Oh! somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright;
A band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in your house -- on All-Star tickets, you struck out.
You did, didn't you? Like Casey at the Bat, we've all struck out, all but the 46,000 or so who'll defy the humidity and the high prices and squeeze into Oriole Park at Camden Yards for tonight's All-Star Game.
But wait! Help is on the way! For those without tickets, we have consolation! For those touristing around town, we have tips! For those who missed FanFest, we have highlights!
Top Ten Ways to Console Yourself If You Don't Have Tickets to Tonight's All Star Game:
1. Won't have to sit near any of those congressional deadbeats who got tickets that should have been yours.
2. Won't have to listen to Eli Jacobs whine about where he's going to sit next year.
3. Can still get a beer after seventh inning by simply walking into your kitchen.
4. Will still have the arm and a leg it would have cost to buy tickets.
5. Won't have to watch columnist George Will sitting in his box pontificating about the ethereal nature of baseball when everyone knows that, as a kid, he always got picked last.
6. Can stay home and watch comparably tense sporting events on TV, such as Southwest Regional Quoits Tourney on ESPN.
7. Still haven't straightened out your neck from the last time you sat in left field foul-territory seats.
8. Big interest in game might open parking spaces at Towson Town Center, in case you want to get your car stolen.
9. Can always catch next All-Star Game at Oriole Park, in about 30 years.
10. Chris Hoiles and Gregg Olson won't be there, either.
Top Ten Things Tourists Won't Want to Miss in Baltimore:
1. Old St. Mary's Industrial School, where proud Brother Matthias once remarked of young George Ruth, "As a student, he makes a fine right fielder."
2. Steamed crabs, once considered a meal but now considered a ransom.
3. Box seat at Camden Yards where first Washington, D.C., yuppie carrying portable telephone and copy of Wall Street Journal inside leather briefcase was arrested for impersonating a fan.
4. Historic City Hall chamber where Councilman Mimi DiPietro once successfully connected a noun to a verb.
5. Courtroom where Spiro Agnew pleaded nolo contendere.
6. Courthouse bathroom window where Dontay Carter flushed himself to freedom. Also known as Dontay Carter Memorial Egress.
7. Dancers on The Block, Baltimore's cultural answer to the Bolshoi.
8. Washington Monument -- where, from certain profile angles, you can see why George was called the Father of Our Country.
9. Mr. Ray's Hair Weave Museum and Loom.
10. City's unusually polite and well-mannered panhandlers, at least for this week.
Top Ten Historic Exhibits You May Have Overlooked at FanFest:
1. Videotaped highlights of players' World Series of Spitting-For-Distance-and-Accuracy.
2. Oriole Bird's underwear after a Sunday afternoon extra-inning thriller.
4. Autographed picture of President Clinton throwing out wimpiest Opening Day pitch in baseball history.
5. Video of Oriole third base coach Mike Ferraro either giving a signal or getting up-close and personal with himself.
6. Nellie Fox's personal tobacco pouch and spittoon.
7. Beer rejected by announcer Chuck Thompson, who declared, "The beer ain't cold."
8. X-rays of Wild Bill Hagy's spinal column after the last time he gave everybody an "O."
9. Rare photo of Eddie Murray actually bending for ground ball.
10. Earl Weaver's teeth marks in umpire Nestor Chylak's ankle.