William J. Goldsborough, a lean, rangy man with a long memory, felt he just had to get into Memorial Stadium with Queen Elizabeth II and President Bush and all their spouses and security operatives and whatnots.
"I'm from an old Eastern Shore family," Goldsborough says. "One of my cousins was governor of Maryland. My great-great-grandfather and all was related to George Washington.
"George Washington had a daughter and my great-great-great-granduncle married her," he said. "I want to get a picture of the queen and the president."
It's the queen's first visit to Baltimore and her first baseball game. And it's unclear how much Her Majesty knows about the great American pastime.
"She will have received in her briefing packet a piece about baseball," said a frosty press representative at the British Embassy in Washington. The press person did not say whether the queen has been cautioned about the propriety of discussing Madonna with Jose Canseco.
"My family came from England before the Revolutionary War," said Bill Goldsborough, just after he'd bought his ticket to tonight's game. He was born in Queen Anne's County about 75 years ago, but he didn't stay long. He's lived in Baltimore 72 years, over by Clifton Park right now.
"I just hope I get a good picture," he said. "I'll never forget I saw the duke of Windsor and the duchess -- she was a Baltimore girl -- down at City Hall in the '30s. And I didn't have my camera."
He ought to do all right tonight. He's got a seat in Section 8 ## about three rows from the field.
General Washington, Goldsborough's great-great-great-granduncle's reputed father-in-law, might not have approved of all this to-do. He might have been more comfortable out in the right field bleachers where about a hundred Irish nationalists will heckle the queen with banners. Washington, after all, was a revolutionary anti-monarchist.
The queen and the president and their entourage will fly from Washington in helicopters, arrive at Clifton Park about 6:40 p.m., then drive up to the stadium in a motorcade.
A brigade or two of city workers have been sprucing up the park and median strips along the motorcade route all week. The city seems determined to remove any unseemly weeds that might have fallen within the royal purview.
Stephen Moore, a Department of Recreation and Parks worker, was whacking some offensive plants at the base of a tree along St. Lo Drive just down the hill from the Mansion House.
"We're gonna have it right," Moore said. "We ain't got anybody out in the district. We got everybody here."
The "district" is, roughly speaking, northeast Baltimore. About 40 people were out manicuring the queen's route, chomping through greenery that may have never before seen a weed-cutter.
Moore's not going to the game.
"I might walk over to see the queen," he said. "I just live a couple blocks away."
The queen and the prince and President and Mrs. Bush and the rest of the gang will visit the Oriole dugout and greet members of both teams. The players will have been briefed on how to act: No curtsies necessary, nor bows, yes your majesty, no ma'am, etc., etc. And don't offer her a plug of Red Man, or even a stick of bubble gum.
The president and his royal guests will retire to the Designated Hitter Lounge and a private reception, then proceed to the skybox of Eli S. Jacobs, the owner of the Orioles, to watch the game.
About this time, the queen and the duke of Edinburgh may well eat their first hot dog.
"We have them for her," said Russell Szekely, the executive chef at the stadium. "All beef kosher dogs right off the roto-grill."
The royal hot dog, Szekely said, will be "top quality as far as hot dogs go." And not generally available for commoners at the stadium concessions.
The queen doesn't have to eat a hot dog. Szekely and Howard B. Urick, special projects manager for ARA Services, the outfit that has a share of the food concessions at the stadium, have worked up a nice menu for the reception.
Tidbits that may tempt the royal or presidential palate include petite Maryland crab cakes with Grand Marnier cocktail sauce, which may be an authentic regional favorite unknown to Bill Goldsborough's Eastern Shore ancestors.
And, of course, there will be Norwegian smoked salmon served with creme fraiche on black Russian rye, tomato tortellini, garlic chicken alfredo style, roasted beef tenderloin seasoned with garlic accompanied by Oregon truffle sauce, horseradish and pomery mustard, and almost too tempting to mention, roasted blackened breast of turkey with sun-dried tomato aioli.
Szekely, who is 24 and a 1990 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, N.Y., doesn't think he'll get stage fright tonight.
"I don't believe so," he said. "It'd be unhealthy not to be nervous. Preparation is the key word, and confidence. I'm confident we can prepare a very nice buffet for her."
And if she just wants a hamburger and a beer, she can have that, too.
"We're prepared to honor her every request," Szekely said.
The royal and presidential party will be served by Navy personnel from the White House staff, and White House people will watch over preparation of the food. Everybody in the kitchen has had a security check and even the purveyors have been approved by Secret Service agents.
Nobody seems to figure the queen will really get into the game. She and the prince and the White House bunch are scheduled to be back on the helicopters heading for Washington at 9 o'clock. That sounds like about three innings,
Not everybody cares a lot.
Yeah, it's interesting that the queen's going to be at the game, said Jeff Lear, who bought tickets for a group of third-year law students relaxing after finishing exams at the University of Maryland.
"I'd like to see the Orioles win a game," he said.