Baseball season is underway and expectations are high here in the Land of Pleasant Living. The Orioles are looking to repeat last year's playoff season and O's fans finally feel like they can actually indulge in a bit of hope for the first time since the Clinton administration. These are heady times, my friends, and I've put together a season-long bucket list for Birds fans. See how many you can cross of the list!
Actually Make It to Batting Practice: Remember when you were a kid and batting practice was the coolest thing in the world? Well, it still is. Bring your glove and prowl the outfield for a souvenir. Baseball is a little slow for some, which is a shame, but there's nothing slow about batting practice: just line drive after line drive and the occasional titanic shot onto Eutaw Street. Getting to the Yard early for batting practice is the single greatest thing about being an American, just edging out the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Catch the Baby Birds: We here in Birdland are blessed with amazing access to the ghosts of seasons future. The Orioles have four of their five farm clubs right here in the Old Line state, so take a road trip. . . to the future! Start out in Aberdeen's fantastic Ripken Stadium, home of the IronBirds. The IronBirds are short-season A ball, so stud prospects don't stay long, but it's an amazing park and you can't beat steamed crabs in the outfield. Next up, take a break on the way to the beach to catch the Delmarva Shorebirds, Baltimore's Low A affiliate. There's a carousel for the kids and, since you're in Salisbury at Perdue Stadium, I imagine the "Assorted Chicken Sandwich" is to die for. From there, go west, young man or woman, to the Frederick for a High A Keys game. The baseball is divine, but even if you're not a fan of the greatest game ever conceived by the human animal, they've got Starvin' Marvin's Pizza, and that is so incredibly wrong, it is incredibly right. Finally, there's the easiest hop of all, Bowie for a AA Baysox game. This one is worth the trip to catch soon-to-be-O's mainstays Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman as they learn their trade by mowing down farmhands. If you've never been to a minor-league game, just do it. Tickets are cheap, the seats are close, and, as great as the baseball is, it sheds a new light on the big-league game.
Build Your Own Bobblehead: Every bucket list needs a DIY project, and in the spirit of the cast-off Orioles, I think this one is just about perfect. First you're going to need to troll the internet for some low-cost bobbleheads. There are some good deals to be had on overstock Sammy Sosas. Get yourself like 60 of them and de-noggin. Next, carve your likeness into a hickory stump or a leftover Peep, affix to your roid-riddled plastic Sosa, and voila! Bobble-You! Now sneak them into the stadium and surreptitiously fill the souvenir shop with your likeness to impress your friends and terrorize your enemies. This one might be more fun after the next entry on the list.
Get Baltimore Drunk in the Afternoon: Here is my hands-down personal favorite summertime activity. Play hooky from work, maybe catch that 24-hour leprosy that's been going around, and take in a day game. On three Wednesdays this year, the Orioles will be getting going at 12:35 P.M. I will be at every one of them and I will be drunk. Why not join me? We'll make it a Spitballin' field trip. There's nothing like a Boh in the bleachers, or better yet, half-a-dozen of them in the roof-deck bar. Heck, those Bohs are still under $10 a can; it's a steal! Though if you have too many, you might get thrown out.
Take a Red Sox Fan to the Yard Day: There were a lot fewer Red Sox fans, who are a lot like Yankees fans without the class and winning tradition, parking their cars around the Yard last year. Turns out they were busy crying the season away into empty cans of baked beans. That will happen when a bunch of front-running fans find their club in the AL East basement 26 games out of first. If you'd have told me two years ago the Red Death would be lifted from Camden Yards, I'd have kissed you on the mouth, and maybe some other places if you happen to be Cameron Diaz, but now that they're gone, it's kind of a bummer. After years of suffering under the tyranny of their ill-accented antagonisms, we O's fans are looking for some payback. My solution? Bring your own Boston Guy! You know the one, the dude at work with the Belichick fashion sense and the Brady brains? Bring him along and have him help start one of these Spitballin' Patented Blow Sox chants, "Crabs Are Better Than Lobster," "You're Not Really Irish," or the ever-popular, "Boston is the Worst Town on the Eastern Seaboard That Starts With a 'B!'" They never fail to entertain and make Bostonians feel welcome in all the right ways. Did you know that Red Sox fans tears taste like Sam Adams Cherry Wheat?
Attend the Orioles World Series Parade: Who doesn't love a parade? And now that the Ravens have given us all a taste, I think we're all ready for another. It's been 30 years since the O's won the pennant. Thirty years ago, the Colts were still in town and people still wanted to see Jim Palmer in his underwear. It was a very long time ago. This town is ready, and as much as purple works for Prince, Baltimore has always looked better in orange.