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Beth McGee, senior scientist, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
For Beth McGee, the Orioles' last World Series win, in 1983, converted her -- at least mostly -- from rooting for her hometown Philadelphia Phillies.
Now a senior scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis, McGee, 50, said she was driving across country with a friend shortly after graduating from college at the time the O's faced off against the Phillies for the championship. McGee said she'd grown up listening to the Phillies, but her traveling companion was a diehard Orioles fan.
"We would find out what time the games were playing," she recalled. "Wherever we were driving we would find a TV and watch the game." Once, she said, they even walked into a hotel where they had no intention of staying just to watch the game in the lobby.
"Ultimately, the O's beat the Phillies pretty handily," she said, and even though still a Phillies fan at that point, "I was totally fine with that." That was her introduction to O's Hall of Famers like Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray.
"A few years later I moved to Maryland," McGee said, "and it was easy for me to kind of pick up and cheer for them."
She was present for the O's last home game, that magical Sunday afternoon when the players and fans lingered after the last win over the Red Sox to watch the Oakland-Texas game on the Jumbotron to find out if the O's had clinched their playoff berth.
McGee confesses she still harbors loyalty to the Phillies, though. She says she subscribes to sports pundit Frank DeFord's view that one must always root for the team you grew up with.
But, she concluded, "Until they meet in the World Series [again] I won't have to choose."
May 27, 2009