Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday Night Baseball

My friend John and I are diehard Oriole fans. During our Summer vacation from school in the '80's we would get a bunch of friends and head up to Memorial Stadium. We'd get cheap tickets and enjoy what was then one of the best baseball teams (from '79-'83 the O's went to two World Series, winning it all in 1983). So fast forward to now and we're both in our mid forties. Adults with family and responsibility. In other words we're not attending 15-20 games a Summer like we used to.

So we cleared our calendars and made the trip to Oriole Park at Camden Yards last night. We each had a free ticket coupon and since neither the Orioles or Tampa Bay Rays are in the playoff chase, the game was sparsely attended and we could sit anywhere.

For a few innings we sat in the center field bleachers.

Then we moved over to the first base box seats

Still an awesome sight.

Tampa Bay's Pitcher David Price

The Orioles lost 8-4 after blowing a 4-1 lead. Earlier in the day I was thinking about Monday Night Baseball and when it was on ABC and how much I looked forward to it when I was a kid. In 1976 when ABC first aired Monday Night Baseball, the schedule was usually fifteen games a Summer and post-season. There was no ESPN, MLB.com or the baseball package back then. Growing up we had the Saturday Game of the Week on NBC with Joe Garigiola and Tony Kubek, some select Oriole road games with Chuck Thompson, Bill O'Donnell and Brooks Robinson and Monday Night Baseball on ABC.

I remember Warner Wolf was on the telecast for awhile. Warner was seen here locally on Channel 9 before he went to New York. Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell, Al Michaels and guest players like Reggie Jackson or Jim Palmer were in the booth during ABC's run. Ratings weren't great and by the middle of the 1980's ABC cut its regular season schedule. In 1988 its run was over.

Yesterday I was thinking back when the Orioles appeared on Monday Night Baseball. In the mid '70's and '80's they would be in the American League East pennant chase and what a thrill it was seeing them play on the national stage. Fast forward to the present and the Orioles haven't had a winning season since 1997 and Monday Night Baseball is long gone. The thrill of going to the ballpark with your buddy though is not gone and that will never go away.

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