.
I am a lucky man. My wife loves and respects me, and all of my children treat their father better than I treated mine.
I couldn't ask for any more.
My home town: Pocatello Idaho
Pocatello is a city of 50,000 nestled in Southeastern Idaho. Home of Idaho State University, Pocatello was founded as a railroad town in the late 1800's. Today, it is an inexpensive, safe, family-friendly place to live.
My Wife Tracey
Tracey & I have been married for 26 years. Her father was in the Air Force, and she spent much of her childhood years in foreign lands around the world. Tracey is a talented artist. She has won several blue ribbons for her porcelain dolls
Kira And Aaron
Kira and Aaron were married in 2003. She recieved her second degree from Idaho State University and works with special needs children. Aaron attends ISU and works at UPS.
Kendi was born with severe physical and mental handicaps. Even at the age of 20, she wore a diaper, and had to be fed by her mother or I. She spent her life in a wheelchair, but that didn't stop her from enjoying every moment she was on the earth. She died in 2003 due to a nurse's mistake during a routine medical procedure. I miss her so much
Kristen And Mark
Kristen & Mark were Married in August, 2005. Kristen will receive her 2nd degree from BYU-Idaho in December in construction management. Mark has recently returned from an LDS church mission and will begin attending college full-time next spring
Kourtney will graduate from high school next spring. She has already taken several college classes. She has wanted to be a mortician since she was 12
Katie was born with the same genetic disorder as her sister Kendi, though not as severe. Katie is able to walk, even run. She cannot talk but has learned a 100 word sign vocabulary. She loves to go for long walks [I push her in a special stroller] around the neighborhood
Korth loves all sports, but excels in baseball. He has been on post-season all star teams each year he has played. He spends a great deal of time playing with his handicapped sister so that she always has something "fun" to do
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Big Changes, Little Names
Big happenings? Nah. Just happenings. Zach Day was designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies and Capitol Punishment is reporting that the Nats have claimed him off the waiver wire. So we ended up getting Preston Wilson for nothing. That's nice. Billy Traber, he of the tight leash,
was sent down to New Orleans and replaced by Mike O'Connor.
That's all well and good, but don't look to any of these moves making a difference in the play of the team. But hey, it's something to talk about. Right?