Generational Magic

It’s 11:30 am Sunday morning as I pull my Explorer into parking lot B at Camden Yards for the rubber game of a 3 game set against the Mariners. It feels normal to me as I’ve done it 100 times in the past few years, but for my father who is attending the game with me, not so much.  My father hasn’t been to Camden Yards since 1995.

We arrive in the parking lot 2 hours before first pitch not because of excitement or anticipation but rather to get accessible parking as my father is disabled. In the past few years Father Time and diabetes has gotten the best of him. Although he doesn’t walk so well anymore, he’s too stubborn to go the route of a wheelchair, although I believe it would benefit him greatly.

We sit in the car for an hour while he chain smokes his cigarettes and then start our short walk to the ballpark that takes us about 10 minutes. We enter through Gate C and make the way to our seats in section 10 in the very last row for the accessible seating. We sit down and the first thing he says is “Great ****ing seats Daniel” and explains that he’s never sat in a seat that wasn’t in the outfield. Remember as I said before this is his first trip to Camden since ‘95. Back then I was just a 15 year old kid who was awestruck at the fact I was seeing the likes of Chris Hoiles, Bobby Bonilla, Brady Anderson, Mike Mussina and of course Cal Ripken Jr.. Even then as I was in a complete state of nirvana he would tell me these guys were nothing compared to the Orioles of his youth and would spout names, like, Boog Powell, Frank and Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer.

Sunday’s game had a different feeling than many I have been to before. The game started with much excitement as Anthony Santander robs a home run in the top of the first that has the half filled stadium going bananas. The top of the second has the crowd in a frenzy as what appeared to be a strike 3 on Suarez is called ball 4. And wouldn’t you know it the very next batter, Raleigh, hits a 422 foot bomb to take the lead 2-0. That wouldn’t last long because in the bottom of the third inning, the formerly mentioned Anthony Santander again brings the O’s back with a 2 run blast scoring Jorge Mateo.

It was a bit strange as it felt the pupil had become the teacher as I’m explaining the young talents of Gunner, Hayes, Bautista and Rutschman, who was given the day off from his normal catching assignment. It wasn’t 30 seconds after my complaining that Adley wasn’t in the line up when his replacement Bemboom hit a soft pop up right in a sweet spot in the outfield that Caballero couldn’t reach and in his attempt boots the ball in to the outfield allowing Mateo to score what would ultimately be the winning run.  
With Bautista on the mound you could feel it was going to be an Orioles victory. However for me, this experience with my aging father was already a win no matter what the scoreboard said.

As we sat in section 10 waiting for the stadium to empty so the walk back to the car would be a bit easier for him, I watched all the fans,some families exit with children of all ages, parents and what I assume are grandparents which affirmed what I already knew. Orioles magic isn’t just seasonal, it’s generational.

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Daniel Pruitt

Story writer for MSB covering Orioles,Commanders, Terps,NBA, Maryland HS Football

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