Maryn Schreyer from Manchester talks about her first Opening Day experience.
Manchester residents Chris and Colleen Schreyer brought their son and daughter to Orioles Opening Day on Thursday, giving the kids a day off from school on this unofficial holiday in the area.
The foursome split up inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards before the O’s hosted the Minnesota Twins in their first game of the season — Colleen and 13-year-old son Jack went to the right field area during batting practice in hopes of snagging a fly ball, while Chris and daughter Maryn, 10, patrolled the concourse.
“I was eating a hot dog and these people came over to me and they were like, ‘So, how do you feel about going on the field … and saying, ‘play ball?’ ” Maryn said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, yeah! Sure.’ ”
She didn’t quite know what she was getting into when Orioles officials had tapped her at random to be the team’s “10th Man” during the pre-game festivities.
Maryn, who attends Manchester Elementary School, donned a white No. 18 Orioles jersey with “10th Man” stitched across her shoulders.
She met Chris Davis, her mom’s favorite player. She met the Oriole Bird. She saw Cal Ripken Jr.
She got to walk out behind the wall in center field with the players and watch them trot down an orange carpet toward the infield while many of the 45,469 fans inside Camden Yards stood and cheered.
Then it was her turn.
Maryn got her own loud ovation as she darted down the carpet, lined with people holding orange Orioles flags, took a spot alongside the line of players and stood for the national anthem. She said she felt like a “celebrity.”
Her experience wasn’t done yet — after the ceremonial first pitch, Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter tipped his wireless microphone down for Maryn, nerves and all, so she could shout “play ball!” into it, signifying the start of another baseball season in Baltimore.
Pretty cool for her first Opening Day.
“I was so excited,” said Colleen Schreyer, whose cellphone battery didn’t last long after friends and folks back home saw Maryn on TV. She snapped as many pictures as she could before the phone ran out of juice.
“When my husband told me … I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “She got to see Adam Jones and Manny Machado, all of our favorite players.”
Schreyer said her son, who soaked in his sixth Opening Day, might have been somewhat jealous of his sister’s good fortune. Maryn did her best to soothe things by giving Jack a baseball from her collection of Orioles goodies.
Meanwhile, Westminster resident Percy Marquez brought his 5-year-old son Matthew for their annual pilgrimage — Matthew got to attend his fourth Opening Day.
“I’ve always wanted to come to a baseball game with my son,” Marquez said. “Before I got married, I said, ‘One day I’m going to be here with my son.’ And here we are.”
Marquez lived in Eldersburg for a time before moving to Owings Mills and then Westminster, and said he has always been an Orioles fan.
Which is why Matthew, a rec baseball player in Finksburg, sported an orange Orioles shirt and proclaimed Machado to be his favorite player.
Opening Day might be a fun outing for kids of all ages, but it’s an important date for diehard fans such as Marquez. It’s the start of a new season, when optimism is a buzz word and expectations can start to take hold.