Father’s Day and My Pop’s Disdain for the Pirates

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So, it’s another Father’s Day without my father.

I wrote an entire book about my Pop, his love of sports and baseball and what it’s meant to my life. So, believe me, I don’t have much more to write other than what he might’ve thought about how I turned out, how my life turned out in regard to his love of sports and what he might think of the last two nights of baseball at Camden Yards.

The Orioles of 2008 getting some sort of sick, twisted 29-year old revenge against the ugly Pittsburgh Pirates that only a kid who was 10 years old in 1979 could appreciate.

My Pop would’ve been digging the games over the last 48 hours, no doubt!

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The only thing that could’ve made last night’s win with guys named Markakis, Salazar and Hernandez more sweet would’ve been if the Pirates were wearing those yellow pajamas that they wore at Memorial Stadium during that magical week in my favorite summer of childhood.

And, of course, if the stars last night were Benny Ayala, Kiko Garcia and Gary Roenicke.

I told some of these stories of my youth on the air with Kevin Eck, one of my oldest friends who I met that summer at Games in Eastpoint Mall getting Billy Smith’s autograph, last Tuesday on the Comcast Morning Show when I filled in for Drew, who will be returning to the airwaves at AM 1570 in the morning.

It’s what makes the Toyota Live Web King of Baltimore Sports contest so much fun. Most of us only know about Raymond Berry and Jim Parker based on what our fathers (or mothers) told us.

All three of us will be missing our fathers bitching about the Orioles from the couch on Father’s Day today, too, no doubt. Maybe I should invite my son over to be subjected to it, as some sort of sick Baltimore tradition — cranky fathers! (I’m quickly becoming one!)

But seeing the Pirates in Baltimore reminds me of my Pop and especially on Father’s Day weekend. My favorite memories with my Pop are from that summer of 1979. There’s a chapter in my book on that summer here.

(Quick note: Whoever ordered those hideous helmets on Friday night should be fired. That was disgraceful and embarassing!)

Anyway, I spent my pre-Father’s Day celebration with my son Barry at Nacho Mama’s in Canton last night drinking margaritas and eating fish tacos watching the Orioles-Pirates game on TV. He gave me an album of all of the fun sports stuff we’ve done over the years – stuff I honestly forgot that we did.

There were ticket stubs from Bullets games, Spirit games, CFL Stallion games, Memorial Stadium games with the Orioles and Ravens, WWF matches, Caps games at the Capital Centre, the Bandits – it was the full monty in snippets. Plus there were some fun, goofy pictures from radio shows and Free The Birds and bad haircuts.

I kinda forgot that he’s been to so many of those places we “old guys” all loved too – what are now the “old” arenas and stadiums.

He also gave me a “Senior Week” T-shirt with a fake Miller Lite logo from Ocean City and a small tin of Fisher’s Popcorn (a Father’s Day staple…it’s a gift you always appreciate).

We were all set to the do the Charm City Roller Girls last night, but he was late getting back from the beach.

I’ll have the videos from last night’s packed house at Du Burns Arena up on the site. The crowd was better than anything the Skipjacks ever got. Who knew? Roller derby in Baltimore? How could that possibly suck?

But I just wanted to share my Father’s Day stories with you if you happen to be hitting the website today.

I miss my Pop today. But I’m glad I have my son and my memories and my health.

If you still have yours, hang out with him and give him a hard time, just like he used to give you. But just appreciate him. Because I wish I had one!

Happy Father’s Day out there to all of the sappy “old-school” fans of the Orioles who are heartened that this thing called sports struck us all and once a year – every year – we get to think of our Dads and sports.

And beer. And girls. And baseball. And whatever else you ever talked with your dad about.

At least that’s what Father’s Day is for me.

A sweep over the Pirates in Baltimore in his honor would be in order!

We need some more Oriole Magic!


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Baltimore Positive is the vision and the creative extension of four decades of sharing the love of local sports for this Dundalk native and University of Baltimore grad, who began his career as a sportswriter and music critic at The News American and The Baltimore Sun in the mid-1980s. Launched radio career in December 1991 with Kenny Albert after covering the AHL Skipjacks. Bought WNST-AM 1570 in July 1998, created WNST.net in 2007 and began diversifying conversations on radio, podcast and social media as Baltimore Positive in 2016. nes@baltimorepositive.com