Sometime around the sixth inning of Orioles home games, a precious commodity is carried in a cardboard box from inside Camden Yards out to Eutaw Street.
The box is filled with a dozen or more baseballs. Not just any baseballs, but balls used in that day's or night's game, often bearing fresh scuff marks and dirt that seem to add to their legitimacy and fan appeal.
The balls are delivered to Orioles Authentics, a store that will end its first regular season of operation next week having recorded several hundred thousand dollars in sales.
The new store's popularity is a testament to fans' desire to deepen their association with the game and its heroes — and their...