Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thanks, MASN

What do you get when you gather several Orioles bloggers at Camden Yards and treat them to a behind-the-scenes look at MASN's operation?

(No, not a lot of empty basements at mom's house.)

You get an O's win and a loss for every other A.L. East team. I like to think it's not an accident, but rather some form of new media, reverse Sports Illustrated jinx (which of course wouldn't make it a jinx at all).

As already well chronicled by the likes of The Loss Column, Camden Chat, Baltimore Sports and Life, and even Roch Kubatko, MASN held its Orioles Blogger Night at Camden Yards on Tuesday. The reviews are in, and the bloggers are happy.

Special thanks to Todd Webster and Kristen Hudak for making the unique event happen.I encourage you to read any of the aforementioned accounts to get a feel for the evening.

(Edit: A lunchtime trip through the blog-O's-phere turned up more rundowns of the event: Wayward O, Dempsey's Army, Oriole Magic, Baltimore Sports Report, Orioles Card "O" The Day, and Oriole Post.)

It was a pleasure to meet other O's writers who share a passion for the team regardless of game outcomes. We each have our own motivations for writing, which are reflected in the content of our respective blogs.

For me, Tuesday night's event presented the opportunity to engage multiple of my interests, from talking about the business side of the game - including MASN's efforts to expand its audience in the face of obstinate cable providers and Major League Baseball's control of game rights and the related use of highlights - to sharing in the sense of community among the most passionate members of a larger, somewhat dormant fan base. As I tell other fans I encounter these days, "There are still a few of us left."

However, regular Roar from 34 readers (hi, Dad!) know that this site is fueled by a healthy sense of nostalgia. I was born into this thing of ours, quickly learned that "How bout dem O's?" was a an automatic conversation starter, and in equally prompt fashion came to understand that lamenting the lack of pitching was almost always a proper response to the requisite inquiry.

Among other pleasures, Tuesday's event satisfied my sense of nostalgia when I chatted briefly with 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey.

Surely, Dempsey and other former players hear a healthy share of stories from fans about this or that meaningful moment, as if it's supposed to mean something to them as well. Thankfully, Dempsey was exceedingly gracious as I related the tale of a letter I received from my grandfather in October 1983 that included his sketch of Dempsey piloting an orange-and-black hot-air balloon over Memorial Stadium (pictured above). Written in the bottom left corner were the words, "When you're up, you're up. How about those Birds?"

Several days earlier I had watched my father spontaneously bound from the house to exhaust the horn on our 1976 Volvo after the Series' last out reached Cal Ripken's glove. Those moments made an indelible impression on a certain 8-year-old fan.

In 1983, it took several days for the note my grandfather penned in Schenectady, New York to reach my home in Catonsville, Maryland. E-mail, much less blogging, wasn't even an imagined thought.

Nearly 26 years later, thanks to these newer forms of communication and the passion that those sorts of moments fostered in me, I was able to relate the story to the man who unknowingly made it possible. Better yet, I was able to do so using a form of communication that never goes out of style: face-to-face conversation.

I appreciated the opportunity.


Zach said...

It was great meeting you Matt. What an awesome event!

Stacey said...

It was great to meet you, I'm glad we got to chat!

Matthew Taylor said...

It was great meeting the two of you as well. Hopefully we'll have a chance to chat again sometime soon.