If you’re not having fun yet…

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Wednesday was a very memorable afternoon.

I went to the game with Bob Haynie, Drew Forrester and some other great friends and one of them just happened to have seats in the front row behind the third base dugout.

(If I write his name, I’m sure the Orioles will look to have his season tickets revoked).

Great seats, amazing weather, good friends, plenty of laughs to fill a dozen games and another amazing “Why Not-ish” comeback led by a Jay Payton grand slam en route to a 6-3 a victory to sweep the Boston Red Sox (OK, so it was only two games) at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

What else could any Orioles fan want in the month of May other than to have a chance, right? It’s been ELEVEN YEARS!!!

I just got done watching Casey’s posted video of Kevin Millar and several of the good-natured Orioles doing a 30-year “send up” of “Orioles Magic” and I gotta tell you it’s the best thing that this organization has done in a decade.

Imagine that? A player on the team actually doing what this lousy, miserable ownership has found to be impossible: Millar is RECRUITING the community!

Tonight, on his one off night of the week, manager Dave Trembley is actually going out and speaking to one of the oldest and best sports fan clubs in the area, the Sports Boosters at the Mount Washington Tavern (don’t ask, it’s sold out unfortunately).

These late-inning cardiac wins have been fun. All of them! It’s only mid May, but there have been so many of these 7th, 8th & 9th inning rallies that I’m thinking it’ll only be days before Millar (a fine replacement in the marketing department for Greg Bader, I think, and maybe Trembley would agree) comes up with something to trump “Cowboy Up” and the rally monkey of Anaheim.

How long can it be before we see a rain delay tarp dive outta of Millar?

Who cares what his average is at this point? He’s got a sense of humor, which is what I’ve developed when dealing with the Orioles ownership.

You have to laugh or you’d cry…

Sure, they’re only two games over .500. Sure, if you were a reasonable betting man you still wouldn’t touch the Orioles and this everyday offensive lineup as a candidate to be playing fall baseball.

Not in Vegas with real money.

But you can’t watch these games and tell me that you’re not having fun if you’re an Orioles fan, which by its very nature is synonymous with “long suffering” at this point.

Now the argument could be made that when Payton was jacking that grand slam yesterday it still qualifies as the proverbial tree falling in the woods. The Orioles, despite the exciting brand of baseball we’re seeing, still aren’t being watched by very many people on TV or at the ballpark.

Honestly after attending many of the “friends and family” nights in April with crowds of less than 8,000, it was kind of strange just to see so many people in the bowl of the ballpark yesterday, perhaps half of whom were Red Sox fans. They might’ve had 30,000 there yesterday on a glorious weather day in May. It was a day BUILT to play hooky from work.

So if this team IS for real (and again that’s up for debate but 21-19 is good enough to at least make a legitimate debate), when will the city of Baltimore stand up and notice? When will people spend their hard-earned money to come to the ballpark again?

There were THOUSANDS of empty seats in the upper deck, all priced at $8. I’ve been saying since the turn of the century that it’s not about the pricing as much as it is the will of the people to come downtown and support this ownership group as well as identify with the players, which has been a massive problem since Cal Ripken opened up shop in Aberdeen.

Oh, and there’s that little part about the word “Baltimore” being absent from the entire franchise’s portfolio…

The Washington Nationals come to town tomorrow. On the face of it (and on the crest of their caps sits a giant “W”) we should hate them just BECAUSE they’re from Washington. I know I will not have any soft spot for Jim Zorn’s boys in burgundy and gold when they roll up from the District in December.

It will not be hard to hate Washington that day, for sure.

But the Nationals don’t inspire such ire, despite taking half of the Orioles fan base, half of their Wayne’s World TV network and having “WASHINGTON” written on their chests. Oh, and they also swept the Birds the last time they made the trek up I-95.

The party tomorrow night will be at the Camden Pub. I will be bellied up to the bar with my son around 5 p.m. Feel free to join me! The whole point is to support the nice local folks who own these establishments and to have fun.

