Attendance record? Now that's the ticket to Memorial's last year

TONIGHT: :

October 03, 1990|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

With one game and one season remaining before they move into a new facility at Camden Yards, the Orioles already are anticipating an attendance record in their final year at Memorial Stadium.

The response at the turnstiles this year practically guarantees a record last year. The Orioles will pass the 2.4 million mark in attendance for only the second time in history in their final home game tonight -- and will finish just slightly more than 100,000 behind last year's record of 2,535,208.

Considering that the Orioles have suffered a 12-game dropoff from last year's surprising challengers, the crowd count ranks as the biggest accomplishment of the year. The advance sale for next year, which already is under way, will be the biggest in team history, with season subscribers getting first crack at seat selections in the new park (not to mention the All-Star Game in 1993).

The Orioles have revealed only a smattering of details about their plans for next year, but several promotions and special events will be tied to the final season at Memorial Stadium. It is expected that each team's final visit will be tied into the season-long festivities.

The promotional wheels will spin the fastest on the final weekend of the season, Oct. 4-6, when the Orioles host Detroit. Instead of a one-shot farewell on the last day of the season, the Orioles are planning a full weekend of activity that should set an attendance record.

When the Orioles do move into the new stadium, chances are strong that the first official pitch will be thrown by the pitcher who will close out the season tonight. Ben McDonald (8-5, 2.45) will face Toronto's Dave Stieb (18-6, 2.95) in a game that could help decide the American League East title.

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