One minute this week Manny Machado was the baron of Bowie, traveling with the Baysox to glamorous ports of call like Altoona. And the next -- he's in Baltimore, pulling on a pristine new Orioles uniform.
No matter how cool he might have seemed on the field in his big-league debut Thursday, being plucked from the minors and dropped into the majors without warning could make a 20-year-old's head spin. He's among the youngest to ever play the game and brand new in the big city.
The kid needs pointers. We're here to help with some dos and don'ts:
DON'T: Make a fake ID. No matter how tempting it might be to gin up a little Photoshopped somethin'-somethin' so that you can head to the bars with your new teammates, don't even think about it. Someone WILL snap your picture and they WILL upload it to Twitter and the next thing you know, you'll be having another press conference for all the wrong reasons.
DO: Check out one of the city's under-21 hot spots. Try Paradox on Russell Street not far from Camden Yards, which we're pretty sure you know how to find. There's hip-hop and house music, lots of dancing. But we hear it doesn't get hot until pretty late so you might not want to go before a big game. You can also check out local bands at the Recher Theatre in Towson. But expect to pony up an extra couple bucks and get the tell-tale marker on your hand for being under-age.
DON'T: Go swimming in the Inner Harbor. Trust us, just don't.
DO: Look up Michael Phelps when he gets back from the Olympics. Maybe he'll invite you to Meadowbrook.
DO: Watch all five seasons of "The Wire."
DON'T: Try to reenact any of the scenes. And if you like the show, don't bring it up to creator David Simon. He doesn't much care to hear it anymore.
DON'T: Take your first paycheck up to the mall.
DO: You'll need big-league threads. Head over to J.S. Edwards in Pikesville or consider a new suit from Gian Marco on Charles Street. We hear other pro athletes have shopped their Italian suits. You're in the big leagues now. Gap won't do.
DON'T: Blow all your money on fancy restaurant eats.
DO: Gorge on cannolis and other Italian sweets during all-you-can-eat Mondays at Vaccarro's in Little Italy. $15.50. All you can eat. Put it away while you still have that 20-year-old metabolism.
DON'T: Be lured in by the sordid charms of The Block. Don't know about The Block? Good. But here's a hint: XXX.
DO: Take your girlfriend (we know you have one, alas) to see the sunset over the Inner Harbor and walk her to Fells Point for a gelato at Pitango. (But don't propose yet -- all in good time.)
DON'T: Stick to the restaurants that you might know from Bowie or Miami.
DO: Taste the flavors of Baltimore and rub elbows with the locals -- see who's cheering you on. Hit Faidley's for crabcakes and Berger cookies. Get up early for some pit beef at the Downtown Farmer's Market. Find a food truck.
DON'T: Be obscure.
DO: Be active on Twitter. Baltimore LOVES it's athletes who Tweet. You're on there already (@MannyMachado3), so that's a start. But let the Tweets rip. If you're not sure how, ask Adam Jones.
@BaltInsider on Twitter