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As a "recovering" middle school teacher with a unique outlook on life, I stopped active teaching in 2010 and moved into another career path... writing! Here goes! In addition, I am a travel buff, forever baseball addict, movie fan, music fan, foodie extraordinaire, NCIS devotee, gardener, and more.

Just love writing for kids, travel writing and basic journalism. Pretty unusual, since I taught Home Economics! But there's a story here too - a non-fiction one or more...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

NOW it's the end of summer... and baseball

Rule # 53 – Keep an attitude of gratitude always.

     At this time period, October is over. Baseball just finished its second season with only two teams remaining in the end. Alas, not my Orioles or Phillies. Not this year. I sat back and watched Boston jump all over St. Louis for the World Series. 
     But keeping to the rule, with the O’s not in the postseason, what on earth do I have to be grateful for from this past year in baseball? So much… way too much is the answer. Let’s take a look at this past year from the perspective of the birds of an orange feather.
     The O’s are in the toughest division in all Major League Baseball, with the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays. Out of all five teams, four of them were within 5 games of first place beyond the All Star Break in July and even into September. That’s a pretty tight race all season long. And it was any team’s division to win up until the last full week of play. Two division teams made it to the postseason, the Sox and Rays.
     In past years - as close as 5 years ago - many a year us Oriole fans watched in melancholy as our beloved birds of the orange feather were eliminated from any postseason hopes by the Fourth of July. This year, however, we were in it until almost the end. And even after elimination, the team continued to play their hearts out. After all, our last series was with the Red Sox. We had to beat those guys on general principles.
     It was a fantastic season to watch. Chris Davis set the club home run record. Manny Machado had fans lining up to buy him his first legal beer as he turned 21 during the All Star break. His play at third base was phenomenal. Brian Roberts came back from injury to share second base duties with Ryan Flaherty. Both fellows did the position proud, and both fellows earned their keep in the hitting department. Chris Tillman emerged as a class A starting pitcher. Don’t forget the best catcher in Matt Weiters. We sent Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado, and Chris Davis to the All Star Game. With Davis nicknamed “Crush”, Baltimore became a historic site – Mt. Crushmore!
     And that’s just the start of it all.
     What really put the crabmeat on the mac-‘n-cheese hot dog was the season tickets. I sat behind one of the upper camera wells. The camera man was fun to watch when tight plays were called – or more likely, miscalled. We got to know the folks sitting around us – many teachers and retired teachers. We got to know our usher and his family. Getting to know names and faces, seeing the same people each Sunday – making some great new friends – that was the really great part of seeing an O’s game in person. Ok, I have to admit it was great hanging at the Irish Pub bar near the elevators and doing a celebrity watch. Several were on hand for a variety of Sunday games and they had the suites behind our seats.
     I did see the Phillies in action this year, at Nationals Park in D.C. and at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. This was their struggle year and it wasn’t pretty at all. Manager Charlie Manual got bounced from the job in August. Ryne Sandberg took over and the team showed some promise. But that’s for next year. 
     So, thank you, Baseball, for a great season. I ticked three parks off my 32 Pilgrimage list. I am officially a Club Level Brat, since those seats get access to air conditioning, great food, a party atmosphere, and, oh yeah, air conditioning when needed. Can’t wait to see other parks and taste their signature food.
     Thank you, Richard Gere, for throwing out the first pitch on Father’s Day. You make grey look great (I’m still drooling).
     Thank you, Kevin Spacey, for spending several Sundays watching the O’s from the Club Level. I’m still kicking myself for missing the July 14 game when you threw out the first pitch.
     Thank you to our Irish Pub bartenders, who looked at us and didn’t say a word – they just pulled the Guinness. They knew… they just knew.
     Most of all, thank you Orioles. I saw the best games played in the best park, Oriole Park. Baltimore has some crazy cool fans who love the competition. That stadium can rock.
     And just in case you are counting…as of this writing, there are 104 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training around the 12th of February. There are only 151 days until Opening Day on March 31. 

     Guess who the Orioles open the season playing… you got it – the World Champion Boston Red Sox.

     It is so ON, Beantown! It is so ON!