The Big Question

A few weeks ago, a reporter asked me what he thought would be a vexing question. And since then, it's been asked of me many more times.

Am I rooting for the Nats or the O's?

I grew up in Baltimore, and like many Washingtonians of my age, I have childhood memories of sitting in the bleachers of Memorial Stadium, clanging on those yellow metal benches to root for Eddie Murray, Rick Dempsey, and of course Cal Ripken Jr. (and Billy and Cal Sr.) Orioles Magic was the soundtrack of my childhood. I was at the game with my father and brother when Tippy Martinez picked off three baserunners in a row, and I remember fondly when the O's won it all in 1983.

I not only grew up on Orioles Magic, it partly paid for my college tuition. For five seasons--the final one at Memorial Stadium and the first four years at Camden Yards--I worked the games for ARA concessions in what was known as the Event Center. The Event Center is where all the money comes down from the hotdog stands, Boog's BBQ, and the team store. I actually had two jobs during college, and after I left my 9 to 5 job (at the Inner Harbor for three seasons, and USF&G Insurance for two seasons) I'd work at the ballpark from 6 pm to when we finished counting all the money. The Event Center is under Eutaw Street, and we couldn't get TV reception so we listened to Jon Miller do the play-by-play, which is how we figured out when the money would be arriving because the off-duty cops came around with bags of it the end of the 1st, 4th, and 7th innings when the beer cut off, as well as the end of the game.

I remain an O's fan, but when the Nats came to Washington I decided to root for the Nats too. I went to games in the 400 section of RFK, and then joined a season ticket group when the team moved into Nats Park. I ride my bike to the stadium and know the guys at Bike Valet pretty well. I was in our seats in Sec. 205 that horrible game 5 two years ago, and I watched the pyrotechnics guys on the roof of Nats Park waiting to set off fireworks for the playoff victory that never happened.

So this is all to say I'm rooting for a Nats-O's World Series that goes to seven games with Jayson Werth hitting that homer to win it in the ninth. After all, I learned baseball the Earl Weaver way, and the Earl of Baltimore said: "The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers."

Let's go Nats! (and O's!)