The opening series at their new park could have been better for the Bowie Baysox.
Prince George's County Stadium could have been completed, alleviating inconveniences for fans and players. And a thunderstorm Sunday, which knocked awry the right-field wall and flooded the dugouts, could have struck elsewhere.
Except for those distractions, however, the four-game weekend series couldn't have been better.
The Double-A Eastern League Baysox attracted 29,157 for the four dates, more than twice as many fans as they drew during a 27-game sojourn to four different home sites.
"I'm very pleased," said Baysox owner Peter Kirk. "Even with over 12,000 in here when we parked on every inch of the property, everybody was out within a half-hour after the game ended. Then, we had over 4,700 brave souls Sunday in that sweltering heat."
Gradually, the hitches are being removed. The fence will be braced. A light bank that was shining into the faces of fans in the third base box seats has been adjusted. The message board is now operating.
Now, the top priorities are to add a paved lane to the entrance road, to provide shower facilities in the trailers where the players dress and to open public restrooms.
Top draft choice Albany-bound
Tommy Davis, the Orioles' second-round selection in the recent draft, is one of three choices who have been assigned to the Albany (Ga.) Polecats in the Single-A South Atlantic League.
Davis, a Southern Mississippi infielder being tried at third base, is at extended spring training and will report to Albany shortly. Already at Albany are outfielder Sean Hugo (13th round) of Oklahoma State and first baseman Mike Wolff (21st round). Hugo went 4-for-10 and Wolff 1-for-10 in their first series.
The remainder of the crop will play in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League or rookie-level Appalachian League with the Bluefield Orioles, who began a 60-game schedule Sunday night with an 11-2 victory over the Kingsport Mets.
Ryan Hendricks (39th round), son of longtime Orioles coach Elrod, went 0-for-2 with three walks and a run in his debut.
World Cup passion
Triple-A Rochester Red Wings outfielder Jim Wawruck is a former soccer star who contemplated turning pro after becoming the University of Vermont's all-time leading scorer.
So, he has more than a passing interest in the World Cup and frequently watches televised matches.
"My favorite team is Italy [he's part-Italian]," Wawruck said. "I was really upset when Ireland beat them. Then, I almost got into it with [pitcher] Rick Krivda because he wanted to watch 'Baywatch.' "
Ruffling Krivda is not a good idea. Since he sounded off over what he referred to as a snub when Scott Klingenbeck was promoted to the Orioles from Bowie, Krivda has pitched 26 straight scoreless innings and held opponents to a .103 batting average.
His ERA has fallen to 2.48, third in the International League. In three-plus seasons as an Orioles minor-leaguer, Krivda has a 40-15 record.
This and that
In the two games immediately after being demoted from the Orioles twice, Red Wing Damon Buford went 6-for-8 with six runs and six RBIs. . . . Brad Pennington had a typical outing at Richmond last week. He struck out a man to end the eighth inning, walked the first three in the ninth, then struck out the side. . . . Jimmy Haynes can set two franchise records tonight. He is aiming at 108 strikeouts (has 102) and nine victories (has eight, tying Jim Dedrick). . . . In Armando Benitez's past eight Bowie appearances, he is 3-0 with a save, a 1.32 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. . . . Left-hander Matt Anderson (7-2, 2.38 ERA) was promoted from Albany to the Single-A Frederick Keys, where he replaces Jim Walker in the rotation. Anderson is recovering well after 1 1/2 years of arm trouble. . . . The Keys (32-36) finished third in the first half of the Carolina League's Northern Division. . . . What's green, has a long nose and four wheels? The Phillie Phanatic, and he'll be at Frederick's Harry Grove Stadium tomorrow for a 7:05 p.m. game against the Lynchburg Red Sox. . . . The Polecats' Jim Foster (.294, 29 RBIs) and Brandon Bridgers (21 steals) made the South Atlantic League All-Star team. . . . Albany home run leader Butch Burrough was released, and Angel Pagan, Ryan Griffin and Trovin Valdez went from Albany to Bluefield.