ON JUNE 4, I had wanted to treat a friend to an Orioles game at Camden Yards. It was an anniversary: 27 years earlier, I had attended my first game at Memorial Stadium. It did not happen though. We were turned away: sold out.
Then a scalper came by, wanting $40 for a ticket. I said no. He replied, "Enjoy the game in a bar buddy!" I said "Enjoy your time in a cage!"
We bought tickets for Labor Day weekend -- the only future date that tickets were available. Then we went to my old neighborhood, Highlandtown. By the time I was munching on my McRib, I was over being angry at the scalper.
But a few hours later my anger returned when we went back to Camden Yards to meet some friends. With the O's behind 2-1, lots of people were leaving the game early. My anger returned. They are the real problem with Camden Yards: The yuppie fan.
Leaving a game with the score so close so early is nothing less than obscene. When I saw my first game at age 8 we left "early." It had reached the 15th inning, I was with my dad and my grandfather who was in the early stages of emphysema. My dad thought that given my youth, grandpop's health -- and the June heat -- it was best to leave. The yuppie fan does not seem to understand the game. They come late and leave early. The beauty of a baseball game is that there is a time to sip your beer and talk and a time to watch the game.
If you cannot understand the difference you are a yuppie fan. You probably think DiMaggio's record is an Italian disco.
The Orioles need to give people from the working-class areas a better chance to buy tickets. They can do that by substantially increasing the number of tickets that go on sale the night of the game. Then everyone will have an equal chance to buy a ticket.
What if there aren't as many sell-outs? Raise the prices on everything but alcohol -- the only thing fans can't buy right outside the ballpark. No one from Highlandtown is stupid enough to pay $4 for a hot dog when he can get it for $1 right outside. Anyone who is dumb enough to do that probably thinks DiMaggio's record is an Italian disco.
Dennis George Olver writes from Chestertown.