I don’t care if I never get back

“A hot dog at the ballpark is better than steak at the Ritz.”

— Humphrey Bogart


Allegany Communications Sports

Went to the ballgame yesterday. Nothing like a day game at the ballpark. Nothing like being there in the overcast spring, even with a sheer mist in your face.

You feel like you’re in “The Natural.” Dark clouds are over you and beyond you. The sights are cleaner, the colors are sharper and the sounds echo. Everything is in perfect focus. All things are working together.

Everyone gets along, because everyone is happy to be there. It’s like skipping school or cutting work. Oh, yes. This is where we must be.

Everyone is happy to see each other and to be with each other, other than the big-feeling guy parading up and down the aisle wearing a Yankees hoodie for a game the Yankees were roughly 1,100 miles away from.

You take it all in and anticipate the bolt of lightning striking and just hope Bump Bailey doesn’t run through the right-field wall, because you don’t want to have to see his ashes dropped from an airplane the next time you come back.

There is the “O!” in the national anthem that was penned in the harbor directly beside the ballpark, and, of course, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” to conclude the 7th-inning stretch.

Those who know and those who adhere to the rituals of Baltimore baseball are as much a part of the experience as the players themselves.

Maybe the food isn’t something you’d order anywhere else, but it tastes mighty delicious at the ballpark.

The cadence of baseball is perfect (despite what a weasel commissioner would have us believe). Nobody was in a hurry to leave; I mean, who ever wants to leave a ballpark?. No one was restless. Everyone seemed relaxed, yet tuned in and just damn happy to be there – at a big-league baseball game on a comfortable mid-May afternoon.

And what do you know? The home team won, to become, according to the great Sarah Langs, the fourth team in Major League history to hit a leadoff home run and a walk-off home run without scoring a single run in between.

It is the perfect way to spend an afternoon, for the company you make between pitches and the company you know becomes your company forever.

Nothing beats going to a ballgame. Nothing is better than making new friends. Nothing compares to being there with your very best friends.

Take me out to the ballgame?

Ain’t the beer cold!

It’s a Baltimore thing, hon.

Baseball is the best.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on X at @MikeBurkeMDT