I was pleasantly surprised this past Tuesday evening while watching the Orioles game on TV to learn, that the birds were scheduled to play a day game on Wednesday. I was off for a dental appointment so I thought, BONUS!!!
I got down to Oriole Park at Camden Yards before noon for a 12:30 game time. I purchased a real nice ticket for the 3rd row, section 60, so that I might watch Manny Machado pick it.
Yesterday’s game had everything you could want in a ball game as a fan, everything but an Orioles win, but they almost made that happen, too! It was very exciting and worth the $48 paid for the seat. Now here is the thing that almost made it too exciting and before I go any further, what I am about to describe is a very low-key incident that no one would have noticed if they weren’t sitting within 20-30 feet from the front rows of section 60.
Like I said, I got there early and was noshing and watching warmups with a handful of fans. There were two guys sitting in front of me. Both early 20’s. One heavy-set, one slim. Heavier guy was wearing a Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista jersey t-shirt and the other guy was sporting a Palmyra PA baseball cap and shirt. I guess it was Palmyra, PA. Maybe it could be some other Palmyra.
As game time approaches, other fans start filling in the seats and it becomes obvious that these dudes aren’t in their ticketed seats. They get moved over once, and then again and then a family shows up. Parents, Grandparents and a little boy. These dudes are in their seats. Everyone has been cool. The ushers haven’t felt the need to get dramatic with these guys yet. It’s a day game; there will be empty seats for these guys to go to, so whatevs. When that family of 5 showed up, the dudes decided to just get out of there. We all figure that they are finally going to go to their actual seats or walk around. No one knows, No one cares.
So the family settles in. The O’s are already up 1-0 and we all go back to watching baseball. A minute or two goes by and the Mom, says, “Whose backpack is this?” Another spectator looks at it and mentions that it looks like the backpack those dudes were carrying.
I know what you are thinking. Here’s the good part. Everyone maintained their cool. Anyone who goes into the ballpark with a bag has to have it searched by security on the way in. The Dad calmly alerts an usher, who alerts Camden Yards Security(earpiece wearing folks) who calmly alert Baltimore Police. Patrol officer arrives, gets the lowdown from those of us who can describe the situation and the guys. He gets his lieutenant. They do a bit of talking in which I can only assume that they are debating the calm extraction of fans from the area. This all happening in a pretty confined area. I guarantee that no one else knew what was happening. While this strategy stuff is going on, the 2 dudes show back up and decide to try to sit down again, literally walking obliviously past the BPD and security. They sit back down in the only open seats left, those next to me. We are all looking at them with disdain for the clueless young people they are. They ask the Mom for their backpack that they left behind and as she is about to give it to them I tap the chunky one on the shoulder and say, “You have to talk to these guys.” I look to the Orioles Security guy and let them know that those are the “Backpack guys”. He walks over to them and lets them know that after the Boston Marathon bombing, folks are very sensitive to backpacks being left behind. The dudes don’t seem to be getting it and then I hear the BPD Lieutenant shout, “Manny”, I look to 3rd base and then realize that the Orioles’s Security guys’ name is Manny. The Lieutenant points to the clueless dudes and just says, “C’mon”. Clueless guys were calmly escorted away and weren’t seen again.
Once again, we all knew that they were clueless young people. Everyone remained calm. So hat’s off to Orioles Security, The Baltimore Police Department and most of all, my fellow fans who didn’t let the emotion of recent tragedies get the better of them, even though we all felt a bit of tightness as everything played out.
Then we all went back to enjoying a real good baseball game.