I have no idea when or if the city’s enthusiasm will catch up to Millar’s (or even mine) but I’m having fun with the Orioles again.

Kevin Millar has become my favorite Oriole of the new era. He’s a BIGGER clown than Rick Dempsey and I love it!

But based on the way the fans have been treated here for more than a decade, you can’t blame them for leaving the stadium empty while the “magic” happens.

And as much fun as I had yesterday with my friends and the fans sitting around me (a shout out to my man Carter, who celebrated his 5th birthday with me yesterday at OPACY…he went for the Edy’s chocolate ice cream in the 6th inning), I still won’t be giving any appreciable money to the Angelos family, which has repeatedly attempted to take away my ability to feed my family, wreck my business and my enjoyment of a sport that I’ve spent my lifetime following and one that I truly believe is my birthright.

It just comes down to this: I love baseball and the Orioles more than I have any energy left to fight or “hate on” this pathetic ownership.

And I’ve certainly seen firsthand the devastation downtown summer nights have felt since the Orioles demise. If you were actually downtown, you’d see how empty it is. You can see the REAL truth that Mark Viviano, Amber Theoharis, Jim Hunter, Tom Davis, Anita Marks, Roch Kubatko and all of the others AREN’T showing you.

The city I love needs real people in it on a Friday night when Washington is playing at Baltimore.

And, really, if FREE THE BIRDS did nothing else, it created an environment where these fools have finally started “recruiting” the community again. Jeremy Guthrie is doing “bike day.” Daniel Cabrera is signing autographs at Chick-Fil-A this weekend. Millar is making home movies..

When was the last time you saw them doing this stuff?

1989?

(Some idiot wrote on a message board that WNST is actually covertly getting money from Angelos to “promote” the team. THAT might be the funniest and most stupid thing I’ve ever read, and there are some bizarre “theories” out there! Those radio ads we played in February were a JOKE…like a Saturday Night Live ad…and an unpaid for one at that!)

I’ve been “promoting” the Orioles since 1972, even back in kindergarten when I read the scores to my class every morning. That’s the most incongruent part of the whole equation: my whole EXISTENCE as a media member is to PROMOTE them.

What’s good for the Orioles is good for WNST and Baltimore in general.

Despite their ownership’s lack of common decency (and civil courtesy), I want to be a catalyst to have people come back downtown and support the local businesses, like we did yesterday at Regi’s on Light Street (wow, is their food amazing!).

Maybe we can all be using some of the “unused” tickets.

And I want to have fun. And when the team plays baseball like this, the whole city should be riding high and having fun with them.

Remember who “makes the magic happen?”

Yeah, YOU!

Like I wrote back in March when I decided to have daily “amnesia” in regard to the ownership’s continuing mean-spiritedness and vindictiveness: I’m going to squeeze as much fun out of the Orioles as I can this year.

I called it the “Summer of Amnesty.”

I’m sure Millar will come up with a better name for it.

Yesterday, a few free tickets and going to the game with some of my favorite baseball friends made for a VERY memorable afternoon, even if the team still loses 90 games and finishes in fourth place (still a real possibility given their every day lineup).

And don’t let Bob Haynie BS you. He LEFT THE GAME before the Payton grand slam! AND he owes Drew Forrester FIVE coffees after having the chance to get outta the bet with three coffees of his own. It was an EIGHT-COFFEE swing at the Royal Farms on Providence Road!

(Honestly, I couldn’t find two better old-school people to go to the games with than Haynie and Forrester…just hearing them talk about Orioles memories was a blast! Next time, I’m dragging Rob Long, the Ungers — the whole radio station — out there!)

At this point with all of the strife and misery they’ve dealt me over the last decade, I’m not going to complain or apologize for having a little fun in my 40th summer with the game I grew up loving every day of my childhood.

Hope to see you at the Camden Pub Friday night…

“Orioles Magic feel it happen…”