Orioles home opener: 'Spring is here, and the boys are back'

Nora Murray and Stacy Nolan brought their essentials with them to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday.

The former colleagues at Liberty High School have been season-ticket holders for five years, and they don’t like to miss the first home game of the season. Which is why they arrived well before game time wearing orange Opening Day T-shirts as they made their way to their seats along the first-base line in Section 15.


“It’s exciting,” said Nolan, a Westminster resident, proudly sporting Orioles-centric socks and shoes. “Something fresh, something new. Something to look forward to.”

Added Murray: “Spring is here, and the boys are back.”

Murray, who lives in Eldersburg, is a Liberty alumna and former softball coach. Nolan worked at Liberty with Murray from 2000 until 2007, when Murray left the school. Nolan is in her 19th year at Liberty.

They’re diehard fans with a 13-game plan, and Nolan said they get to every game “and then some” each season. That won’t change this year, the friends said, despite baseball pundits picking Baltimore to be the worst team in the major leagues.

The Orioles did so much that defined what made them successful on the road in their home opener Thursday at Camden Yards, but the shaky bullpen didn't execute its part in an 8-4 loss to the New York Yankees.

Their seats for Thursday’s game found them near the field but behind the protective netting that stretches from first base around to third. That didn’t deter Murray from bringing a glove — the same glove she used as a softball player at Liberty.

“You’ve got to lay out your clothes,” said Murray, who had her own Orioles footwear and socks to put on display. “We ran into all the people we see every year at Pickles [Pub]. Got one adult beverage, and then we come into the game.”

Murray and Nolan admitted they might need a little more time to learn the names of the rebuilding team’s starters, but their Orioles loyalty runs deep.

When Nolan needed a wheelchair to get around after surgery, Murray pushed her around the concourse. When Murray, who has been battling sarcoma for the last 10 years, needed to use oxygen, Nolan helped her tote the tank around Camden Yards.

Reporters Sarah Meehan (L) and Christina Tkacik try out new foods on the menu at Camden Yards on Orioles Opening Day.

“I’ve always been a teacher, this was my summer job,” said Nolan, who worked in fan assistance for 12 years. “It was really hard to give up. We were actually sitting at Dempsey’s one night, at the end of the season, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to give this up. I love the energy of the ballpark.’ And that’s when we were like, ‘Let’s get season tickets.’”

Five years later, Murray and Nolan are still going strong.

“We’ve been here through ailments and rain and snow and whatever,” Murray said. “I like baseball. I still get to enjoy the sport.”

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