I arrived earlier than expected to the ballpark tonight and therefore decided to park on Lombard Street in one of my dad's favorite free sidestreet spots rather than pick up the parking pass provided by the team.
On one hand, this decision gave me the opportunity to stroll through downtown and take in what sights and sounds there are left on a summer baseball night in Baltimore - a smattering of fans grilling over by the Babe Ruth museum, a father in his Brook Robinson T-shirt with his young son in tow, parking attendants collecting the dollars left to be had from suburban sports commuters. I don't remember lots two blocks from the stadium going for as cheap as $8. Times have changed, but if you strain your eyes enough. Scratch that. You're better to just go off memory of a thriving baseball town.
On the other hand, my dad's free sidestreet spot at Memorial Stadium resulted in my being mugged several years ago after a night game with the Minnesota Twins. Here's hoping I have better luck this evening. All they really got away with that night was my buddy's St. Louis Browns hat. Either the perpetrators were big into baseball history or they got the raw end of the deal. Since there's no cheering in the press box I'm not wearing any O's gear, but something tells me it'd be good repellant from would-be thieves on the walk back to the car.
Aware that I'm an outsider entering sacred journalism territory, I decided to ask a press box employee, Joe, for advice on choosing a seat. Ever been to dinner at someone's house for the first time and mistakenly sat in the father's seat? The press box regulars - Zrebiec and Connolly from The Sun, for example - are the dad tonight. So I suppose I'm at the kids table, but it's a darn nice kids table.
Joe helped me establish a wireless connection and now the evening's work begins. Doesn't pay much - not a thing, actually - but so far I like this gig.